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“When You Are A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail. To The Wireless Industry, Everything About You is a Nail” 

By Patricia Burke of Safe Tech International, Images courtesy Floris Freshman

The phrase “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is attributed to Abraham Maslow and his 1966 book, The Psychology of Science.

“Hammers Only See Nails”

In a blog post at Today’s Machining World, (which we will revisit later) Noah Graff explains, the hammer phrase “relates to a cognitive bias that involves over-reliance on a familiar tool.” Commenter Miles Free wrote, “…this is more than just cognitive bias. I call it the tyranny of the familiar.”

For many, the 5G roll-out and wireless is inviting deeper scrutiny into cognitive bias, hammers, nails, tyranny, and telecom. (This includes the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decision regarding FCC’s 2019 decision not to review its exposure limits, by why let that spoil the party? HINT: Arbitrary, capricious, and not evidence-based. HINT: Due to a regulatory gap, the FCC has ignored the Court’s remand.)

Consumers have been socialized into equating “a tin foil hat” with a dunce cap, instead of “putting on our thinking caps” as we did in kindergarten.

Despite the challenge of swimming against the tide of yet another consumer product presumed to be safe on the basis of – absolutely nothing and no evidence, – a portion of the public is regaining the ability to distinguish between critical thinking and conspiracy.

We are currently caught in the cross-current, but a rising tide lifts all boats. 

“Poor Rural Connectivity Costs Lives” – If You Don’t Maintain Landlines

The February 6 post by Doug Dawson of CCG Consulting is entitled “Poor Rural Connectivity Costs Lives”

“The Washington Post wrote an article recently that talked about how poor rural connectivity cost lives during a tornado in Louisiana. [ ]

This story is not unique, and the same thing plays out whenever a bad storm passes through areas with poor broadband and cellular coverage. In this case, a family was killed by the storm because they didn’t see the storm alerts, and other people were unable to reach them to tell them about the alerts. In this particular case, a husband and wife tried to repeatedly to warn the family about the storm. But their landline connection was terrible, they didn’t have good broadband, and the cellular coverage was inadequate – so nobody was able to reach the family that ultimately got killed by the storm.

I’ve created lists many times of the benefits of rural broadband, but until I read this article, I never thought to say that good broadband saves lives. The government has spent a lot of money creating emergency alert systems for various purposes, including storm warnings. I live in a city, and I get alerts from the City for all sorts of things, including storm alerts. Living in a city means I have the option to receive alerts by text, email, or even an automated voice call – and the alerts reach me.

My consulting firm administers a lot of broadband surveys every year in rural counties. These surveys are mostly aimed at helping to define areas that have inadequate broadband. But in practically every rural survey we have ever done, we find 30% of more homes saying that they don’t have home cellular coverage – sometimes a much higher percentage.” – Doug Dawson

Unpacking Assumptions and Cognitive Bias: The Choice for Cellular Services Costs Lives Too

The article about the storm-related deaths in Louisiana states that “the landline connection was terrible.”

The decision not to maintain landlines is a choice. 

For example, in fire-prone California, FiberFirstLA has explained, ”Wireless is a fire risk, among other issues.”


“Three recent major California wildfires in or adjacent to Los Angeles County have been linked to telecommunications equipment. These include:

Malibu Canyon Fire (2007) – Hundreds of millions in property damage

Woolsey Fire (2018) –$6 billion in damages in Malibu & throughout Los Angeles County.

Silverado Fire (2020) – merged with a second fire in Irvine and caused the evacuation of 130,000 people with significant property loss.”

 “The fire risk of telecommunications equipment has left $6 billion worth of scorched earth over Southern California in the last 15 years alone. When the rains follow fires, mudslides are inevitable.” – Fiberfirst LA

Meanwhile, in the Northeast, loss of both cell service and internet access accompanies blizzard-related power outages.

This issue of lost service did not historically occur as often with landline phones, which did not run out of battery charge, and do not require electricity or back-up generators to power the towers and antennas.

An industrial and economic system predicated on expansion and growth, resource consumption, and planned obsolescence ignores the option of appropriately maintained landline phone service because wireless is “cheaper” and more profitable and fosters the demand for constant upgrades for infrastructure and devices, (rather than maintenance).

Individualized Wireless Notifications is Only a Choice

The article about the Louisiana deaths states, “Living in a city means I have the option to receive alerts by text, email, or even an automated voice call – and the alerts reach me.”

Communities in storm-prone areas also have the ability to utilize sirens and other types of warning systems.

