Hugh Pickens writes:
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.
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.