Monday, January 14, 2013

Better safe ...

District Attorney Dave Sullivan 

We all remember the good old days when you didn't have to take off your shoes while going through security to board an airplane and you could bring along your bottle of water or tube of sun tan lotion and yes, even a nail clipper with that swing out little file attached.

Or when you could walk right through the main door of your daughters' elementary school without having to await being buzzed in, and then sign in at the office, and wear a visitor ID sticker while doing a one minute chore with your child.

But times have changed.  Nineteen zealots turned civilian airliners into guided missiles, and one deranged young man with a lot of firepower and the single-minded determination to use it against innocent children, changed everything

So I"m not bothered in the least by the actions of Northampton police, endorsed by Northwestern District Attorney Dave Sullivan, to acquire handwriting samples of Northampton High School students for possibly identification of the perp who left a threatening (hand written) note in the school.

Less than a week after the unthinkable happened at an elementary school not all that far away.

When I first heard that a written "pledge" was used as a response to the incident I was reminded (cue rolling of eyes) of town and UMass officials and DA Dave Sullivan handing out oatmeal cookies to UMass students in the southern section of campus while the northern end exploded in a riot.

But then it became clear the pledge was simply a cover to get handwriting samples.  Kind of like something you might see in a Hollywood movie.  Only this movie did not have a Hollywood ending, as the perp is apparently still at large.

When lives are stake -- as in this case they most certainly could have been -- extraordinary measures need to be taken.  Terrorism, drunk driving, domestic abuse or child abuse: The offenders certainly don't play by any set of rules.

And they must be stopped.





16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently was stopped by security leaving Target at the Hampshire Mall. I had made some purchases, then went back to look at something I had forgotten. Deciding not to make another purchase I headed for the exit. Security asked to see my receipt, which I happily handed over, eventhough I was not doing anything wrong.

Point is, like illegal alien laws, if you have nothing to hide, and it will help looking at the bigger picture, then what difference does it make?

Anonymous said...

And if you are of Hispanic ancestry and, because of "illegal alien laws" you are stopped several times a day or even just once a day and asked to show your papers, I bet the novelty would wear off pretty fast.

How would you like it if you had to be sure you always had some form of ID on you to prove you were an American citizen, and had to show that proof every day. Think about it. Imagine what it would be like. Really picture what your life would look like, day in and day out. The humiliation of having to prove over and over again that you are an American citizen minding your own business and have done nothing wrong, other than be the wrong heritage. Then you can shrug off the "illegal alien laws" as not that big a deal

Anonymous said...

Guns don't kill people.
People kill people.

Dr. Ed said...

Ben Franklin said that those who will sacrifice liberty for safety neither deserve nor will enjoy either.

This is wrong in so many ways -- and it didn't even work, did it? And did they also take every child's fingerprints off the papers as well?

Anonymous said...

if I were a parent of one of these students, I would be extremely unhappy.

Anonymous said...

Seems like if they found handwriting that matches using this pledge they would not be able to use it in court. Evidence collected without the person's knowledge.

I also wonder if the kids understood they did not have to write down the pledge. How was it presented to them?

I would also be very unhappy if my child was subjected to such an underhanded exercise.

Larry Kelley said...

When police dust for prints after a crime that fingerprint is obtained "without a person's knowledge," and is admissible in court.

When cops pull over a driver for driving all over the road the first question they ask is "Have you been drinking?".

You don't have to answer of course, but many do. And in so doing -- no matter the answer -- a cop can smell their breath.

Anonymous said...

Did the Leverett Rd fire happen the day after the family celebrated Christmas? (Russian Orthodox Christmas was Jan 6th)

If so- do they follow tradition of using real candles on their tree? (unusual tradition in Amherst- any relation to fire?)

Anonymous said...

The fire started in the garage.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, I am waiting for an intrepid drunk driver to confess that he/she/it is sloshed out of his/her/its mind -- and then move to have that statement and everything that was a fruit of it excluded from the trial.

One other thing --in addition to the exclusionary rule aspect of Sullivan's stunt, these children are minors in school -- there are rules against questioning children without a parent present and it wouldn't be hard for an upset parent to make this into a case of child abuse.

On a more realistic point, it is going to be a good chunk of time before any of those children trust a police officer again. Trust was destroyed when the children learned the real purpose of the handwriting, and we really need children to be able to trust police officers.

I think this was a stupid stunt, every bit as much as handing out cookies -- what the DA ought to have done is hand out business cards and tell the students that they enjoy the protection of the law as well, and if their slumlords try to screw with them, give him a call.

Anonymous said...

Larry, the difference with your examples is that the person being pulled over has done something which creates suspicion of a crime. Collecting fingerprints at a crime scene isn't the same as tricking 200 kids into giving up their fingerprints when there is no reason to think they have done anything. What did these kids do other than be able to write? Thanks for reminding me to tell my kids not to talk to a principal or police officer at school unless a parent is present. They need someone to look out for them because they are minors and person that will be me.

Larry Kelley said...

Seems to me a principal and a few teachers gave up their lives trying to look out for those kids at Sandy Hook school.

Anonymous said...

A question that should be asked is how much is John Olver being compensater for his property that is being taken for the roadway ?

Anonymous said...

The Sandy Hook teachers and principal were clearly looking out for their kids. The Northampton High principal and teachers were not.

Anonymous said...

Folks, there are a lot of rumors circulating about the faculty at Sandy Hook, including a possible altercation with the perp the day before, and I'd be careful about holding those folk harmless in this until all the facts come out.

Yes, the perp is responsible for what he did. But I am not so sure that the principal and school psychologists were completely innocent either. If you know what autism *is*, you understand why I am saying that there had to be something else...

Anonymous said...

Yea Ed, (Anon 717). Let's blame the murdered principal and psychologist! Typical comment from you.

You are pathetic!