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Laser Painting Could Lead to 25-Year Prison Term

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the too-bright-therefore-not-so-bright dept.

The Courts 1615

lowy writes "According to this USA Today article, a New Jersey man was charged under federal anti-terrorism laws with shining a laser beam at a jet flying over his home. The Feds arrested him after he flashed a police helicopter searching for the source of the beam. He now faces up to 25 years in prison under Patriot Act charges." It seems to be happening around the country, as our earlier post makes clear.

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ummm.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267169)

link to the usatoday story, please?

Re:ummm.... (5, Informative)

dmauro (742353) | about 10 years ago | (#11267209)

Re:ummm.... (-1, Offtopic)

defMan (175410) | about 10 years ago | (#11267292)

I see USA Today upgraded to a better site today. That would make it "Stuff that matters".

Only 25 years? (1, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | about 10 years ago | (#11267172)

So trying to blind pilots in order to cause their aircraft to crash will only net you 25 years?

Am I the only one here who thinks that's letting them off kind of easy? I mean, if I were to shoot a SAM at an airliner and get caught, I think I'd probably be looking at more than 25 years even if it missed. In both cases, the intention and the potential outcome are the same...

Re:Only 25 years? (4, Insightful)

word munger (550251) | about 10 years ago | (#11267210)

Well, trying to kill someone generally nets you less than that. I assume if you actually succeeded you'd get a bit more than 25 years.

Re:Only 25 years? (1)

ScruffyScrode (812789) | about 10 years ago | (#11267212)

I seriously doubt the man had the intention of taking down an aircraft with his daughter.

Re:Only 25 years? (4, Funny)

mmkkbb (816035) | about 10 years ago | (#11267346)

Well, it's certainly hard enough to throw a little girl hard enough to bring down an airplane no matter how strong you are.

Re:Only 25 years? (5, Funny)

jim5272 (541006) | about 10 years ago | (#11267228)

I think there is a big difference between hitting a plane with an industrial type laser, and screwing around with your laserpointer. Check it out I'm Luke Skywalker .. bbbzzzzzeeeewwww, oh crap was that a POLICE helicopter?

Re:Only 25 years? (2, Informative)

trentblase (717954) | about 10 years ago | (#11267347)

Well, this was a $100 laser... not exactly your average keychain laserpointer. Also, the plane was on approach.

Re:Only 25 years? (4, Insightful)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | about 10 years ago | (#11267237)

Considering how windshields on airplanes are on the top of the plane, shining lasers at them probably won't blind them, and they won't crash.

But it's the same as pointing a laser pointer at a itchy trigger finger cop.

The guy shouldn't get 25 years, he obviously isn't a terrorist. But i'm now unpatriotic for thinking so.

Re:Only 25 years? (1)

Karmic Debt (772032) | about 10 years ago | (#11267245)

Uh .. Yeah, I think that's kind of harsh. Besides, there weren't any complaints about the pilots being blinded by the lasers but rather, consern that the laser could represent someone aiming at the plain with a gun.

Re:Only 25 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267334)

The pilots reported being temporarily blinded. That counts as a complaint and something that should result in a severe penalty.

Re:Only 25 years? (5, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 10 years ago | (#11267281)

There are two possibilities. One is that there was intent to blind pilots and cause aircraft to crash, in which case 25 years sounds pretty light to me. Life imprisonment would be appropriate for attempted, premeditated mass murder.

The other possibility is that it was a stupid, stupid person who wasn't really thinking about the consequences of what they were doing at the time and there was no premeditated intent to cause a plane to crash. If that is the case, I think 25 years is a bit extreme.

In any case, hopefully a jury will figure out what the case was - as long as it doesn't go before a secret court with hearings closed to the public, then I'm happy.

Re:Only 25 years? (1)

bmongar (230600) | about 10 years ago | (#11267365)

A jury? Well he could be declared an illegal combatant and denied all rights, including being charged. Then he could just be held indefinately.

Re:Only 25 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267376)

The guy did something that has no other purpose than to try and blind pilots and make them think they are under attack by terrorists. Stupid is besides the point. What, did they let Scott Peterson go because he was too stupid to come up with a decent alibi?

Re:Only 25 years? (1)

jest3r (458429) | about 10 years ago | (#11267293)

Unless the passenger airliner was doing a barrel-roll I am not sure how you could blind the pilot from the ground ..

