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Unappreciated while still alive
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This is really bad for us. First will be the ban on lasers. More importantly is the continued emphasis that citizens can't be trusted with dangerous things.
 

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Well, when they make the punishment actually fit the crime, then maybe it will stop.

Find the turds that are doing it, and blind them in one eye. That should do it, but that of course will never happen.
I agree that the problem is that the punishment does not fit the crime (and the the people doing it are indeed turds).

I see the word "blinded" in all sorts of sensationalist headlines, and I see reporters spouting about how laser pointers are capable of causing "permanent vision loss". But it's all a load of BS.

I challenge you to find a credible account of a commercial or civil aviation pilot who has suffered any form of long-term (not even necessarily permanent) vision damage directly caused by a laser pointer aimed at a cockpit windshield. You will not find such an account, because it does not (physically cannot) exist!

The issue here is that laser pointers are limited to 5mw output. At several hundred feet (because even during takeoff and landing, a laser cannot get much closer than that to a cockpit), the beam pattern is sufficiently diffused to be comparable to the output of a flashlight, and more importantly, the incident light is significantly dimmer than the incident light on a sunny day.

OMFG, I saw the sun in the sky today! Am I going to go blind?!? Well gee, I wonder why that doesn't make headlines every day. You see we have two natural defenses to this everyday blinding ball of laser like light in the sky. First, we've got eyelids that close when the eye is overwhelmed with painful light. Second, we look away. The blink response is usually sufficient.

Now in the case of welding light (in the form of UV, or in another case, infrared lasers), the blink response is not sufficient to protect the eye, but laser pointers emit light of a single frequency (ok in theory, frequency doubled green lasers with a particular manufacturing defect can emit dangerous IR, but that's not a common occurence), and those frequencies are in the visible range, hence they elicit the blink response. And invisible lasers are not sold as laser pointers (plus the lack of visible beam or spot kind of kills the fun in owning them, and they're not exactly easy to aim at a plane either).

So what's all the hubbub about? Well, unlike a flashlight, a laser can dazzle a pilot whose eyes are already acclimated to the dark (during the day, the laser light is far too dim to be visible). It may be bright enough to make you temporarily lose your night vision (though going so far as to say you were "blinded" by this is pretty disingenuous). Since most of these strikes would happen during landing, it seems reasonable enough to conclude that this presents a potensial danger to the flight. The FAA reported that there were nearly 4000 laser strikes on commercial flights in 2013 (the number came from a CNN report), though claims are that most strikes go unreported and uncounted. And that's JUST in the US.

In the middle east, the problem is much more serious. From what I've read, it is normal that every flight landing in Cairo for example is hit by dozens, or even hundreds of lasers at the same time. Apparently shining lasers on planes is a thing they do there for fun. Videos I've seen make it look like a landing plane is a freaking laser light show.

But after all of these hundreds of thousands of incidents, no plane has ever crashed due to a laser pointer.

Now to be fair, there are handheld laser devices that ARE capable of blinding pilots. And there are accounts of military pilots who have been blinded by laser weapons. But laser POINTERS are no more of a threat than scary black weapons.
 

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I am amazed that the light is even visible. Dust and pollen will disperse/breakup the light beam. I have watched this happen with CO2 lasers when the beam purge fails.
 

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I agree that the problem is that the punishment does not fit the crime (and the the people doing it are indeed turds).

I see the word "blinded" in all sorts of sensationalist headlines, and I see reporters spouting about how laser pointers are capable of causing "permanent vision loss". But it's all a load of BS.

I challenge you to find a credible account of a commercial or civil aviation pilot who has suffered any form of long-term (not even necessarily permanent) vision damage directly caused by a laser pointer aimed at a cockpit windshield. You will not find such an account, because it does not (physically cannot) exist!

The issue here is that laser pointers are limited to 5mw output. At several hundred feet (because even during takeoff and landing, a laser cannot get much closer than that to a cockpit), the beam pattern is sufficiently diffused to be comparable to the output of a flashlight, and more importantly, the incident light is significantly dimmer than the incident light on a sunny day.

OMFG, I saw the sun in the sky today! Am I going to go blind?!? Well gee, I wonder why that doesn't make headlines every day. You see we have two natural defenses to this everyday blinding ball of laser like light in the sky. First, we've got eyelids that close when the eye is overwhelmed with painful light. Second, we look away. The blink response is usually sufficient.

Now in the case of welding light (in the form of UV, or in another case, infrared lasers), the blink response is not sufficient to protect the eye, but laser pointers emit light of a single frequency (ok in theory, frequency doubled green lasers with a particular manufacturing defect can emit dangerous IR, but that's not a common occurence), and those frequencies are in the visible range, hence they elicit the blink response. And invisible lasers are not sold as laser pointers (plus the lack of visible beam or spot kind of kills the fun in owning them, and they're not exactly easy to aim at a plane either).

So what's all the hubbub about? Well, unlike a flashlight, a laser can dazzle a pilot whose eyes are already acclimated to the dark (during the day, the laser light is far too dim to be visible). It may be bright enough to make you temporarily lose your night vision (though going so far as to say you were "blinded" by this is pretty disingenuous). Since most of these strikes would happen during landing, it seems reasonable enough to conclude that this presents a potensial danger to the flight. The FAA reported that there were nearly 4000 laser strikes on commercial flights in 2013 (the number came from a CNN report), though claims are that most strikes go unreported and uncounted. And that's JUST in the US.

