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Old July 13, 2010, 11:15 AM   #1
usaign
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Defending against Lasers

I was in line at the Home Depot when I saw a hybrid laser pointer/led flashlight for just $3.00. I couldnt help myself saw I got one. No idea what I will do with this, but it seemed like a guy gadget to have in the drawer.

These laser pointers can be fun to fool with people. I was thinking though, has anyone been shot as a result of shining a laser on someone? This laser could easily be mistaken as laser site...
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Old July 13, 2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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When I see a laser, I don't immediately think "someone who has a laser sight equipped to a gun is trying to kill me." I think, some dumb teen is fooling around. You could say anytime someone sees a flashlight, they might think its a gun light and start shooting away.

No responsible carrier would open fire on a target who he didn't identify as a threat.
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Old July 13, 2010, 11:33 AM   #3
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I don't know about being shot but, in my old home town some kids were using these things to mess with the local police and just about got shot and were locked up for the weekend. There is now a ordinance banning these items in that town!

If I am not mistaken many towns have rules and regulations on them.
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Old July 13, 2010, 12:17 PM   #4
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Excitement where there needs not be anything other than laughs...
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Old July 13, 2010, 12:56 PM   #5
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They're great for Power Point presentations and keeping cats entertained, neither of which activities are related to firearms nor tactics/training.
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Old July 13, 2010, 01:30 PM   #6
Capt Charlie
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When I see a laser, I don't immediately think "someone who has a laser sight equipped to a gun is trying to kill me." I think, some dumb teen is fooling around. You could say anytime someone sees a flashlight, they might think its a gun light and start shooting away.

No responsible carrier would open fire on a target who he didn't identify as a threat.
Generally agreed, but be careful with blanket statements. The average person doesn't make a connection between a flashlight and a gun, but for a lot of us, that bright red (or green) dot on my body just screams "gun!". That in itself wouldn't prompt me to fire, but it definitely would kick my alert level up a notch or two.

You also have to take into account other circumstances. Is there enough light to see whether it's a laser on a gun or just a laser? Are the actor's actions in shining it aggressive in other ways? And the list goes on.

Other circumstances. A few years ago, one of my officers shot a guy pointing a cell phone at him. Both Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor cleared him on it. In itself, the shooting sounds bad, but the man was fleeing after committing a robbery, it was almost dark, and he turned and screamed "I'll &#%$ kill you pig!" as he pointed the cell phone. Turns out he'd just gotten out of prison and preferred "suicide by cop" rather than return to prison.

All in all, I think most of us would interpret being targeted by a laser as an aggressive action. Those other circumstances would determine whether or not deadly force is justified, even if, in the end, it turned out to be only a toy.

That would most certainly be a tragedy, but the real guideline is, can you articulate a genuine and reasonable fear for your life?
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Old July 13, 2010, 01:50 PM   #7
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I don't see kids carrying around lasers anymore like they used to. I guess it was about 10 years ago now that every kid and their dog had one to play with (annoy people with really). I know the op stated lasers but somebody else said something about flashlights, which I always carry. One dark night when walking to my buddies apt and through some tall grass seperating his apt and one of the parking lots, I had it out watching for snakes or any kind of tripping hazard. I hear a couple of kids kind of shout out "Cop!" and they all took off running. Kind of made me rethink how and when I use my light now.

Sorta similiar to a laser story
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Old July 13, 2010, 01:53 PM   #8
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I hate to post hearsay but I do remember a few years back, the police were called about a possable break in at a school, they responded, some kids were playing laser tag on the school grounds but the cops didn't know that till they shot one for "tagging" the cop with a laser the officer was cleared but I think he left the force because of it.

so short answer is yes at least one person was shot for pointing a laser at someone.
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Old July 13, 2010, 02:01 PM   #9
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I've always wondered whether a powerful laser pointer can be used to disable a survaliance camera?
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Old July 13, 2010, 02:12 PM   #10
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Just google it. You find lots of stories about arrests and being shot by the law. Guy in Reno for instance.
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Old July 13, 2010, 02:28 PM   #11
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Be careful with them around kids!

It's also illegal to shoot a laser pointer at an aircraft. Especially Military aircraft. When you're out flying around at night with your NVG's on, it's a real bummer to hear both of your pilots say they can't see because someone on the ground is shooting a red laser pointer at you.

Red colored lights are like HUGE spotlights under night vision devices. Even a small pen type red laser can illuminate something 500 yards away under NVG's/NVD's. I've been able to pick out bad guys from a mile away because there were three of them in a circle smoking cigarettes.

So be careful what you do with those things. Not to mention you can burn the retina of someones eyes if you're too close to them and shoot it at their face. Depending on the strength of the laser of course. But even pen-type lasers can burn your retina's at shorter distances. Once you show the kids how fun it is to make the dog or cat going chasing the spot across the floor, they want to play with them. And they end up doing permanent eye damage to themselves or their siblings.
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Old July 13, 2010, 03:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
I hate to post hearsay but I do remember a few years back, the police were called about a possable break in at a school, they responded, some kids were playing laser tag on the school grounds but the cops didn't know that till they shot one for "tagging" the cop with a laser the officer was cleared but I think he left the force because of it.

so short answer is yes at least one person was shot for pointing a laser at someone.
A bit off topic, but Lazer Tag does not actually use lasers and won't project a visible red dot on someone. If somebody was shot it most likely because they pointed a gun-shaped object at a police officer.
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Old July 13, 2010, 03:35 PM   #13
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I did google it and this is what I came up with.

http://www.laserpointersafety.com/la..._aircraft.html

Here are the conclusions I drew from the link:

- You can go to prison for a few years by aiming the laser at the wrong things. It can be a felony depending on the things you are aiming at like airplanes or cars.

