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“One Adam Twelve, One Adam Twelve…”: Security Theater & Doggies Doo June 11, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in security theater.
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Chris’ Dog BO

Today on Yahoo News Canada is a story in which it is claimed that Jerusalem such a problem with dog poop that they are enacting a program in which they will match offending doggy doo against a master DNA database.   According to a statement from the Jerusalem municipality: “The municipality pilot project calls for establishment of a database of dog DNA to allow us to reduce the soiling of pavements, parks and public spaces,”  In short, the city plans on DNA profiling 70-80% of the 11,000 dogs that live in Jerusalem and then, if there is a “pile” of DNA on the sidewalk, someone will pick it up, send to a lab, test it, and then the owner of the offending pooch will be fined $193.  This plan is so ridiculous that it does not merit much discussion but…for the sake of this blog let me use an example from a previous post.

I grew up in Texas riding motorcycles.  I had a Ninja 600 when they first came out in the 1980’s and I used to race around central Texas on my bike at 100+ mph at every chance I had.  Texas is a huge state.  In some areas of Texas where there were few towns you might see a sign that would warn ominously: “Speed monitored by aircraft.  Violators will be prosecuted.”  For a little while this kept my speed in check until I had an epiphany.  In the world of budgets, overhead and accountability, there is no way in the world someone could justify flying a plane around in a circle at $X per hour in the hope of catching an odd speeder that would return $y per hour.  It simply did not make economic sense.  The Return OIn Investment simply did not justify the plan.  With my new found knowledge in hand, I confidently cranked the throttled open and off I went at 125 mph.  What is interesting about this example is that the threat DID get me to slow down for a while and likely convinced a number of other people to not speed.  In this respect…it was effective even if not utilized.

Back to the dog poop.  People may believe that their dog’s waste may be analyzed and compared and then they may be fined.  The reality is that this just does not make economic sense nor does it make legal sense.  If they only test 70-80% of dogs, that leaves upwards of 30% of dogs un profiled.  Also, if my dog runs away, do I now have to report this to the authorities to make sure I am not fined?  What about stray dogs?  Finally, and the best part…chain of evidence.   How can the authorities prove that the dog actually did its business where they claim? Will they use a little chalk outline and take a photo?  Are they going to send out crime scene investigators like in CSI Miami to ensure that the dog doo is properly handled to ensure that legal proceedings can move forward?  I think we know the answers are no, no, no, and no.  At the end of the day, this is little more than a ‘scare tactic’ intended to cause people to think about their dogs’ habits in public.

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