Erosion of Safety or Common Sense?
George's Point of View

Last year I was in a plane seat for about 230k miles. The year before, at least that many or more. I believe in being safe up there. Personally, I have no personal problem with body scans. I liked that movie, Modern Problems. I might not mind glowing in the dark. Maybe it would save on electricity.
Let’s think for a minute about the irony of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mandate, the government agency whose job it is to protect the nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. These Heightened Security Measures are an intrusion on what we expect of what would still like to call a free country.
Are we naive to believe that we deserve safety measure options which do not insult our privacy? Let me ask all of you out there. Shouldn’t there be an option for people who want to opt out?
If you’ve forgotten the situation, just google the phrase “Express Jet pilot Michael Roberts” and you will find plenty of news about this pilot who may become the poster child or figurehead of a grassroots backlash against airport screening technology.
He’s the pilot who flew through Memphis International Airport for years until the TSA told him he could not fly if he did not go through the new scans and be subjected to a full body pat down.
See that charming graphic sample above? It is not Michael Roberts. But whoever it is, it is certainly an intrusion.
(The image is not supposed to be recorded, according to the TSA) yet the scanners do have that capability. Minors in the UK are protected from these scans because of fears of child pornography. Adults do not have that protection. Seems like they should.
And purely in an emotional sense, the eerie images themselves look as if the subject were bathed in radiation, which would jump start all kinds of cancers, make ones hair fall out and have assorted negative health effects, especially over time. Which type of health effects would depend on whether an X-ray backscatter vs millimeter wave were used. In 78 US airports, 247 so-called backscatter machines are installed made by Rapiscan Systems which expose a person to about 0.0025 millirem of radiation (239 are the other type of machine so I can’t tell about those.) What if they malfunction? What if Rapiscan or components goof. People are flawed, we make mistakes. What if like the Cedars Sinai radiation cases, they put out 7-8 times the radiation they are supposed to? TSA agents will get the worst of it. And pilots and airport personnel who have to undergo these scans, sometimes daily. So what if it is not like the immediate disaster in Japan; long term regular exposure—like 4 years worth of weekly scans—could be just as bad, or worse, maybe 50 years down the road like Mesothelioma.
So one of these scanners was installed at the Memphis International airport and in this (supposedly) free country, when a well-respected pilot objected, he was prevented from going to his job. Rather than my going off on living in a totalitarian state, let me here paste the
link to his blog on the subject.
And here are Michael’s own words on the subject. His words:
Michael Roberts:

We just filed an amendment to our complaint with the District Court in D.C. – nothing earth shattering, but it’s got us back in the news a little bit recently. I also gave testimony to a Texas state legislature committee yesterday regarding a series of bills they’re looking at to outlaw TSA’s shenanigans at the state level. The fight goes on, whether the major media care to acknowledge it or not.

Originally posted by George Hatcher on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 5:41 pm