Comment PW Re: So many conflicts


Laser Pointing at Aircraft Increasing


So many conflicts (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2014-03-19 14:30 (#PA)

On the one hand, I'm excited about the fact that I can buy a very powerful laser quite cheaply. On the other hand, I'm terrified that everyone else can buy a powerful laser quite cheaply.

On the one hand, I'm glad that an offense that could lead to a plane crash and loss of many lives is being dealt with. On the other hand, I'm disappointed that it's being used as a cheap way to slap someone the cops didn't like but couldn't directly pin anything to.

On the one hand, pointing lasers at aircraft can be very serious and should be discouraged as actively as possible. On the other hand, 14 years seems like a very long sentence for someone who probably didn't understand that he was doing something so very dangerous.

Re: So many conflicts (Score: 2, Funny)

by on 2014-03-19 16:51 (#PG)

Are you related to Kali?

BTW, what excuse does anyone over 12 have for pointing a laser at anything besides their own eyes, or a whiteboard.. or maybe the floor in front of their cat or dog? I am of course assuming that the guy wasn't developmentally disabled.

Re: So many conflicts (Score: 5, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-19 17:31 (#PK)

FTA: In pleading guilty, Mahaffey admitted he knew it was a crime to point the laser at an aircraft but stated he "just can't help himself from doing stupid things."

That's not the current genius talking, but another brilliant fuckwad who decided to make the shiny on something far up in the sky. He only got 21 months. The guy this post is about, with the 14 year sentence, also sounds like he might have an impulse control problem, though - the article mentions multiple previous criminal convictions. The lawyer tried a "didn't know any better" defense, but it probably didn't play well due to the previous convictions.

I'd like to see some actual data: how many of those laser strikes do result in moments of blindness? Nearly 4000 known events last year, but I don't remember any headlines like "Plane brought down because idiot shined a laser at it". I wonder if the law is not because of potential danger to the pilots, but because of a danger to the plane due to false positives. I'd be willing to bet that it's not that hard to detect laser painting, and that some planes, military for sure and possibly civilian, are equipped to do so. In an area where people have rocket launchers, being aware of laser painting is going to make you jump a mile and raise altitude fast. Having an idiot whose pointer looks like the start of a missile attack would become a bigger deal. I have no info on this, though. Anybody?

Re: So many conflicts (Score: 2, Funny)

by on 2014-03-19 22:22 (#PM)

Can't these attacks be ah, foiled by a translucent protective coating on the cockpit window? I'm imaging something similar to the gold coloured reflective helmet visors used by the Apollo astronauts.

Re: So many conflicts (Score: 1, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-20 09:50 (#PW)

If the lasers were all the same wavelength (color) then you could probably make a window that would filter that wavelength. Since they're not, you can't.

If this became a really serious problem then I could see regulating laser pointers to be all the same color, but as the other poster pointed out this doesn't seem to be nearly dangerous enough to be worth the attention (and prison sentences) that it's getting.

If this is such a big deal, why haven't we heard all the stories about car accidents caused by people blinding drivers on the highway?


Time Reason Points Voter
2014-03-20 14:28 Overrated -1
2014-03-20 13:46 Interesting +1

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