by Chris Black
I know what you’re thinking: there’s a subway in LA? Joke aside, for our younger readers, Total Recall is science fiction movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie is based on a dystopian short-story (“We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”) written by one of the best science fiction authors in the world, Philip K. Dick respectively. Here’s the scene I am hinting at in the title:
The movie was made almost 30 years ago, in 1990, and what do you know: Los Angeles is now preparing to become the first city in the United States to install subway body scanners, just as Total Recall predicted three decades ago. According to city officials on Tuesday, LA’s new body scanning system is aimed at screening passengers for explosives and weapons; again, just like in the movie.
In the coming months, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will deploy portable scanners, which are capable of performing full body screenings of passengers transiting LA’s subway system, i.e. as people walk through a station; it’s getting boring, I know, but this is, again, just like in the movie. These high-tech machines can scan approximately 2,000 passengers per hour if so required, and can detect suspicious objects on one’s person from thirty feet/nine meters. The body scanning gear will be acquired from a UK based company, Thruvision respectively. The good news is that these are not X-Ray based scanning machines , but they work by collecting the natural thermal energy that is emitted by all people. That technology would be from Predator, the movie from the eighties:
The new system to be deployed in LA’s subway system uses passive security imaging technology to detect explosives, liquids, ceramics, weapons, plastics and narcotics without emitting any kind of harmful radiation. TLDR: you won’t get cancer from these gizmos.
It’s interesting to see how ideas from SF movies/books are slowly becoming a reality, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Think along the lines of 1984 or Brave New World, which were not meant as instruction manuals, yet our dear leaders seem to believe otherwise.
Moving along with the story, passengers will be warned that they’d be subjected to body scanner screening via signs posted at stations, which sort of means the whole process would be voluntary. However, if you decline to be checked for weapons and explosives, well, tough luck: you won’t be able to ride LA’s subway system.
Naturally, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority claims they’re preparing to mitigate terrorism and to deter potential mass shootings via this added layer of security. It’s a precautionary thing, see. One may ask, okay, LA will have body scanners in the subways, but they can’t do anything about the homeless living in tents all over the city? Also, I thought guns and explosives are illegal in Los Angeles.
This is a ridiculous invasion of personal privacy. Our older readers remember that up until the eighties, you could carry a gun in an airplane. Also, horribile dictu, smoking was allowed even in movie theaters and in the subway. Everything changed after we were enriched via multiculturalism and vibrant diversity. Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”I wonder when we’re going to be forced to go through a scanner leaving our homes?