By JEAN-PAUL AGUIRRE
On Thursday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2016, as CNN was covering the Republican Presidential Town Hall, news broke that highly radioactive materials in Iraq had been stolen.
Reports have gone on to say that the device, which uses the radioactive material, Iridium-192, was reported stolen from an oil services company back in November.
Iridium-192 has a half-life of about 74 days, which means that by now the material has all ready decayed by half. Analysts on news stations are clarifying that these types of situations happen more frequently than they are reported on the news. Also, they believe it is highly unlikely that the material would be used in a terrorist attack and if it were used in a “dirty bomb,” it is likely that the explosion from the bomb would cause more harm than the Iridium-192.
What I am concerned about is why this news is being reported now? If the Iridium was stolen from an oil company in Iraq, in November, why should we care?
From what the online reports and analysts are leading onto, the repercussions of this incident alone will not be severe, yet they mention the possibility of radioactive materials being the next step in chemical warfare due to the availability of such materials around the world and the rising number of cases of stolen materials.
It seems to me that this news was reported too late. Now the nation is focused on the South Carolina primaries, an incident of stolen radioactive materials from November is not as important. I believe the mindset audiences have now is “Nothing has happened yet, so why should we care.”
If the news media were to have made this a bigger issue when it happened— instead of three months later— it would have garnered more attention and certainly would have been a talking point at the debates we have seen in the past months.