Enough is enough

Ferg writes:

Subject: Scan and grope

Even though I made my living for many years in aviation I have decided that I will not travel by airline anymore unless it is an emergency.

There is a limit to how much hassle I will put up with in order to fly and they have long since passed it. If I can’t drive, I am not going, simple as that. If the airline industry suffers because people won’t fly, let them speak to the cause. And there is no incentive the airline industry can offer me that will get me to put up with this nonsense.

- end of initial entry -

Rex W. writes:

I think that reaction is part of the plan. This will quite literally keep the provincials in their place. Meanwhile, as has been discussed on VFR, many of the liberal supporters are perfectly ok with this, and most seem to accept it anyway (have we heard from ACLU?). The ideal discriminatory law, totally untraceable so to speak. I think that it was foolish to roll this out now when said provincials were already in the mood (and somewhat more organized) to resist it, but they may still succeed in keeping it. I predict it will remain in place at the the airports no matter what.

Homer G. writes:

I wanted to point out in response to Rex W.’s comment regarding the scan and grope regime that the ACLU is complaining vociferously about these procedures. Their blog is here.

It seems that at least some liberals are not so far gone they can not see the problem here.

Ferg writes:

Rex W. writes:

“I think that reaction is part of the plan.” Yes, and it occurs to me that a collapse of the airline industry will lead to government ownership of the airlines. This will create a whole new group of public employee unions with a vested interest in big government and all the benefits it entails for its union members. A perfect liberal outcome. And if I have thought of this, I am sure someone else has too.

November 18

Alexis Zarkov writes:

Do the new airport security measures violate the Fourth Amendment? Evidently not as this legal blog discusses. While the Supreme Court has yet to rule, federal circuit courts have generally regarded airport security as reasonable administrative searches not in conflict with the Fourth Amendment. The key word here is “reasonable.” Airport security can’t do anything to you. I doubt they could make surgical incisions in women’s breasts looking for liquid explosives. But they can go pretty far, and I doubt the new procedures would be found unreasonable. However there is cause for concern about health effects of the backscatter scanners.

Currently we have two basic technologies used for whole body scans at airports: millimeter wave and backscatter X-ray. Millimeter waves are not ionizing, but some scientists think there might be problems as discussed in the Wikipedia article. However backscatter X-ray is an entirely different matter. X-ray radiation is ionizing and therefore damages DNA in a way that could cause a malignant tumor. The risk is a function of the dose of radiation delivered to tissue. In conventional X-ray imaging the radiation gets transmitted to a large volume of tissue. Being spread out into a three-dimensional volume means any given piece of tissue gets a small and more or less harmless dose. Backscatter X-ray is a whole different matter. The exposure is essentially two-dimensional delivering all the radiation to the skin and organs right near the skin. Thus skin tissue is getting a big dose. There is so much concern, faculty at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) wrote this letter to John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor. The authors here have the appropriate backgrounds to comment intelligently on the risks associated with the backscatter technology. They put fourth the following concerns.

A) The large population of older travelers, 65 years of age, is particularly at risk from the mutagenic effects of the X-rays based on the known biology of melanocyte aging.

B) A fraction of the female population is especially sensitive to mutagenesis- provoking radiation leading to breast cancer. Notably, because these women, who have defects in DNA repair mechanisms, are particularly prone to cancer, X-ray mammograms are not performed on them. The dose to breast tissue beneath the skin represents a similar risk.

C) Blood (white blood cells) perfusing the skin is also at risk.

D) The population of immunocompromised individuals—HIV and cancer patients (see above) is likely to be at risk for cancer induction by the high skin dose.

E) The risk of radiation emission to children and adolescents does not appear to have been fully evaluated.

F) The policy towards pregnant women needs to be defined once the theoretical risks to the fetus are determined.

G) Because of the proximity of the testicles to skin, this tissue is at risk for sperm mutagenesis.

H) Have the effects of the radiation on the cornea and thymus been determined?

At this point I’m inclined to accept a millimeter scan, and decline a backscatter X-ray scan. I have absolutely no confidence whatsoever in either the competence or the integrity of Obama’s appointees for TSA and DHS. Let’s also remember that the manufacture, installation and operation of these new scanners is highly profitable.

The only practical way at this point to fight is to refuse scans and tie up airport operations. Write and call your Congressmen. They can’t sue large numbers of people and we can win if we stand fast.

November 22

William R. writes:

“I think that reaction is part of the plan. This will quite literally keep the provincials in their place.”

I disagree. The provincials don’t fly nearly as much as the cosmopolitans who coined the term “flyover country.” Having to drive, much less take the Greyhound bus, through Middle America is something the cosmopolitans want to avoid. Regulations that stymie air travel get so much media attention in part because they disproportionately impact cosmopolitans, who have greater access to the microphone.

The media spend more time covering the problems with air travel, security-related or otherwise, than they do covering the downside of policies that frustrate provincials, like CAFE standards and other automotive regulations. It’s an article of faith among the cosmopolitans that this business of the provincials commuting to work in pickup trucks simply must stop. If increasingly burdensome air travel regulations cause a spike in auto travel, the entire Left will fret, and the environmentalist Left will go crackers.

On a different note, I don’t get the sense from the cosmopolitans that they want to keep the provincials in their geographic place. A substantial portion of them think it would be good for Joe Sixpack to get out of Indiana and visit NYC and San Francisco. It’s certainly much more appealing to cosmopolitans than the prospect of finding themselves in Indiana.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 16, 2010 07:13 PM | Send

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