Civil Liberties

Drop the Scrubs, Bub

|


Acting Homeland Security Secretary Garrison Keillor responds to the recent attacks in London:

Doctors have been shown to constitute a security threat, therefore they must not be allowed to drive cars or have backpacks or briefcases, which can conceal bombs. They should carry their possessions in clear plastic bags and they should go barefoot at all times. When it comes to security, there can be no shortcuts, no half-measures.

Perhaps these rules should apply only to medical personnel from the Middle East, or to all swarthy doctors, or those who have fez marks on their foreheads or who set off the fig detector, but that would require a lot of on-site decisions by motor vehicle bureaus and security personnel—a blanket rule is easier to enforce. All docs take walks. After all, the Transportation Security Administration folks at the airport don't let you squeeze out a little Ipana on your finger and prove that it's only toothpaste and not nitroglycerine—there just isn't time for that monkey business.

And so, starting Sept. 1, everybody—no exceptions—in the health services field will be banned from driving anything with an ignition system….Will this new rule apply to emergency medical technicians? Yes. The rescue vehicles they drive contain potentially explosive oxygen tanks, and so each EMT will have a non-EMT handler to keep an eye on him or her and check the gurney for suspicious bulges.

Whole thing here. I enjoyed Ken MacLeod's take too:

The perpetrators of three failed terrorist attacks were not, it now seems, alienated teenagers misled by hook-handed clerics (etc etc) but NHS medical personnel. This is disturbing. It means it's possible to qualify in and to practice medicine with almost no knowledge of physics and chemistry….

As any science undergraduate will tell you, medical students tend to be well-meaning and intelligent, but only slightly better-informed and better-behaved than students of divinity. When it comes to fundamentalism the people you have to keep a watchful eye on are engineers, who are predisposed to fall for design arguments and to follow literal interpretations of The Book.