In any event I think they should come down just as hard, or harder, on kids who shine laser pens on movie theater screens ..

Re:Only 25 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267335)

The pilots saw the laser in the cockpit. Obviously, he was able to target the windows.

He intentionally did something which could cause a plane crash. End of story.

Re:Only 25 years? (2, Insightful)

douthitb (714709) | about 10 years ago | (#11267343)

Did you see what his excuse for pointing the laser in the cockpit was? He said he was looking at stars with his daughter, and it "accidentally" pointed into an airplane's cockpit.

Am I missing something here? Can someone please explain to me how to use a laser pointer to look at stars?

Re:Only 25 years? (5, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | about 10 years ago | (#11267373)

OK, I can see giving him more time. He was trying to do something that could have had a very dangerous outcome if he succeeded.

But they're talking now about outlawing lasers to the general public?!?! Huh? Because they can be used for this?

OK, outlaw them. They have the slight chance of maybe blinding one of the pilots on approach. (again, another Tom Clancy scenario in a book about using an ultra bright light to bring down an approaching airliner...just like in the same book a 747 pilot crashed his plane into the Capital building in Washington...but I digress......)

But if they could do this, why not outlaw all guns and rifles in the US! I mean, couldn't THESE be used on approaching and departing airliners? A 460 Weatherby Magnum rifle could do some serious damage...maybe bust open a fuel tank if aimed with any degree of accuracy. I mean, if you're going to outlaw a 10 dollar laser pointer, shouldn't a high-powered rifle be in the same boat?

But no no...can't do that can we! We have the NRA...there is no National Laser Association lobby group in Washington looking out for our right to keep and bear lasers!

(is it bear or bare...I can never remember)

Was he intending to bring the airliner down? (0, Redundant)

raehl (609729) | about 10 years ago | (#11267392)

Or was just just chronically stupid?

I'd vote for the later.

Re:Only 25 years? (1)

duncangough (530657) | about 10 years ago | (#11267393)

It's positively Darwinian - gene pool safety in action, right before our eyes. That's 25 years where the bored and action/consequence-less people in society will have a chance to breed :)

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267175)


Typo in story line (1)

awacs (706692) | about 10 years ago | (#11267179)

"Painting" should be "pointing."

Re:Typo in story line (1)

ScruffyScrode (812789) | about 10 years ago | (#11267266)

Especially since laser painting is usually a reference to "painting" a target with an infra-red beam, so that it may be accurately bombed.

Re:Typo in story line (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | about 10 years ago | (#11267286)

No necessarily....many times when you shine a laser at a target it is refered to as "painting the target"

Re:Typo in story line (1)

DigitalCrackPipe (626884) | about 10 years ago | (#11267304)

"Painting" should be "pointing."

Nope. "Painting" is the term used for 'painting a target', such as used with smart bombs and sniper rifles. It's used for targeting, and considering the anti-terrorism topic this use of the word is still fairly relevant.

Re:Typo in story line (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | about 10 years ago | (#11267321)

"Painting" should be "pointing."

Phew. That clears it up for me. A few years ago, I saw some video from the process car manufacturers use to paint their cars. They use lasers to guide large spray painting machines over the body of the unfinished car. I guess it helps in defining how much of each color to spray the car.

That incorrect headline gave me the visual of someone using 10 or 12 lasers around the outside of their house in order to guide some massive spray painting machine.

RTFA? (4, Funny)

defMan (175410) | about 10 years ago | (#11267180)

I know we don't read the articles but to stop linking to them is not making it easier.

25 years? (0)

CypherXero (798440) | about 10 years ago | (#11267181)

Wow, that...is not right.

Re:25 years? (2, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about 10 years ago | (#11267275)

Seems to me you have to try pretty hard to laser an airplane cockpit from the ground. I find it hard to believe he wasn't trying to do exactly that. 25 years might be harsh, but stupidity is expensive. You should avoid it.

Re:25 years? (2, Interesting)

I8TheWorm (645702) | about 10 years ago | (#11267350)

The case hasn't even appeared in court. It's just that this action seems to fall under the Patriot Act, according to the prosecutors. The beauty of our judicial system (though not infallible) is that he gets his day in court. If the judge is a reasonable person, this man will either be acquited or get probation to be made an example of.

