Despite being a frequent flier, I recently made a rookie mistake and left a small bottle of water in my carry-on during TSA screening at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Humphrey Terminal. When the agent at the X-ray monitor pulled my bag aside, I immediately knew what the potential threat was and congratulated him on finding it. Why did I pay him a compliment? Because their job is not as easy as you might think.
How do I know that? I am a board-certified radiologist with 30 years of experience. I spend my days systematically interpreting thousands of images of the body looking for tiny offending “lesions,” sometimes cleverly disguised by nature to get through my screening process. Despite four years of medical school and at least five to six years of specialty training, a radiologist misses an abnormality on a scan up to 20 percent of the time. Most of these “misses” are inconsequential (just like my water bottle), but some, unfortunately, are not. The reasons for failure are numerous and have been studied extensively in the medical literature. Despite formalized efforts, the “miss rate” for radiologists has improved only modestly. I suspect these quality pitfalls are similar for TSA X-ray screeners.
There has been outrage expressed in the media about the TSA failure to identify thousands of potentially dangerous items every month. But I am sympathetic and in no way surprised by their imperfection. I am certain that the screeners do not have 10 years of intensive training, and I suspect that “bad guys” are doing their best to disguise potentially dangerous items. (Of course, this brings the efficacy of the screening process itself into question, but others can debate that.)
Dr. Kevin Gustafson, Eden Prairie
RED WING’s COLLEGE HOPES
Already home to a fine two-year college, which could be a partner
We read with interest the May 31 story about Red Wing recruiting a four-year college to locate a satellite campus in the town (“A plea to colleges: Come to Red Wing”). It bears mentioning that Red Wing already has a world-class college: Minnesota State College — Southeast Technical.
A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Southeast Technical is a two-year public college offering liberal arts and sciences coursework as well as technical education. Our Red Wing campus is world-renowned for its musical instrument repair programs; we draw students from across the U.S. and many foreign countries to study band instrument repair, violin repair, and guitar repair and construction. We also have high concentrations of students in nursing, early-childhood education and criminal justice.
We are constantly seeking ways to improve our service to the region, such as expanding our programs to better suit the needs of students who are preparing for transfer to four-year institutions. Our customized training division works closely with area manufacturers to determine what types of training are most needed and provide professional instruction, either on campus or on-site.
Should the Red Wing Area Higher Education Partnership succeed in attracting a four-year college, we hope to work in harmony with it to provide two-plus-two transfer agreements and other beneficial partnerships. Our college students bring a unique energy and vibrancy to Red Wing, and we are very proud to serve their needs.
Dorothy Duran, Red Wing, Minn.
The writer is president of Minnesota State College — Southeast Technical.
SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES
The inaction was preferable
I had to respond to the May 31 letter arguing that Sunday liquor sales are necessary. I believe the “no vote” on this bill was one thing the Minnesota Legislature got right in the 2016 session. Allowing Sunday sales is an inconvenience to stores; someone can easily buy liquor Monday through Saturday. Any Sunday sales would just take away from the others. The argument of revenue lost across state lines is bogus. I live in Roseville and know of no one who delays buying alcohol on a Saturday so they can make a one-hour round trip to Wisconsin to get booze. For people who forget to make a purchase on Saturday (or drink their supply), maybe a day off from drinking would be good for their health.
My guess is the ones pushing for Sunday liquor sales are big-box retailers working to force smaller stores out of business. I agree with the letter writer that the annual push for Sunday liquor sales is a waste of time. I think the Legislature should get the important issues done first.
Tim Kotecki, Roseville
KILLINGS IN AMERICA
Only some get media attention
On Wednesday, tragically, a murder-suicide resulted in two deaths on the UCLA campus. CNN covered this shooting nonstop for hours. In May, there were 66 murders in Chicago and 397 shooting victims. That’s more than two murders and 12 shooting victims per day. Can someone explain to me why CNN isn’t covering this 24 hours a day given the coverage standard it has applied to the UCLA shootings? Why the double-standard? Have the killings in Chicago become white noise? I think so, and, as a result, we are worse off as a society.
Jeff Parker, Eden Prairie
THE 2016 CAMPAIGN
At least Trump is talking
Donald Trump was criticized wrongly at a recent news conference for slowness in making major cash contributions to a list of veterans’ organizations. He fought back, saying the press is accusing him of wrongdoing while he is doing exactly what he said he would do. Hillary Clinton blasts Trump for his interaction with the press as being nonpresidential in style. So, let us examine how Hillary interacts with the press …
Oh, wait: She has not held a news conference in more than six months. Hmmm?
Bill Halling, Edina
• • •
For some reason, supporters of Clinton refuse to recognize that what she did regarding her e-mails was wrong. It’s fine to say that what she did will not affect your intention to vote for her; it’s another thing to pretend that what she did was not wrong and that anyone who criticizes her is politically motivated, as a recent letter writer suggests (“It’s just political business; it’s not personal, right?” June 1).
The writer gives two reasons why the e-mail scandal should not be taken seriously. First, that the inspector general’s report found that other secretaries of state did the same thing; second, that it is clear that “these attacks are based on a politically desperate attempt for a scandal rather than any supposed misdeeds.” Both claims can easily be refuted by simply looking at the facts. The other secretaries in the report are Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright and John Kerry. Rice and Albright did not even use e-mail, and Powell and Kerry had both personal and government e-mails, using the government one for State Department business. None had a personal server in his or her home that they used for both personal and government business.
But perhaps the biggest difference is that the other secretaries acknowledged what they did by appearing before the inspector general, while Clinton has lied — and continues to lie — about her own conduct and has refused to appear or to allow her aides to appear before the inspector general.
Regarding the claim that the report was politically motivated, we need only ask ourselves why Kerry’s State Department or President Obama’s appointee Steve Linick, the inspector general who wrote the report, would have any reason to make a false report in order to injure Clinton’s run for the White House. I can’t think of any myself.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park