FBI Offers Reward For Turning In People Who Point Lasers At Airplanes, Because Apparently People Are Doing That
Well, this is sad: Apparently, it’s become so commonplace for idiots to point lasers at airplanes from the ground that the FBI is now offering a $10,000 reward for turning in anyone who’s guilty of — and this is the FBI’s term — a “laser strike” on an aircraft. The bureau made the announcement today, explaining that there’s been a 1,000 percent increase (!) in “the deliberate targeting of aircraft by people with handheld lasers” since 2005. America, ladies and gentlemen.
“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions.”
Pointing a laser at the cockpit of an in-flight aircraft — which, again, is a completely stupid and pointless thing to do — can completely obscure the pilots’ visibility and, in some cases, require them to get medical attention. There were 3,960 reported laser strikes last year, which comes out to about 11 per day, and it’s punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison (in addition to a $11,000 penalty levied by the FAA).
In January, one 23-year-old numbskull was charged with pointing a laser at a sheriff’s helicopter in California. He pled guilty, explaining that he “just can’t help himself from doing stupid things,” and was sentenced to 1 year and 9 months in federal prison.
Why are people doing this? What’s the benefit? This is the dumbest kind of prank, the kind where the perpetrators don’t even get to witness the outcome after pulling it off. All they have is the knowledge that they’ve made someone’s life more difficult in an extremely high-stakes situation. As an added bonus, they risk sending hundreds of people to a fiery death in the skies.
If you ask us, a $10,000 reward is far too low.
Image: Getty Images