Re:25 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267354)

Blinding an aircraft pilot is tantamount to attempting to crash the aircraft. That translates into multiple counts of attempted murder at worst. If the charge were that severe, he'd be looking at a lot more than 25 years. As it stands, he's getting off light for his blatant attempt to cause serious harm to others.

And please don't start going on about how he was just playing around and it was a harmless prank. Sure, it's all fun and games until a plane full of people comes careening to the ground at 600mph. A harmless prank that kills people is a crime. So is a harmless prank that attempts to kill people, albeit a less severe one.

That's federal pound me in the ass prison. (2, Funny)

glrotate (300695) | about 10 years ago | (#11267182)

Doesn't sound like fun anymore, does it?

Re:That's federal pound me in the ass prison. (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | about 10 years ago | (#11267367)

Doesn't sound like fun anymore, does it?

Rocco: I'm in prison for kidnapping, murder and armed robbery. What are you in for?
Laser Guy: Well, I pointed a laser at a plane.

Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267183)

So are laserlight shows considered terrorist acts now?

RTFA (3, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | about 10 years ago | (#11267185)

For once, everyone will have an excuse for not RTFA.

well.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267186)

Why was he doing this in the first place? If he had malicious intent then he deserves to go to jail but if he was just screwing around I think a small fine and some community service is in order

no link? (1)

Ransak (548582) | about 10 years ago | (#11267188)

The post mentions a USA Today story, but where's the link?

Paranoia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267191)



Motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267192)

I would really like to know what he was thinking.

Re:Motive (5, Funny)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | about 10 years ago | (#11267244)

" I would really like to know what he was thinking."

I'm pretty sure he wasn't.

RTFM (4, Informative)

fembots (753724) | about 10 years ago | (#11267194)

here [usatoday.com]

Re:RTFM (2, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | about 10 years ago | (#11267289)

RTFM? What Fucking Manual?

Thanks for the link BTW.

Re:RTFM (2, Funny)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | about 10 years ago | (#11267322)

After being taken to an FBI office and given a lie-detector test, Banach said he had hit the jet with the beam, court documents say.

Ok, weird. I would like way, way more information than was provided in this sentence.

During questioning by the FBI, Banach showed an agent his laser. After the agent switched it on, Banach warned him "not to shine the laser in his eyes because it could blind him," the court documents say.


Oh hell... (1)

beacher (82033) | about 10 years ago | (#11267196)

Now my lazer tag equipment is criminal and my AOL CDRom chainmail can get me in trouble too!

When lasers are outlawed.. only outlaws will have .. sharks.. with frickin laser beams on their head!

Shades of Tom Clancy (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 10 years ago | (#11267198)

Something similar happened in one of his later books (Debt of Honor IIRC) except it was an extremely bright flash light that blinded pilots just as they were landing.

Shit book, but a plausible idea nonetheless.

effff peeee!!!11!one!!1 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267207)

g to the oatse [goat.cx]
c to the izzex

for shizzle my nizzle, Timothy sure sucks lol.

if a kid do(play) that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267213)

what gov will do?

Laser Painting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267214)

Yes, trying to crash a plane can lead to 25 years in jail. IMHO it should lead to 100 years in jail.

Here's the missing story link (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267215)

USA Today Story [usatoday.com]

blink (1)

NthDegree256 (219656) | about 10 years ago | (#11267216)

I initially misread the title as "Laser Printing Could Lead to 25-Year Prison Term."

Needless to say, I was more than a little bewildered.

Re:blink (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | about 10 years ago | (#11267270)

Lol, at least I wasn't the only one to read it that way.

Re:blink (1)

Janitha (817744) | about 10 years ago | (#11267306)

Your not the only one, took me a while to realize it was not printing as well.

If.... (1)

csmacd (221163) | about 10 years ago | (#11267317)

Maybe, if you were printing $100 bills.

sonu - call me (0, Offtopic)

jsidhu (212098) | about 10 years ago | (#11267217)

.Sonu, call kar de yar...please...

How appropiate . . . (2, Funny)

Kaimelar (121741) | about 10 years ago | (#11267219)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

"Hmmm . . . new article on Slashdot, think I'll check the comments . . . Argggh! My eyes! I can't see anything!!"

Re:How appropiate . . . (1)

viktor (11866) | about 10 years ago | (#11267295)

"Hmmm . . . new article on Slashdot, think I'll check the comments . . . Argggh! My eyes! I can't see anything!!"

