Laser striking reportedly being aimed at pilots while flying airplanes are endangering the lives of passengers. Pranksters, or maybe some would call them psychotics, have been reported to pull out lasers and aim the laser point at a pilot of an aircraft hoping to distract and blind the pilot carrying over a hundred souls. While many want these individuals caught and brought to justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are asking for the public’s’ assistance in reporting anyone they see pointing lasers at an airplane. Learning how simple it is for anyone 1,000 feet below an aircraft to blind a pilot is very unsettling for many who fly the friendly skies.
According to Time, the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who witnesses what is being called “lasing” or “laser striking.” Any sort of laser, including pocket lasers, can disorient a pilot when aimed into the cockpit. This is a violation of the federal law and considered a very dangerous criminal activity that can take many lives in just one accident.
Reportedly laser striking has increased since 2005 by 1,100 percent with a disturbing 3, 960 incidents in 2013. While none of these laser strikes have caused a plane crash, the FBI is bringing awareness to the public in hopes of preventing any fatalities. Though many may think laser striking is not common and nothing to get the public up in arms about, FAA reported this crime took place 11 times per day last year, causing pilots to be temporarily blinded. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out blinding a pilot could be fatal for passengers as well as civilians below a crashing plane.
The FBI is not only offering the $10,000 reward to anyone who reports laser striking, they are also launching an educational campaign to inform young males, who allegedly are the most common offenders, of the seriousness involved in laser striking. The top three airports with the most incidents reported were Portland, Phoenix, and Houston.
On the rise is the Mineta San Jose Airport which had 63 laser striking incidents last year. The Oakland International Airport reported incidents that grew from 22 in 2012 to 43 in 2013. The San Francisco International airport reported 38 in 2013. While these numbers appear low to many, one laser striking into one plane carrying over 100 passengers is one too many. The public is wondering what kind of psychotic mind would want to take down a plane.
There are enough reasons for many to fear flying without the added stress of laser pointers. It does not matter how many frequent flyer miles a passenger has accumulated over the years, the thought of an aircraft plunging into the earth moves most passengers to follow instructions such as turn off all cell phones. Once the aircraft is in the air, if it happens to encounter severe turbulence many passengers grip the passenger seated next to them. A sigh relief comes over the aircraft when it lands safely. Some cultures even applaud as a thank you to a “higher power” for a safe landing.
The last thing most passengers want to be concerned about is a teenager aiming a cheap pocket laser into the cockpit burning the pilot’s cornea causing a crash. Although a $10,000 reward cannot replace a life, it might prompt someone to report idle play. Many would say it takes a psychotic mind to risk crashing a plane jeopardizing the lives of innocent passengers, including children.
There has been much debate over whether or not video games have desensitized children and adults. Many believe video games of destruction, death and mayhem are no longer satisfying idle minds. The new sensation is laser striking and it looks liked the game just got real.
Editorial by Meleika Gardner