17 September 2010

What Of Fictional DNA Police?

So here is a discussion from out of Left Field.

Not so many years ago I did some consulting work in the Deep South. I keep in touch with a number of my contacts there, including one colorful sheriff who said if I ever needed anything -- ANYTHING -- to call him.

Now as you readers know, I have a number of LEOs throughout Ohio and other states who are readers. Among these are many I now count as good friends, and we do favors for each other as the need arises.

But there is something to be said about actions of a so-called "DNA Police." The idea that certain elements without our society, who are a blight on the population -- often predators themselves -- should just disappear has intrigued writers for decades. Of course the "DNA" moniker is a more recent addition to the storyline. Right or wrong? We all have our opinions, to be sure.

Recently I saw a commercial touting for sale DVDs of the cable television character, Dexter. This is a guy who is a police "blood spatter expert" in Miami, Fla. But he is also a serial killer, unknown (of course) to his co-workers. What better place for a killer to hide but in plain site? Delicious irony to be sure, and I do love me some irony. When the show made the move from cable to sampling on network television some years ago, I wrote in these pages how I found fault in the way it glorified serial killers. But I have to admit, it was an interesting show. And the public loves it. If you've not seen the program, Dexter justifies his "compulsion" by only removing from society the scum of the earth: those individuals who prey on others. Killers, rapists, perverts and other users. For viewers, Dexter is an "anti-hero," someone who uses distateful methods, who isn't the nicest of guys, but who does good works. Many in society would say he does more good than harm.

Yeah, ironic, isn't it?

So when I saw the Dexter DVDs ads recently, I couldn't help but draw a parallel between that storyline and a colleague in Louisiana. You see, in the show, Dexter takes his victims out in his boat into the Atlantic ocean and "drops off" his victims. My mind flashed back to the individual, a LEO, who more than once suggested that if I ever needed someone to disappear that I should drop him a line. "People get lost in the bayous all the time and are never heard from again!" A pretty ostentatious statement I thought. And yet his buddy, another LEO, is sitting there, stone-faced, nodding his head at the statement.

The things you learn over crawfish and alligator etouffee, chickory coffee and beignets.

Can someone change? Child molesters live their entire lives under the microscope. The only way it is known whether they have been successful not to harm a child again is to die without having done so. Because they are always suspect. What about serial predators? Preying on the weak in society? Should DNA police take a role? There are those who would advocate that such actions are a help to the police, though the law says it is vigilantism. Maybe just the suggestion of such an outcome makes someone take a different look at their life.

The spector of jail does not keep people from hurting others. The spector of the death penalty does not keep people from murdering others. But what about the unknown?

Was my sheriff friend's tongue firmly planted in his cheek? Who knows? I only once ran it by a handful of buddies at an area county SWAT unit. We had finished shooting and were taking a break. I ran the idea by them, purely as a hypothetical (we do that a lot). They just -- collectively -- raise their eyebrows. And there it was! Two of them nodding their heads in unison. Bobbleheads, but both commenting in the non-verbal affirmative.

For full disclosure purposes I have never taken advantage of that southern gentleman's most interesting offer. LOL. At least not yet . . .

But as a close friend, ChiefofD's M.B., likes to say, "for all things there is a first time." That raised MY eyebrows.

Frankly, citing that particular quote . . . I think the latter watches too much Star Trek.

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