I was unable to post anything yesterday when news broke that a truck load of radioactive cobalt had been stolen and was missing in Mexico. I did hear the sometimes delusional Charles Krauthammer jump on the hysteria bandwagon by insisting that Hezbollah could be the culprits who grabbed the lethal load. He suggested this during the Bret Baier Show last night. Nothing like using terrorist scare tactics to whip up the American people.
Well, turns out this is your classic Mexican mayhem. Two scumbags, armed with guns, decided to jack a truck and steal the contents. Blinded by their greed, the two thieves acted rashly and opened the protective containers designed to contain the radioactivity.
With lethal radioactive material on the loose, Mexican authorities put out a lookout across six states. The International Atomic Energy Agency warned that the material “could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed” from its casing.
“I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had; they were interested in the crane, in the vehicle,” Jimenez said.
The cobalt-60 was found, removed from its casing, in a rural area near the town of Hueypoxtla about 25 miles from where the truck was stolen. Jimenez suspected that curiosity got the better of the thieves and they opened the box. So far the carjackers have not been arrested, but authorities expect they will not live long.
“The people who handled it will have severe problems with radiation,” he said. “They will, without a doubt, die.”
The specter of nuclear material in the hands of terrorists, especially ragheads, is great grist for Hollywood. But it has little to do with reality. The kind of radioactive material that can easily kill thousands is very, very difficult to handle. In fact, it is likely to easily kill those trying to use it for a nefarious end.
This does not mean we should ignore such a threat. Heavens no. We should have safeguards and proactive security measures to guard such material. But we should also avoid the kind of mindless hysteria advanced by neo-cons like Krauthammer.