Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

Patriot Act Used to Indict in Laser Incident

Idiotic, is it not?. They should fine him and let the bastard go. Instead he faces 20 years in prison

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-briefs24.6mar24,1,5245408.story?coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true
Permalink  
March 24th, 2005
This is exactly why I believe that this country is drifting in a fascist/statist direction. The punishment ought to fit the crime. An ordinary schmuck who simply deserves to be (steeply) fined is being set up as an example to would be terrorists.

Zero tolerance sounds great as social engineering because you can make otherwise law abiding citizens scared shitless of doing anything even remotely eccentric.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
March 24th, 2005
What do you mean drifting to a fascist state? Hell, we're already there.
Permalink QADude 
March 24th, 2005
When I was around 6 or 7 the winters were often foggy and often the fog turned to smog so if we were out in the evening we'd have torches.

I was walking home one evening from the shops having done the 'messages' and was idly swinging my torch about, it wasn't foggy and the street lighting was fine. My torch beam caught an oncoming car's windscreen, I may have wanted to point it at it I can't tell.

The driver stopped, got out and dressed me down there in the street then drove off. I was mortified and always kept my torch down on the ground ever after.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 24th, 2005
The guy intentioned blinded a pilot during landing, why is 20 years too harsh? He made a good effort to crash the plane endangering the lives of everyone onboard. Based on the link I view his behavior as kin to putting a bomb on the plane. I'm usually pretty liberal fuck the facists, but what this guy did appears to be dangerous and evil.

Where am I way off base here?
Permalink zed 
March 24th, 2005
Defintely dangerous, but it's hard to prove that he was intentionally blinding the pilots. Everyone who's gotten a laser pointer has tried to see how far it will shoot and still make a visible dot. If I were outside and I saw a plane landing nearby and I had a stromg laser, I'm sure I'd have the urge to point it at the plane. Of course, knowing that it might blind the pilot I would refrain, but it's possible he was too dumb to think of that.

I'm not necessarily defending the guy, just saying that it might have been more innocent than it appears.
Permalink ronk! 
March 24th, 2005
Good points indeed. If we assume he was intending to blind the pilots, which I feel is likely, but hard to prove then 20 years for attempted mass murder seems reasonable. On the other hand, if he is just a moron without malice is his heart, a somewhat lesser sentence for nearly killing a planeload of strangers might be well deserved.
Permalink zed 
March 24th, 2005
"I'm not necessarily defending the guy, just saying that it might have been more innocent than it appears."

Maybe he's stupid. In post 911 America, you best not be pointing lasers at planes. Bubba's gonna be pointing a laser at his ass soon enough.
Permalink ceep 
March 24th, 2005
---"On the other hand, if he is just a moron without malice is his heart, a somewhat lesser sentence for nearly killing a planeload of strangers might be well deserved."----

I rahter feel that moron would more aptly be applied to you adn the prosecutors. Do yeo really think there was even a one in a hundred thousand chance that the guy could have caused a crash.

But then you are probably one of those guys that believe having a mobile phone on at a gas station is an attempt to blow up a whole city block, or that saying you have a sub-machine gun in your violin case when airport security asks you what you have inside it is worthy of being bounced off the plane and hauled before the magistrate.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 24th, 2005
From Salon's "Ask the Pilot" column:
http://archive.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2004/12/17/askthepilot116/

"Owing to our nation's everlasting fixation with terrorism -- real or perceived -- I'm forced to begin this column by talking about something that doesn't deserve half a minute of our time: laser beams."

"For the record, even a well-aimed laser would be highly unlikely to cause a crash. Hitting both pilots cleanly in the face, through a refractive wraparound windshield, would require a great deal of luck, and even a temporarily blinded crew would still have the means to avoid disaster."
Permalink Almost Anonymous 
March 24th, 2005
People point lasers at things all the time. That's why they're called laser pointers.

I don't filter everything I say and do through the lense of September 11th.

I have a laser pointer, which I bought as a cat toy (they love it). It warns against point it in your eye or your cat's eye. Hitting something the size of a dime from several hundred feet away is almost impossible. The sleightest hand movement is magnified by the distance. If he didn't have some sort of scope and steadying mechanism attached to the laser, I find it impossible that he could aim it well enough to hit someone in the eye.

Incidentally, I thought the plane was getting ready to take off, not land. A moving target would be even harder to hit.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 24th, 2005
The guy wasn't trying to blind a pilot; he was pointing out stars to his kid. I can well imagine that it's hard to move your pointer out of the way of a plane flying at hundreds of miles per hour.

...and yet, you'd think that if the plane was moving that fast and it was by accident, the pilots wouldn't even have had time to see the laser or where it came from.
Permalink Kyralessa 
March 24th, 2005
Yeah, because we all know the sky is really just a few miles above the earth and reflects laser light back at the ground...
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 24th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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