Oh, stop whining... Nobody has even mentioned how the pilots wouldn't have been blinded, the laser owner not found, and, if he was, not arrested, had only everybody been running Linux.


You mean this article? (4, Informative)

thegrommit (13025) | about 10 years ago | (#11267223)

The slashdot story is missing the link [usatoday.com] . No comment about the editor who posted it.

This article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267224)

According to this USA Today article

Is this as in "man, I was like reading this article, and like, the laser thing, you know..."

Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267226)

Laser printing != shining laser at aircraft

Moronic title for post...

Re:Moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267276)


Laser Painting...

Moronic comment for thread.

USA Today article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267227)

Where's the USA Today article you speak of?
Not that anyone will RTFA, but at least include the option...

Here's the link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267230)

...since the story omitted it.

NJ Man Charged with Aiming Laser at Aircraft [usatoday.com]

hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267231)

Apparently this guy had a little more than a standard pen laser.

But I was thinking, how easy is it to aim from 11 i away, 3000 feet up and have the intensity still be enough to "temporarily blind".

Plus the angle from the ground up, especially if landing, seems even more impossible. Something odd about these reports.

Re:hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267387)

The article says he was charged with "distracting" the pilots. I have a friend who's father is an airline pilot, if its against the law to "distract" the pilot then the pilots themselves should all be in jail from his stories of cockpit goings on.

Eh (1)

cube00 (524394) | about 10 years ago | (#11267232)

So what actually happened? Was he purposefully shining the laser at the aircraft or was he making some picture in the sky with the laser. Laser painting. Batmans new symbol generator.

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267316)

So what actually happened?

Nobody will ever really know, except maybe the frickin' shark, who is still at large.

where is the link to the article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267240)

and this first post thing is ridiculous. how can you form an opinion when you haven't read the article?

Link to article... (1)

mszeto (133525) | about 10 years ago | (#11267241)

For those who need a link to the article since the story doesn't seem to have it, here it is:

USA Today Story [usatoday.com]

I hate Slashdot so much...... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267247)

Really. It's so fucking lame these days. What happened to "News for Nerds?" Now it's "News for Liberals, Hippies, and Paraniods...."

Burn (1)

Janitha (817744) | about 10 years ago | (#11267251)

On the bright side, so many more things to do with a laser than pointing at air planes and stuff. Strange how you wont be put into 25 years of prison if you point it straight at someone's eye. Now back to pointing at people and burning them from a distant.

confused (1)

Zims Manson (629080) | about 10 years ago | (#11267252)

a New Jersey man was charged under federal anti-terrorism laws with shining a laser beam at a jet

The Feds arrested him after he flashed a police helicopter

So was it a jet or a helicopter?

Movies (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 10 years ago | (#11267253)

Hopefully this is the same for jerks doing it at movie theaters. God that's annoying.

Seriously though, I'm kind of glad. IF someone is aiming anything stronger than a laser pointer at plains and trying to interfere with the landing, they deserve more than a slap on the wrist.

If it's one thing the idiot should know is that we're not going to screw around with our airplanes anymore. Mess with them, and find yourself in pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Re:Movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267359)

I have to agree with the parent on the obviousness of not messing around with any form of airplane. But recently there was a couple in Philadelphia, who actually thought it was a good idea to call in a bomb scare at the Philadelphia International Airport because the woman was going to miss the flight... that speaks volumes towards the our collective intellect.

What a moron (2, Funny)

rlthomps-1 (545290) | about 10 years ago | (#11267256)

I like how he lit up the police helicopter which led to his arrest. I mean, with all the flap about this, he HAD to know that police were looking for the guy doing it.

I wonder if just finished a grand theft auto marathon before going to "look at the stars"

Blame the media.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267257)

they are the ones who "broke" this idiotic story about laser beams in cockpits. What did they expect?? Now every uncreative wingnut has a new idea to try out. I wish the FBI and the Media had a bit more common sense about these "omg! terrist!" warnings.

"Laser printing could lead to 25-year prison term" (3, Funny)

g0at (135364) | about 10 years ago | (#11267264)

and I'm thinking wtf, the pro-collusion bent of American law is really getting out of hand here; now they're forcing people to buy overpriced ink cartridges?



