The Terrorists Won?
I’m really dreading the next time I have to fly; I really hate the idea of these backscatter X-Ray and millimeter wave scanners they’re putting in airports these days.
The scanners see through clothing to attempt to detect if someone is carrying a device or weapon.
Now it’s not the idea of some TSA random seeing my junk via x-ray that bothers me, please by all means get a good look. What bothers me is the fact that I’d really rather not be compelled to be bombarded with radiation. X-Rays are ionizing radiation! You know, the kind that gives you cancer. X-Rays and Gamma Rays are essentially the same thing, the only difference is what part of the atom they come from.
But how dangerous are these scanners really?
Well, nobody really knows. The FDA says they’re safe, but they also say FourLoko is illegal so I don’t trust them.
Peter Rez, a Physics Professor at Arizona State University at Tempe concludes that per screening, there’s a 1:30,000,000 chance of developing fatal cancer from a single screening. So if we conclude that the average citizen takes 2 flights a year for a period of 30 years, there’s a 60:30,000,00 - or 1:500,000 chance of developing fatal cancer from airport screening with backscatter X-Ray.
Statistically over 600 Americans will die of cancer from Backscatter X-Ray Airport Screening over the next 30 years.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that there was a 1:25,000,000 chance of dying aboard an Airliner in a terrorist attack during the decade of the 2000’s. Lets assume, for a moment, that these statistics hold true for the next 30 years. Over those same 30 years one’s chance of dying in a terrorist attack aboard an airliner are 3:25,000,000 - or 1:8,333,333.
So that’s 1:500,000 for Backscatter X-Ray, 1:8,333,333 for Terrorism.
Over 16 Times More Likely That You’ll Die from the Screening than the Terrorism.
Oh, also, the Backscatter X-Ray machines don’t detect PETN, the explosive the underpants bomber was trying to use, making them effectively worthless, and they rake in billions of dollars for companies with gigantic congressional lobbies!
Welcome to America!