On the eve of the busiest travel day of the year, I can honestly say that I am very happy that Geoffrey and I are not traveling for Thanksgiving this year. It is estimated that 42.1 million people will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and we have chosen not to participate in the madness this year.
If we were flying this year, I would not be happy about the hub-bub occurring in the airports. Frankly, body scanners have not been proven safe as of yet, so it is a little surprising that they have suddenly appeared in sixty-five airports around the country. At the end of October, 189 backscatter units and 152 millimeter-wave machines were in use in more than 65 US airports. The total number of imaging machines is expected to near 1,000 by the end of 2011, according to the TSA.
In a CNN Travel report titled Radiation, the following statement appeared; The risk of harmful radiation exposure from backscatter scans is very small, according to David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University and a professor of radiation biophysics. But he said he is concerned about how widely the scanners will be used. (Can someone clearly define small risk here?)
“If you think of the entire population of, shall we say a billion people per year going through these scanners, it’s very likely that some number of those will develop cancer from the radiation from these scanners,” Brenner said. (Can someone clearly define “some number will develop cancer” for me here?)
Skin cancer would likely be the primary concern, he said. Each time the same person receives a backscatter scan, the small risk associated with the low dose of radiation is multiplied by the number of exposures, according to Brenner.
Brenner said, the risk to an individual is “very small indeed” for a single scan. He is most concerned about frequent fliers, pilots and young people, because children are more sensitive to radiation. (Is “very small indeed” so small that Americans have to be subjected to this to board an airplane to go visit their families for Thanksgiving, or to travel on business week after week?)
Let me also remind you of this fact; We cannot get the FDA to give final approval for drugs that have been in the testing/approval phase for more than twenty-four months, (27 months is the average backlog for approval currently), but huge scanners can just appear all over the country without the proper studies being done and published to render them safe. And, we the American people can be led through them like a bunch of cattle in order to board an airplane. (Can you only imagine what I would be writing if I were flying tomorrow?)
Funny, most of the comments that I am hearing in the national media about those who are most against entering into the body scanners, have more to do with concern over the naked body image being produced for the eyes of the TSA, than the impact of the X-ray itself, or so it seems. That too is a little confusing. It is not like I want strange TSA eyes seeing through my clothes, but isn’t it a fact that under our clothes we are all the same? Well, pretty close to the same anyway? And lastly, the TSA workers shuffling the lines of cattle through these machines, they are not the ones who made these new rules, they are just following orders that have been whisk down from Washington so they can collect their paycheck on Friday. Has anyone ask the TSA workers how they feel about being subjected to this treatment for an entire shift, day after day? I would like to say “give these folks a break and take the subject up with Washington!”
In recent weeks, the shift has increased drastically on inspecting people, our bodies, and our carry on luggage. I am happy to report that according to TSA, since August 1, 2010, 100% of all cargo being loaded onto passenger planes has been inspected. However, only 65% of cargo entering the US from other countries has been screened by the TSA. And, the 100% inspection rule does not apply to cargo being loaded on cargo-only planes. (And where do cargo-only planes land? That would also be the airport wouldn’t it?)
What this really comes down to is this; we the people, of this great nation, are in the midst of losing our civil liberties. It is not about how naked we are all going to appear as we go through the scanners. We are losing the freedom that was granted to each of us in the United States Constitution! How can this be happening in the United States of America? In the country that invades other countries to ensure that others have so called “civil liberty.” And let me add during this, and then I promise to stop; why is all of this happening during the holiday that gathers more families than any other holiday, and during a time of year that means more to most, than any other? (Can anyone shed light on this for me?)
Our fresh, (not frozen), free-range turkey arrived today – well actually it did not arrive, it is not like it flew in or anything. No, Geoffrey picked up our turkey at Guido’s and escorted it home for my favorite holiday. Turkeys can fly you know, but many people probably have never seen them flying. I happen to be one who has seen Turkeys fly. Turkeys are not great flyer’s – generally they fly very close to the ground, and for no more than a quarter mile. When you really study the physique of your turkey bird this year, you will see it makes perfect sense why they fly close to the ground, and for a very short distance.
So, on this Thanksgiving, my favorite of holidays, Geoffrey and I are taking a little lesson from the turkey. Even though neither of us has a turkey-like physique, we are going to stay pretty close to the ground, and we are not going to travel more than a quarter of a mile. It works for most turkeys, and this year I think it will work for us!