I just walked through security at SFO. As usual, I opted out of the cancer-causing DNA-unraveling body scanners. It was exceptionally busy, and the made the usual spectacle of yelling "opt-out" and asking me if I was really sure that I didn't want to risk cancer for their convienence.
Guy in gloves walks up to me, and I began my pitch. I think it was most impactful this time because I just got ordained and was inspired by the power of the holy spirit (as well as in my Sunday best).
"I want you to know, I'm a Mormon, and I am obligated to treat you with love and respect."
"Well, thanks for that. Hold out your arms."
I hold out my arms and let him get to work. "As I must treat you like my brother I want to let you know that I opted out just to tell you something-- I need you to go home and Google 3 words."
"Oh yeah? What are those?" He moves to my torso.
"Boston TSA cancer."
"There's a statistically impossible cluster of cancer cases in TSA employees at the Boston airport. It won't be the first either. If you Google those words, you'll even find the TSA official response where the TSA is claiming that the cause isn't the body scanners. If it isn't the scanners, it must be something else, but they aren't letting the Boston TSA employees know. You work for a government agency that is letting its employees get cancer and won't tell them why."
"Are you serious?" His voice is waivering. He's forgotten to give directions. I widen my stance so he can grope at my legs.
"Dead serious. You see, I am opting out mostly so I can tell you this. I'm an engineer, and I do radiation safety as part of my profession. I could maybe even go through that scanner safely once or twice a year. If you could see in a different spectrum, this room would light up so bright you'd be blinded every time those machines go off. You get exposed thousands of times a day.You are not safe."
"Its no more radiation than you get in a single plane flight...." He mutters the mantra of safety that his handlers have taught him as he puts my swab in his explosives detection machine.
"Radiation isn't just how much, it is how fast. You know what would happen if you took a few days ambient radiation and exposed me to it in a fraction of a second? I'd be vaporized, that is what."
He is pale now.
"When you go home. Google 'Boston TSA cancer' and talk it over with your wife, your kids. I'm a priest at $WARD of $CHURCH if you'd like to discuss it with me more when I get back in a couple weeks. No job is worth a very real risk to your health. I've had good friends get cancer."
The explosives detection machine beeps. "You're good to go. Grab your stuff."
"Remember, Boston TSA cancer."
"Boston TSA cancer," he repeats it back to me. I see him pull out his iPhone as I walk away.
That, my friends, is an elevator pitch for liberty.