In the middle east, the problem is much more serious. From what I've read, it is normal that every flight landing in Cairo for example is hit by dozens, or even hundreds of lasers at the same time. Apparently shining lasers on planes is a thing they do there for fun. Videos I've seen make it look like a landing plane is a freaking laser light show.

But after all of these hundreds of thousands of incidents, no plane has ever crashed due to a laser pointer.

Now to be fair, there are handheld laser devices that ARE capable of blinding pilots. And there are accounts of military pilots who have been blinded by laser weapons. But laser POINTERS are no more of a threat than scary black weapons.
While I agree with a lot of your points, you need to realize you're making an ASSUMPTION that it is a Laser Pointer being used, and not something from a basement workshop... It is VERY easy to produce one that will burn a retina before the blink reflex even begins. (there's the problem with the blink reflex - the retina has to be hit to trigger the reflex)
5mw might be a commercial pointer limit - but I assure you 10-20-30+ are not hard to come by.
 

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While I agree with a lot of your points, you need to realize you're making an ASSUMPTION that it is a Laser Pointer being used, and not something from a basement workshop... It is VERY easy to produce one that will burn a retina before the blink reflex even begins. (there's the problem with the blink reflex - the retina has to be hit to trigger the reflex)
5mw might be a commercial pointer limit - but I assure you 10-20-30+ are not hard to come by.
Agreed. And that's a different story. But you can rest assured that very nearly all of these events are with laser pointers that are very nearly harmless.
 

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While I agree with a lot of your points, you need to realize you're making an ASSUMPTION that it is a Laser Pointer being used, and not something from a basement workshop... It is VERY easy to produce one that will burn a retina before the blink reflex even begins. (there's the problem with the blink reflex - the retina has to be hit to trigger the reflex)
5mw might be a commercial pointer limit - but I assure you 10-20-30+ are not hard to come by.
Yes I had the unfortunate experience of looking at one in The Silk Market and Beijing. The vendor shined it at the floor. The reflection back in my eyes hurt for a week.
 

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Yes I had the unfortunate experience of looking at one in The Silk Market and Beijing. The vendor shined it at the floor. The reflection back in my eyes hurt for a week.
And in some countries it is considered acceptable to fire light machine guns into the air in celebration. Look, if someone actually owns a dangerous laser, and is dumb enough to point it at a plane, and manages to injure a pilot, I'd be the first in line to stick a fork in his eye.

And if someone though it was acceptable to fire a scary black gun at landing planes (perhaps because they were celebrating their birthday), I'm sure we could all think of appropriate punishments for that.

But right now, we're talking about laser POINTERS being aimed at planes. Yeah, it's a dumb thing to do, but the media is as far off base on this as they are on scary black guns.
 

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Sharp Shooter!
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Yes I had the unfortunate experience of looking at one in The Silk Market and Beijing. The vendor shined it at the floor. The reflection back in my eyes hurt for a week.
You can find/buy almost ANYTHING on eBay from China, so it's just a matter of time.

So, maybe "blinding" the offender is a bit harsh then. how about we just have somebody follow the schmuck around for a month, blasting the moron in the eye every chance we get?

As for the drunk drivers, who cause someone to lose their life, I would say they lose their right to ever drive again. Learn to use mass transit. If you don't live/work close enough to mass transit, too effin bad, move closer. What ever it costs you, it's nothing compared to what you cost your victim.
 

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So, maybe "blinding" the offender is a bit harsh then. how about we just have somebody follow the schmuck around for a month, blasting the moron in the eye every chance we get?

As for the drunk drivers, who cause someone to lose their life, I would say they lose their right to ever drive again. Learn to use mass transit. If you don't live/work close enough to mass transit, too effin bad, move closer. What ever it costs you, it's nothing compared to what you cost your victim.
There ya go. I like that one.

F that. Bicycle.
 

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Lousy Shot
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16,177 Posts
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Seems easy to deal with, just key a MK-82 into the green wavelength and problem solved
I think laser guided bombs are intended to target the reflection, not the source of the laser. Otherwise, you'd have a tough time getting SF operators on the ground to paint targets. At least not for long.

I've never seen one of these high-power green lasers, but they must have a fairly sophisticated aiming system to be able to hit the cockpit of an airliner from a mile or two away. I know when I try using a hand-held laser pointer over a few hundred feet, it shakes like I have Parkison's.
 

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I think laser guided bombs are intended to target the reflection, not the source of the laser. Otherwise, you'd have a tough time getting SF operators on the ground to paint targets. At least not for long.

I've never seen one of these high-power green lasers, but they must have a fairly sophisticated aiming system to be able to hit the cockpit of an airliner from a mile or two away. I know when I try using a hand-held laser pointer over a few hundred feet, it shakes like I have Parkison's.
Someone I know had one......think he paid under $100 on ebay. It's a regular laser pointed that is modified. When I tell you you can point to stars with it, I am not joking. I believe it was winter when I saw it in action and snow was on the ground. Easily put a hole through it if I remember correctly. The beam was solid and not scattered way past a couple miles I will tell you that. I am not really exaggerating when I said you can point out stars with that thing.

This guy has the best toys and finds stuff that simple google searches etc don't find. Not sure how, but he finds the coolest toys. Crazy stuff.
 
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