Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Beam me up

I don't know if you've been following the recent news stories about laser beams targeting airplanes, accompanied by fears that pilots might be blinded by them and terrorists might be responsible, but here's a little suggestion: If you or someone you know owns a laser pointer, don't be aiming that thing at the sky. Highlighting stars or UFOs with a pen-sized device in your backyard may seem harmless enough, but apparently that light shines way, way up there, and if it hits something, you could be in major trouble. In our area this weekend there was a big story about a police helicopter that, on a mission to find out who shone a laser beam at a landing plane, saw another such beam and was able to trace it to a suburban home. Pretty much every police car in an 100-mile radius converged upon said domicile and carted the homeowner away with the full force of Homeland Security. The alleged laser-wielder has since claimed that he's just a hapless dad who goofed around with a laser pointer with his kids in the yard, never dreaming it could reach as far as an airplane. Maybe it will turn out he's really a particularly clever evildoer, but I don't know. Doesn't that just sound like the stupid sort of thing that would happen to you?

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