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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, November 04, 2002
3:33 PM

Another letter in that section from Paul Prunty has the first original thought I've seen on the folly of ballistic fingerprinting, comparing that proposal to a similar measure applied to the First Amendment:

...Would all the Salon writers and editorial staff have to submit handwriting and long text samples to be incorporated into a federal database, so that their speech is "fingerprinted"? Keep in mind that anytime anyone sends a ransom note, each and every staff writer of Salon will have his or her text compared to the offender text looking for a match. Anytime anyone commits a crime that involves words, every law-abiding writer would be examined by a law enforcement official to determine whether they were suspect or not. How many times would Allen Barra or Arianna Huffington get a knock on their door from an FBI interrogation team, due to a curly handwritten "T" and creative 3rd person useage -- similar to a bank robber's note in Kansas? How heavy would the questioning be if they had written an article about bank robbers, or anyone associated with theft at any point in their past?

Anytime you hear someone making an argument for regulation or selective prohibition of firearms, try this: Substitute "speech" for "gun." They are right next to each other in the Constitution; it’s not that big a leap of imagination....

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