No…this isn’t about Japan. It’s about SeaTac and American travelers:
The Transportation Security Administration is re-analyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.
The TSA, which has deployed at least 500 body scanners to at least 78 airports, said Tuesday the machines meet all safety standards and would remain in operation despite a “calculation error” in safety studies. The flawed results showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.
You know who is going to be gloating over this, don’t you?
I, for one, will refuse to allow my daughter through one of those scanners, and will refuse to walk through one myself. […] I mean, honestly… would you trust TSA to bombard you or a loved one with ionizing radiation?
You know who is laughing over this, don’t you?
The “terrorists”. You know…the ones who “hate our freedoms.”
“They” have scared the living shit out of politicians, driving them to a state of frenzied security overreaction. It isn’t just the trillion dollar wars, the costly military build-up, the absurdly bloated domestic security infrastructure…those things that have drained our coffers with little substantive return on investment. It isn’t just the disgrace of our government getting caught committing torture in our names and starting wars under false pretenses that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
For our dignity, it’s also a “death” by 1,000 cuts. We’ve succumbed to ludicrous restrictions and procedures for air travel and we’ve accepted those increasingly invasive inspections.
We’ve taken it to the extreme of “mainstreaming” the use of full body scanning using ionizing radiation administered by non-radiologists on equipment that, it turns out, was being inspected erroneously.
Ultimately we, the American electorate, by putting up with this shit, are self-terrorists.
I always opt out…and go for the free TSA massage.
Commenter Oxbrain takes me to task for fear-mongering. I’ll respond here, because I believe it will add some clarity to a post that was minimally about radiation and more about overreaction to terrorism.
“Your title is “Radiation “emissions are 10 times higher”” Taking the quote out of context as it is, this is a blatantly false statement that is obviously intended to strike at a fear of radiation.”
The title is not a statement. But I understand the point. The title is alarmist…I mean, given the context of concerns over the situation in Japan. But the purpose of the over-the-top title was to draw eyeballs. Incendiary titles are a tradition in blogging. I just wish they could all be as good as “Asshole inflamed over anuses”.
“I can’t imagine the mental disconnect required to try using an irrational fear of radiation as an argument against our irrational fear of terrorism.”
I appreciate your point, I really do. But what is rational about fear of radiation is that mistakes can, and will, happen. (Yes…even by a government agency.) That the particular mistake (one of several) highlighted in the article was not a radiation health threat, as the article made explicit, isn’t much comfort. It was still a mistake. The tests yielded numbers 10 times too high.
Apparently, someone at the TSA charged with reviewing the test results from the contractor, wasn’t surprised, or even curious about readings that were, apparently, ten-times too high. That’s not good.
And that wasn’t the only mistake. The TSA report cited other problems with the inspections:
- Lack of notation for the latest calibration date for the machine being tested or the most recent calibration date noted had expired on survey meters
- Information missing regarding warning labels and required labels
- Calculation errors not impacting safety
- Missing survey point readings
- Inconsistent responses to survey questions
- No reading of background radiation noted
- Missing other non-measurement related information
(For context, I’ll just note that a missing placard on an aircraft renders it legally unairworthy.)
These errors add poignancy to Goldy’s question: do you trust the TSA to expose you to ionizing radiation?
So…yeah, I think it works using the irrational fear of radiation as an argument against the irrational fear of terrorism. Clearly people’s irrational fear of terrorism is so…well, irrational, that people succumb to it over their irrational fear of radiation and their rational fear that mistakes can happen.