Overlapping systems, including those that do not consume excess energy trying to reach each individual’s device via a wireless signal, are not considered when everything looks like a nail.

Heart-warming narratives about how cell phones save lives get good press coverage by the mass media, without asking deeper questions for example about hiking, camping, and traveling safely and skillfully.

Critical thinkers also note that the mainstream media carries substantial cell phone industry advertising, and that newspaper’s board members and outlet owners are mainly big tech titans.

A growing minority is asking reasonable questions about when and where hard-wired connections would be a safer, faster, more secure, more reliable, less flammable option, including, for example, in schools, hospitals, homes, and other sensitive environments.

The desire for reasonably priced true landline phone service is being both overlooked and misrepresented by a public relations campaign designed to support the narrative for wireless expansionism.

Distracted Driving and Wireless Kills

A 2023 analysis by Housegrail reports, “Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and indeed, around the world.  Distracted driving comes in many forms, from cell phone use to eating or snacking, as well as GPS navigation devices, and even stress or fatigue.

  1. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents.
  2. Traffic accidents are on the rise due to distracted driving, largely influenced by increased smartphone use.
  3. The majority of distracted driving incidents are caused by cell phone use.
  4. Distracted driving causes more than 3,000 deaths per year.
  5. Distracted driving causes about 400,000 injuries per year.
  6. Distracted driving causes almost one million accidents per year.
  7. A person who texts and drives is 5–6 times as likely to have a crash than a drunk driver.” – Housegrail

In response, big tech has pursued the ideal of self-driving cars controlled by wireless signals, which is one highly- touted justification for the demand for 5G, (along with remote surgeries. The benefits of tele-health which could be hard-wired have been conflated with the benefits of wireless and 5G. As they say on Sesame Street, “one of these things is not like the other.”)

Missed Calls and Poor Connectivity Reign in the Wireless Realm Too

In contrast to the report of the family that died in a storm in Louisiana, ostensibly due to lack of broadband, a very different story unfolded in our local community a few years back.

Rescuers were combing the woods overnight for a young man who became disoriented while trying to find his way home through the woods in the dark, in cold and wet mid-winter weather. He had reportedly attempted to call his brother for a ride, but his brother ignored the call. The community was shattered when the young man was found, deceased, with inadequate clothing for the conditions, near home.

His brother and family live with the profound grief and regret of a call that was ignored, yet society has launched a paradigm that has fostered the need for this behavior.

In the 1950’s, a late-night call to a landline phone would most likely have been answered, and households did not make themselves unavailable, nor did the phone run out of battery charge.

Automation Also Kills

The nightmare of an elderly Minnesota man who froze to death in his home in 2009 because of a pre-pay meter could have served as an indictment of automation in the utility sector.

Michigan man, 93, freezes to death after city cuts off electricity – World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org)

The “limiter” is a punitive device designed to compel homeowners to pay their bills. It is equipped with a switch-like circuit breaker that completely shuts off the power supply should the household surpass the established voltage level. This is what happened to Schur.

City officials say homeowners can go outside and reset the devices to allow limited electricity to flow again. But they acknowledged that there was no personal contact with Schur to instruct him how to reset the device. Neighbors also noted that Schur was hard of hearing and suffered from some form of dementia.  [ ]

The city’s electric department director, Phil Newston, told the Bay City Times that the city currently has 60 to 70 limiters installed across the city, about three times the number in use last year, and that the city sends out about 50 shutoff notices per week. He attributed the increase to the economic crisis.

Pre-pay meters and remote turn-off switches are a symptom of systemic inequity and poverty inherent in the supposed “smart grid,” and not a “solution.”

Meanwhile, the wireless “ecosystem” itself is a grotesque consumer of energy and resources.

Energy Consumption of 5G, Wireless Systems and the Digital Ecosystem – Environmental Health Trust (ehtrust.org)

Instead of investor-owned utility companies installing wireless smart utility meters with planned obsolescence that can be used to remotely shut down power (or be hacked), (and load shedding that is now commonplace in countries like S. Africa), society could prioritize access to essential services including heat and water as a human right.

Regulations like the infamous the Telecom Act of 1996 have instead prioritized the rights of the industry, over health and the environment.

This is obscene.

The unexamined assumption that more broadband and more cellular services is a panacea for safety is grotesquely delusional, especially as evidence of harm to human health and the environment and “climate” caused by wireless continues to mount.

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at some more red flags, not yet scrutinized sufficiently, about the hammer/ nail relationship between wireless and humanity’s head and heart.

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