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Since losing a child, John has made it his mission to get DNA laws changed across the country. He says every state should pass a law that requires DNA printing for anyone arrested on felony charges.

"Fingerprinting started back in the '30s, and it's a coarse technology. DNA is a very precise technology, and we need to use it as an investigative tool," he says. "I think it will exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty."

John believes these new laws can help save lives. "Premeditated criminals don't just do one crime and then go back to a normal life," he says. "Crimes of that nature are done repeatedly, and so the quicker we can get those people off the streets, the more lives and pain we'll save."

So far, 12 states have passed this law, John says. To encourage your state senators and governor to support DNA legislation, John suggests writing a letter or sending an e-mail.

Though John has suffered great loss and heartache during his lifetime, he says the reaction he received from strangers was heartwarming. "People would stop us on the street and give us hugs and apologize for what's being done. We came through this with this great appreciation for our fellow man's willingness to reach out and hurt when other people are hurting," he says. "It really opened my eyes to that, as well as [being] a human being."
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FROM: Elizabeth Smart, John Ramsey: The Stories That Captured the Nation
Published on September 10, 2008

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