More Re Lasers

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Another e-mail:

My viewpoint on this matter comes from prior experience as a scientist with a
wide variety of lasers, up to and including the high-power Class IV Nd:YAG
lasers. Also, I’m an instrument-rated private pilot. My two cents on the
topic? It might be a bunch of kids or misanthropes but then again, it could
very well be terrorists in action. Many folks seem to forget that the point of
terrorism is to cause terror and you don’t have to hit an aircraft with a
missile to do it. Scare enough pilots and civilians with these incidents and
you’ve achieved a goal at very minimal cost and effort. The first e-mail you
listed seems to twig on to this but the second doesn’t and the writer displays
only a passing familiarity with lasers and their safety issues. Another point
is that the physiology of the human eye/brain is a funny thing. My personal
experience is that getting strobed with a laser can do funny things with one’s
perception in how long a beam has impinged on the eye, where it is and how it’s
moving, *especially* in a dark environment where the brain loses much of the
external reference needed to make those kind of judgements..

Long story short? There’s no definitive answer here yet but my take is that the
readers who’re dismissing this out of hand are operating with insufficient
information, to put it politely. It’s going to take more time for the jury to
come in on this one.

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