In 1954, there was a sudden spate of public paranoia over small pits and pinholes reported on people's car windshields and other surfaces. It's not clear how it all got started; someone reported it and then others chimed in to say their car had it too, and suddenly it became a thing.
It began in Washington State, then swiftly spread like wildfire across the nation. At first the newspaper reports took the matter seriously, and rightly so. Police examining the pits and dings in people's cars recognized the damage as legitimate and not imaginary, and declared it to be the work of vandals. They then had to change their story once it became a nationwide phenomenon.
The official story propagated next was that it was all in everyone's heads. The pits were always in your windshields from natural ordinary wear and tear, they said, and you just never noticed them before until these silly rumors made you go look.
Now, to be sure, many easily-suggestible people probably did just that. But many of the incidents don't fit that simplistic explanation. Florida seemed to be a hotbed for the so-called "Windshield Pox", and was taken very seriously by law enforcement and mainstream media, before the talking-points order apparently came down from above to stop talking about it and call anyone crazy who still wants to talk about it.
Several women in Jacksonville reported finding little burnt pinholes in their laundry they'd hung outside to dry during that fateful Spring of '54. A man in St. Augustine actually claimed to have seen little brown specks all over his windshield, and when he brushed them off, he found tiny indentations each particle had left. And a photojournalist for a St. Petersburg newspaper did an investigation and found serious pockmarks in car glass. Some were parked in an automobile dealer's lot. These cars, aside from the occasional test drive, obviously should not have the "wear and tear" spoken of by the doubters.
Robert P. Crease takes a typically condescending attitude of the phenomena in his book Making Physics, mocking its believers as victims of anti-nuclear mass hysteria:
He then goes on to draw a straw-man-comparison with people who used to call the authorities every time they heard a sonic boom, insisting it must have been a nuclear explosion. But he belies his pro-nuke spin-doctoring when he lays it on a bit too thick in assuring the reader that nuclear reactors are "expertly supervised and carefully monitored", and that the "minimal amount of radioactivity" that has ever leaked in America has been "within safe limits."
What Crease conveniently omits is the undisputed fact that in the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. Government deliberately released radioactive materials into the atmosphere as part of the "testing" of secret military weapons to attack enemy soldiers with radiation.
They didn't just do this once, they did this numerous times, and according to the New York Times, December 16, 1993, "A spokesman for the Los Alamos National Laboratory said the blasts there might have been part of a research program involving some 250 experiments in which radioactive materials were deliberately released into the atmosphere from 1944 to 1961." It also states: "Senator Glenn's interest in the issue was prompted by reports in 1986 of a massive intentional release of radiation from the Hanford nuclear weapons plant in Washington state in 1949."
None of this was known to American citizens until Senator John Glenn demanded all files on the matter be declassified in 1992.
Wikipedia's page on the matter is also typically shillful, labeling it "The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic" and only mentioning nuclear fallout once briefly in passing. The article prefers to focus on the more outlandish claims (which almost no one ever actually made) such as the pits being caused by supernatural gremlins or a shift in the Earth's magnetic field.
The windshield pit stories may or may not all be true, but rationales wielded by agenda-driven debunkers are always false.
All of this doesn't even begin to take into account the hundreds of nuclear bomb tests the U.S. Government set off underground and above-ground in the desert. And then there's other nuke tests done by other countries as well. The amount of radioactive material that mankind - mostly Americans - has released into the environment is staggering. So much so, that even environmentalists often can't truly wrap their head around it.
People ask, "Well, if these nuclear 'hot particles' damaged cars and clothes, why didn't they damage people?" To that, I say, are you sure they didn't?
By the early 20th Century nearly 50% of Americans smoked, but the incidence of lung cancer was so low that it was practically nonexistent. Look at the data for lung cancer and you'll see the line shoots up the graph with an identical trajectory as the incidence of nuclear testing. Read this article about how tobacco has become the scapegoat to hide the U.S. Government's culpability in spreading cancer-causing nuclear radiation to its population, and maybe you'll start to see the big picture.
Or at the very least, you'll start to get an inkling of just how untethered to consensus reality my worldview is.