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posted by Woods on Thursday June 05 2014, @03:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-could-put-an-eye-out-with-that-thing dept.

The FBI has announced that they are expanding their campaign nationwide aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft-by rewarding those who provide information about individuals who engage in this dangerous crime and aggressively prosecuting the perpetrators. A key part of the publicity campaign is reward money. The FBI will offer up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. "We want to encourage people to come forward when they see someone committing this crime, which could have terrible consequences for pilots and their passengers," says George Johnson.

Since the FBI and the FAA began tracking laser strikes in 2005, there has been more than a 1,100 percent increase in the number of incidents with these devices, which can be purchased in stores or online for as little as a few dollars. Last year, 3,960 laser strikes against aircraft were reported. It is estimated that thousands of attacks go unreported every year. In March a 26-year-old California man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for aiming a laser pointer at a police helicopter and a hospital emergency transport helicopter. The man and his girlfriend were using a device that was 13 times more powerful than the permissible power emission level for handheld lasers. The girlfriend was also convicted and recently sentenced to a two-year prison term.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Dunbal on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:08PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:08PM (#51765)

    So when is it going to start to dawn on people that after 3900+ "incidents" and absolutely zero fatalities, crashes or even pilots blinded by lasers, that maybe the "threat" is a little overblown. Yeah ok don't be a jerk and point a laser pointer at a plane. But screaming for the death penalty because that irresponsible fool "might have killed everyone on board the plane and also everyone on the ground" is a little exaggerated too.

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Angry Jesus on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:14PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:14PM (#51769)

    Shutup! You are going to ruin the War on Green Lasers!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05 2014, @04:34PM (#51783)

    Well to be fair to the FBI, 25 mW green lasers are getting cheaper. I don't see the group of criminal delinquents intersecting with the people that buy ~$300 ~1W lasers from Wicked Lasers anytime soon though. So little chance of eye damage, and forget crashing a plane. If Alibaba/whatever put out a cheap 500mW-1W laser we'd probably see bipartisan federal regulation.

  • (Score: 1) by dime on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:54PM

    by dime (1163) on Thursday June 05 2014, @06:54PM (#51842)

    It is overblown, but consider the circumstances. Imagine you're carrying a box while walking across a tightrope.
    The box itself is worth only a few billion dollars... but inside of it are the lives of 200 men, women, and children.
    Does some fucktard get to point a laser into your eye while you're trying to make it safely across?

    And if you yelled, "Hey, STOP! What you're doing is really dangerous for no reason what so ever.
    You're getting no benefit from this and at the same time potentially endangering the lives of a lot of people."

    Meanwhile, the guy responds "Lasers gonna lase!" and keeps going

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:21PM

      by frojack (1554) on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:21PM (#51856) Journal

      Flying an airplane on final approach is no where near as precarious as a tightrope.

      At the first hint of a laser the pilot dons laser goggles, and makes an instrument landing.

      In Worst Case FAA flight simulator studies with a simulated laser placed at the end of the runway, 25% of test pilots opted to abort the landing and go around.

      In real life, go-arounds for lasers seldom ever happen, and damage to pilots vision is usually fleeting [], and the pilot continues to land the plane.

      Most new legislation on laser use against planes is happening at the state level, not the federal level.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by Oligonicella on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:07PM

    by Oligonicella (4169) on Thursday June 05 2014, @07:07PM (#51850)

    No, it won't permanently blind a pilot. It can however, cause flash blindness [].

    • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Friday June 06 2014, @04:29AM

      by Dunbal (3515) on Friday June 06 2014, @04:29AM (#52068)

      "Can" but probably won't, just like bringing the pilot hot coffee CAN result in 2nd degree burns but probably won't. In fact, show me a case where this has happened.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Friday June 06 2014, @02:33AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday June 06 2014, @02:33AM (#52020) Journal

    To me this smacks of more, "Let's outlaw everything so everyone is guilty of something." The Powers-That-Be are vastly overreaching their authority and no one has brushed them back in a very long time, so they are reaching even further, quicker. While everyone is still reeling from the audacity and mendacity of those they had believed had been elected by them, worked for them, and had their interests in mind, the politicians and titans of industry take it as a sign that they don't even have to pretend to be sneaky when stealing from the cookie jar and have ripped the lid off the sucker, planted both feet in the middle of the kitchen and are pouring the cookies into their mouths while wildly cackling.

    This is the rush toward the end, guys. Lasers pointed at aircraft have never killed anyone. They've never blinded anyone. They've never even made anyone late. People cutting off other people in traffic is far more dangerous, but you don't hear about the FBI putting a $10K bounty on the head of anyone who does that on the interstate, do you? But it sure does add to the smokescreen the authorities are throwing up.

    Washington DC delenda est.