You may be fine with giving up your civil rights to fly. Let’s assume you are. Let’s assume you are part of the crowd that feels security theater is more important than civil rights. Are you willing to have the TSA give you cancer for the “privilege” of flying?
A small, but growing, group of scientists is now saying that low levels of radiation emitted by airport body scanners might be the bigger concern – not our naked junk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that the X-ray technology used in the scanners poses a cancer risk, albeit one they say is “so low it presents an extremely small risk.”
What the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be acknowledging along with the rest of the federal government is that the risk of terrorism being mitigated by the full body scanners is so low it presents and extremely small risk. There are thousands of other risks in the United States that outweigh the risk of being on a hijacked plane which do not require a vast authoritarian infrastructure inside of which all civil rights and common sense are suspended.
The TSA could come up with dozens of better less intrusive ways to ensure that passengers are not a threat to flight security. Ultimately the next attack (which is inevitable) will probably focus on some area of the U.S. infrastructure other than aviation. And then we’ll all look like the morons we have allowed ourselves to become. And some of us may have cancer that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
And our kids will be properly trained to obey without questioning. After all, if someone from the government needs to touch your genitals or see you naked it must be for a good reason right? Right.
The bad news, the report said, is we won’t really know what exposing millions of people to the machines will do until we actually expose millions of people to the machines. As for Tyner, his videotaped refusal to let TSA officials scan him or pat him down has made him a bit of a folk hero. But long after his 15 minutes of cable news fame have expired, Americans will have to consider whether they want to get zapped by body scanners or get used to having TSA officials touch their junk.