Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Yeah...I don't think so.

I don't care that it's for research purposes.

I don't care that it was voluntary.

Roadblocks to take saliva and blood samples?

There is something very, very wrong with this picture.

St. Clair and Bibb county authorities are confirming there were roadblocks at several locations in their counties Friday and Saturday asking for blood and DNA samples. However, the samples were voluntary and motorists were paid for them as part of a study, they said. 


Turrentine said the roadblocks were part of a study conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. St. Clair County was asked to participate by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs because it had worked with the group six years ago. 
  Let's take another look at this "voluntary" thing.

There you are, driving along in your car, when you see flashing lights and sheriff's cruisers up ahead.  You're stopped.  You're probably a little scared, being that it's late at night and at best you're probably pretty tired.  Deputy comes up to your window, says "We're stopping vehicles to take part in a research study. We'll pay you $60 if you submit a saliva sample and a blood sample."  How many people are really going to feel comfortable saying no under those circumstances?  I mean, I surely would, but I'm a civil liberties hardliner.  But I have a very close friend who has severe anxiety issues and once, at a traffic stop for an expired inspection sticker, stupidly agreed to let a cop search his truck--a request made simply because he was acting nervous. (Nothing was found, by the way, because this is one of my chaotic good buddies and so there was nothing to find.)  And even beyond folks like that, most people are going to go along with what the nice man in uniform says to them.

You're going to tell me these researchers have never heard of Stanley Milgram?

So, what was the research being conducted on?

They want to find out of all the people surveyed, how many people were driving with alcohol in their system, or prescription drugs, things like that.

But no DNA was collected.  Just, you know, things from which DNA can easily be taken.  But the government assures us nothing untoward will be done with the samples.  And we all know we can trust the government.*

*For the record, no, I could not type that with a straight face.

1 comment:

John A said...

Police roadblock? Voluntary? "Off duty" officers may be the one who talk to you, but the ones who stop you are ON-duty!

Other "randomized" medical research usually involves ads in the newspapers or on the radio. Or having a sign in the ER saying you can make a few bucks. NOT "please follow the officer" followed by "If you want, you can go."