A few years ago this would've been a sarcastic question, but today I'm entirely serious: when wannabe DEA agents and Border Patrol guards take their pre-employment psychological tests, does "showing signs of basic human empathy" disqualify them?
According to this lawsuit
filed by the ACLU, here's what the empathy-free sociopaths working for the Border Patrol in El Paso did to a middle-aged United States citizen identified only as "Jane Doe": although she had no drugs on (or in) her, a drug-sniffing dog barked in her presence, so she was forcibly strip-searched, subject to multiple cavity searches, forced to submit to unwilling gynecological exams and rectal probes, forced to swallow a laxative and make a bowel movement in front of witnesses, forcibly X-rayed, forced to submit to a CT scan ... and, of course, nothing was found. The Border Patrol then gave her a choice: since most of her degradation took place in a hospital, she was told she could sing a form saying she consented to those painful and degrading procedures, in which case the Border Patrol would pay the hospital bill, or refuse and be stuck with the bill herself. She is now expected to pay a $5,000 hospital bill.
In all seriousness, if they'd reacted this way because they thought it
was something like a nuclear threat (for the sake of this hypothetical, assume there exist nuclear bombs small enough to be concealed
within a bodily orifice, yet scented enough for a dog to sniff out), it would still be a gross miscarriage of
justice and I'd still hope the woman makes a fortune in the resulting lawsuit,, but I can understand such overzealousness from somebody who is thinking
"There could be literally millions
of lives at stake here."
no. The Border Patrol sociopaths weren't behaving thusly in hope of saving innocent lives, but in the hope of slightly reducing the possibility that someone would use
an intoxicant other than alcohol.
Ms. Does' case is not unique; the Border Patrol assured her that such things happen all the time. According to the ACLU
During the car ride to the Medical Center, Ms. Doe asked if the
agents had a warrant. One of them responded that they did not need a
Medical Center policy L-13 on searches by hospital personnel
does not permit an invasion of a person’s body for purposes of a
search without either consent or a search warrant. However, in
practice, the Medical Center staff and CBP agents routinely conduct
invasive cavity searches without a warrant, consent or sufficient
suspicion to justify the searches. When Ms. Doe expressed dismay
about the unreasonable searches she suffered, a Medical Center
employee responded that these procedures were routinely followed
when an individual is brought in by CBP agents. The employee also
told Ms. Doe that what happened to her was not invasive.
Of course, our modern federal government also believes that being sexually fondled and forced to submit to nude photography before flying isn't a fourth amendment violation, either, and certainly not a human-rights travesty. Which is why I'm no longer being sarcastic, when I ask if the existence of basic human empathy precludes one from a modern career in federal law enforcement.