In the aftermath of every tragedy, it's natural to ask, "How could we have prevented this?" Many schools installed metal detectors after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed fellow students at Columbine High School nearly five years ago. But the metal detector at Red Lake High School didn't prevent Jeff Weise from killing seven classmates last week.
Is the answer more technology? There are those who will advocate for more.
I hear that Jeff Weise fit a profile. He was a quiet loner. That will lead scientists to wonder whether there's a genetic marker that predisposes someone to such violent acts as mass murder. If we can identify at-risk youths, we can prevent the next tragedy.
This is preemptive thinking. We were preemptive in getting rid of Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and its non-links with terrorists. What's to stop Patriot Act proponents from preemptively detaining a bunch of Goth school kids?
Of course this cessation of rights won't start with school kids. It'll start with the lowest of criminals, a class of criminal even the ACLU won't want to defend -- the sexual predator.
John Couey, who confessed to molesting and killing 9 year old Jessica Lunsford, is the ideal poster boy for genetic testing. "Hey before we put you in prison you need an exam. Just wonder what a bit of your DNA might look like in my handy Genome test kit?"
Perhaps this is already being done on numerous sexual predators nationwide. Once the data is collected, a correlation is made. And then you start being preemptive.
The Human Genome project wasn't initiated with the idea of segregating people based on their DNA. But that's the way it goes with technology. Once you put it out there, you can't control how it gets used.
So now I hope you'll excuse me while I rid my wardrobe of every article of black clothing I own....