A bit harsh, but (2, Insightful)

beforewisdom (729725) | about 10 years ago | (#11267268)

25 years is a bit harsh, but OTOH I don't want people distracting aircraft pilots as the article I read said this guy did.

Fine the hell out of him and give him a year in jail

Not terrorism.... (1)

multriha (206019) | about 10 years ago | (#11267273)

"The Feds arrested him after he flashed a police helicopter searching for the source of the beam."

The guy should get life for stupidity. After all the news about the Feds trying to track down the people pointing laser pointers at planes, he goes and points one at a police helicopter. How stupid can you get?

Okay. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | about 10 years ago | (#11267277)

Before all the contrarians come out. It's just a huge coincidence that he flashed airplanes and then a helicopter? It's very assy of him, but I'm not sure if it's 25 years in prison assy.

Sensationalism at its finest! (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 10 years ago | (#11267287)

I would have copy/pasted from the USA Today article but at the time I read it the link was unavailable on the main page so from this [freep.com] article at the Detroit Free Press:

On Friday, a helicopter carrying Port Authority detectives was hit by a laser beam as its crew surveyed the area to try to pinpoint the origin of the first beam.

I just love the wording they chose to describe the stupidity... "hit by a laser beam". They make it seem like the dude was firing a laser gun at them and harming the helicopter. Ugh. Yeah, pointing a laser pointer at a flying aircraft is dumb and it's unnecessary but to attempt to make it sound like some physical damage could have been done by the laser is just sensationalism.

Some of you think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267294)

that 25 years is not enough time.
Suppose that one of your loved ones was on a plane that crashed due to idiots like this guys shining laser beams at planes? You'd want the death penalty, as would I, but only after 10 years of chain-gang labor and being told that you will be executed every day.

Re:Some of you think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267353)

No, I wouldn't.

Your Rights Online? (5, Insightful)

Matt - Duke '05 (321176) | about 10 years ago | (#11267299)

I think it is high-time that the "Your Rights Online" section be renamed to "Paranoid Rantings About The Eeeevilness Of Organized Government By Slashdot's Editors." Although michael is almost always the culprit behind such stories, I guess timothy is now just as guilty.

It is amazing how often the stories in this section have little, if anything, to do with rights "online." What's even more interesting is how incredibly infrequently the alleged "rights" being violated in these stories are ever anything of the sort - namely "rights."

If you truly believe that you have some sort of God-given/Constitutionally-mandated right to shine a high-powered laser into the cockpit of a 747, then you truly need a reality check.

Re:Your Rights Online? (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | about 10 years ago | (#11267370)

Nah, that name'll never catch on. The acronym PRATEOOGBSE just doesn't roll off the tongue.

Is he a terrorist? (2, Insightful)

cyberguyd (50420) | about 10 years ago | (#11267309)

I think the government has gone too far with this terrorism thing. I think that in order to be charged under the Patriot Act, the intent of committing terrorism should be proven. This does not mean that I don't think he should be punished for what he did, but this law is so broad that a bank robber could be charged under the Patriot Act for terrorizing the customers and employees. Terrorism is performed on mass scale, not on handfull of people.

The sentence sounds about right. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267313)

Isn't that about what you'd get if you used a laser to burn pirated CDs? I'm sure that bringing down a jet is very nearly as bad.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267319)

Here's the reason that Your Rights Online has lost all credibility. The headline (aside from the mispelling) is very misleading. This is a laser pointer being shined in the eyes of a pilot, which could lead to the loss of hundreds of lives. The prison term might be slighlty too long, but it should be punished. Also, he did it at least twice and lied to federal authorities about it.

It's a shame that Slashdot has ruined a great subject such online rights. It's an important subject, but Slashdot's treatment of it has caused me to not take any of these postings seriously.

My rights online? (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | about 10 years ago | (#11267323)

And this relate sto my rights online how?

Was this guy using a laptop while pointing a laser at the plane, or what?

Aside from that - I could care less what this guy gets. Even if I agree with the posters claiming that the pilot could obviously not see the laser - anyone who is flashing a laser pointer off at a POLICE HELICOPTER these days is obviously a complete idiot/jackass. To me this is natural selection in action.

Does not feel right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267330)

25 years seems like the poor chmo get's hammered for
freaking out the pilot without causing any real damage.
They might just buy 19.95 laser protective gogles at Home Depot.

