Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, November 13, 2010

300 nanograms per mL

I’ve been sitting on this story for a few days but there’s no profound insight to be found.  It’s just mind-bogglingly stupid:

The birth of a couple’s first child is supposed to be a joyous occasion—and for the first three days, it was for Elizabeth Mort and her partner Alex Rodriguez. But then the commonwealth of Pennsylvania took their young daughter away after the hospital where she was born reported the mother for testing positive on a drug test. Her drug of choice? An “everything” bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts.

“The best thing in my life had been taken from me and there was nothing I could do to get her back,” Mort says. For five excruciating days, officials with Lawrence County Children and Youth Services (LCCYS) kept mother away from child, all based on a positive drug test they didn’t even bother to investigate—and which the hospital never even informed the mother about. Now, aided by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the parents are fighting back with a lawsuit against both LCCYS and Jameson Hospital.

What happened was this: the hospital routinely tests mothers for drugs.  However, the standards they use—the title’s 300 nanograms per mil—is so absurdly low (a fraction of that used by the feds) that it’s very easy to test positive.  So they informed the cops who, without any further investigation, took the kid away for five days.

You know, now that I’m typing this out, I do find some profound insights from this.  This case is yet another example of how our government, our schools and our healthcare system are treating us all like potential criminals.  In fact, at a time when crime rates are down to levels not seen in 40 years, our entire society is treating everyone like a potential criminal.  I’m a big fan of Lenore Skenazy’s blog and she relentlessly documents incident after incident in which people assume that anyone who so much talks to a child is a pedophile.  Airplane travel now involving zapping people with ionizing radiation or openly groping them.  Our cities are increasingly slathered in closed-circuit cameras. And, from what I can tell, the primary effect is to create ridiculous miscarriages of justice like this, to further erode our privacy and dignity and to further empower bone-headed enforcers.

This is yet another piece of bullshit that our society no longer needs.  The UK is finally beginning to roll their police state at the insistence of the Liberal Democrat wing of the coalition.  Neither party in this country is terribly concerned with civil liberties.  So who is there to push back against this crap?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/13/10 at 08:45 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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