Have you ever looked at a laser pointer and thought: “Goddamn, it would be really funny to hide in the woods in front of a runway with this thing and try to blind grown men responsible for the lives of hundreds?” No? Congratulations! You are not a total idiot and sociopath!
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who apparently slot into both categories, because morons with laser pointers trying to zap people flying in the face has become such a problem, the feds are being called in.
This is not a joke, or if it is the FBI has decided to troll us on their official blog (you may have to scroll down to October 5th, 2012: The FBI’s blog apparently can’t be bothered to offer separate pages for every post):
The number of laser attacks in the U.S. is on the rise. Incidents are projected to reach 3,700 this year—compared to just 283 in 2005. That’s a rise of more than 1,100 percent. And that doesn’t include the thousands of attacks that go unreported every year.
George Johnson, a supervisory federal air marshal who is a liaison officer with the FBI, says the number of attacks is almost reaching an “epidemic level.”
To give you an idea of how incredibly dangerous this is, most laser pointers cause temporary visual impairment if you get a blast to the face. It will only last a few minutes, but the damage caused has the potential to be permanent, and we seriously doubt you would stop punching the guy who risked your life for giggles because the pilot could walk it off.
Essentially, if you’re caught, you’re facing twenty years of jail time and a $250,000 fine under existing laws. We can’t wait for some idiot to get caught and start complaining about his freedom being constrained.