Is this a good trend? (4, Insightful)

redwoodtree (136298) | about 10 years ago | (#11267331)

We're basically now arresting and locking up stupid people. Maybe this is a good trend, but honestly, before "terrorism" this guy would just get a slap on the wrist.

Now, because we're at war a simple act of (admitedly dangerous) stupidity will get you facing the patriot act.

Hmm.. maybe this isn't such a bad thing. I wonder if they can arrest the guy who weaves down the freeway lane-hopping and tail gaiting under the patriot act too, he treathens my life every day.

Any Excuse to Say "We're Tough on Terror" (5, Insightful)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 10 years ago | (#11267332)

This says it all::

Justice Department officials said they do not suspect terrorism in any of the cases, but said Banach's arrest shows how seriously they take the matter.

Back on 9/11, one of my biggest fears was not that terrorists would somehow feel that I was worth picking out of a crowd, but that my government would joyously tear up what remained of the Bill of Rights in an overzealous, misguided attempt to appear to be "doin' sumthin' about terrorism".

I am very sad to see myself proved right.. almost on a daily basis.

Slashdot Bias for Nerds. Stuff that's Misleading (0, Offtopic)

Oz0ne (13272) | about 10 years ago | (#11267336)

Slashdot is still one of the best places for techy news, however every other category seems to be going to crap.

Most everything listed is on fark about 4-12 hours earlier. When it finally gets on to slashdot, it's got a very FUD bias. This summary for example, fails to mention that the man being sentenced admitted he did this on purpose. 25 years seems fine to me.

I know this is to make things more interesting/sensational, but really: Isn't the audience of slashdot supposed to be those above average? Geeks. People who pride themselves on their minds... not drama, sensationalism, etc?

Or am I completely wrong, and the slashdot audience has become the lowest common denominator. If that's the case it makes sense to spew out FUD like this every day to get them riled up about their rights... even when there ISNT any danger to them?

What happened to real reporting?

laser to the stars? (1)

bombardius (522804) | about 10 years ago | (#11267339)

"She said her client was playing with his young daughter, using the laser's narrow green beam to point at stars..."

Am i missing something? How does this work? It's pretty obvious to me that the daughter wouldn't be able to see the dot on a star.

So how does someone do this? (1)

jj_johny (626460) | about 10 years ago | (#11267348)

Maybe I missed the point. How does someone aim a laser into a cockpit unless they have a laser sight on their rifle with a high powered scope and are using the scope to aim the thing? OK so you may not need the rifle but you do need the scope and laser combo, which I don't really get as a smart thing to do with an airplane or other place where people don't have eye protection.

Good (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | about 10 years ago | (#11267356)

At least 25 years...

A few things to consider (1)

Kenrod (188428) | about 10 years ago | (#11267366)

25 years sounds harsh because the guy was just screwing around. But the truth is the Feds have to make an example of this guy because going easy on him will not effectively deter other morons from doing this. The FBI has enough to do without tracking down legions of dipshits.

What kind of person would do something like this? (1)

Meangenetic (823292) | about 10 years ago | (#11267379)

25 years sounds fair enough, he even shined it at the helicopter that was searching the area for him. But what really gets me is what sort of person would shine a laser at any type of aircraft in the sky? Common sense seems to be only for the gifted nowadays.

Why this is creepy to me (3, Interesting)

jabber01 (225154) | about 10 years ago | (#11267384)

There is precedent, albeit tenuous, that the only purpose of certain kinds of equipment, or even logic (DeCSS anyone), is to do unlawful and criminal things with it.

Now, I'll grant that there are many reasons for owning laser pointers. Specifically, if you have a cat, it is a patented means of delivering exercise to the feline.

However... With datamining, if you buy diesel fuel, fertilizer, and now a laser pointer, you can end up on a watch list which you could avoid if you did not buy a cat toy.

Interesting, but irrelevant quote: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11267391)

After the agent switched it on, Banach warned him "not to shine the laser in his eyes because it could blind him," the court documents say.

Looking into any kind of focused light will cause damage to the eye. A cop tried to turn it on, and the guy tried to warn him of potential harm. The article makes it sound like this was some kind of deadly weapon (please, no fricken' sharks jokes). Conversely, his explanation was that he was shining them at stars. Like you can see any kind of reflection from shining a laser at a star. Ok, maybe a tree or the neighbor's house, but that's still a little sketchy.

The moral of this story: Don't be an idiot.
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