Archive for December 6th, 2008

December 6th, 2008

Worth the Risk?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Thinking back to yesterday’s post about the government’s insistence on getting as many people as possible onto the national DNA database, one of the arguments against holding innocent people often runs along the lines of ‘how would you feel if a relative of yours was raped & they could have detected it with DNA’?

Of course, I wouldn’t feel very good and when you reduce it down to a personal level it is difficult to argue against things. But decisions should rarely be made on personal levels. How would you feel if a relative committed suicide because an illegally held DNA sample was used to reveal to all his family & friends that he had AIDS? Probably not good.

An article this week – a perennial subject – talks about how many people are killed in police pursuits. How would you feel if your relative was killed while a vehicle was fleeing police? Again, not very good. They rarely ask how you would feel if your wife was raped & stabbed to death & the police let the killer go because he jumped into a motor & they didn’t want to take any risks?

The thing is, there is no easy way and everything is a balance. Of course you must minimise risk but hard fact of life is that whatever you do, someone will die, or suffer. It’s part of the balancing act.

I’ve never been one of these ‘better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be jailed’. Life is not so simple, having an innocent man jailed is worth the price provided you take steps to minimise the chances.

I don’t hold, either, with the view that it’s better not to go to war because no cause is worth innocent people dying for. I think there are causes worth people dying for, you have to balance sometimes which course of action will cause less deaths.

I don’t think you can make laws based on how I would feel if my wife was affected one way or another by its implications. There has to be a greater good to be had.