- When the laser strikes an object at a 1000 feet away, it seems to be a lot bigger then that small point from a few feet away. The Home Depot laser flashlight at a 1000 feet away appears like this giant flash when reflected off of a windshield.
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Old July 13, 2010, 03:45 PM   #14
Glenn E. Meyer
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The laserpointer web site has several stories of people shot for pointed lasers. One in Reno, one in FL.
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Old July 13, 2010, 04:08 PM   #15
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I know the dangers of lasers, but damn what great fun for the cat.

Didn't realize just how big a hazard until I got a green one.

Good for night sky pointing of the stars. I then hit a stop sign from three blocks away and could not believe how much that thing BLOOMED!

Battery removed and now stored back of the sock drawer.








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Old July 13, 2010, 04:39 PM   #16
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in a word yes

kids and adults have been killed due to pointing toy guns and laser at cops.
Paranoid people think gun when a lazer is pointed at them. But being shot by a paranoid person still hunts.

It is illegal in Mississippi to point a lazer at a officer.(misdemenor).
My bet would be many states also have this law.

Most lazers are "optic safe" and will not hurt an eye.
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Old July 13, 2010, 04:55 PM   #17
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Good for night sky pointing of the stars. I then hit a stop sign from three blocks away and could not believe how much that thing BLOOMED!
The lasers are powerful, but part of the "blooming" effect is because street signs have a "retroreflective" finish on them. No matter from what angle the incoming light hits the sign, it's always reflected back at the source of the light.

Quote:
When the laser strikes an object at a 1000 feet away, it seems to be a lot bigger then that small point from a few feet away. The Home Depot laser flashlight at a 1000 feet away appears like this giant flash when reflected off of a windshield.
The inexpensive solid-state lasers that the public generally uses have a fairly wide "divergence" - on the order of a milliradian or two. So the spot will be 1-2 meters wide at a distance of 1000 meters. At 1000 feet, you can expect a beam width of 12-24 inches. This is also why the laser-scattering license plate covers aren't very effective. Even if the cop uses your front license plate as an aim point, the beam will be larger than the license plate cover at any distance greater than a few hundred feet.


Quote:
Most lazers are "optic safe" and will not hurt an eye.
None of the visible-light lasers we're talking about are "eye safe". There really aren't any "eye safe" lasers until you get into the medium-wave infrared (invisible) lasers, and those aren't really "safe", they're only "safer" because the energy from the laser is absorbed in your cornea before reaching your retina.

The only reason we don't see more eye injuries from the common commercial lasers is that the most you generally get is a brief glancing exposure. A stronger laser or a longer exposure will fry your retina in short order.

Last edited by ScottRiqui; July 13, 2010 at 05:28 PM.
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Old July 13, 2010, 05:24 PM   #18
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+1 on everything Scott said.

Recently in Bangkok, a protester was shot when thinking he was simply taunting riot police with a laser pointer.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worl...r-pointer.html

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Old July 13, 2010, 05:41 PM   #19
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I realized I was a little strict in my definition of "eye safe" earlier. For Class II visible lasers, you can consider them fairly "safe" if you trust the eye's blink reflex to limit exposure.

This is still not failsafe, though - medical conditions, medicines, alcoholism, or even wearing contact lenses can slow down the blink reflex.
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Old July 13, 2010, 09:11 PM   #20
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One time in a mall I used to work at, a woman (who had just come out of a movie theater, seeing a movie that featured a gun with a laser sight) panicked when she saw the red dot of a laser cross her body. She screamed and hit the floor.

Turned out some kids had bought some cheap laser toys and were playing with them, thinking it was funny to shine them on people. Laser pointers were banned in that mall from then on, and I think the town may have enacted an ordinance.

They can be very useful (I have one myself, for when I give briefings)...but they can also scare people. I'm also not sure how safe they are -- coherent light from a laser can burn out the retina of your eye, causing blindness. Not sure what the power threshold is to do that, but I don't want to find out the hard way.
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Old July 13, 2010, 09:15 PM   #21
usaign
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Brief periods of exposure wont hurt your eye. For example, lets say the laser pointer slips and it shines in your eye...the first thing you are going to do is look away, close your eyes or put your hands over your eyes. Total exposure time would be less then a second. A laser pointer wont do damage with that brief exposure time. The problem is that certain individuals, like children and foolish adults, who will challenge themselves to stare at the laser pointer for over 5 seconds. I read somewhere that some guy chose to stare at the laser for 30 seconds.

So the Home Depot laser pointers wont harm the normal person's eyes because the normal person will take action quickly and shield themselves. Total exposure time would be very minimal.
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Old July 13, 2010, 10:41 PM   #22
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I know of at least one nuke missle base that scrambled everybody with a gun when one of the guard towers was lasered.
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Old July 14, 2010, 07:28 AM   #23
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Quote:
Brief periods of exposure wont hurt your eye.
Oh, yes it will. I've read many accounts of people doing permenant damage to their eyes from laser pointers. FWIW, Some laser pointers are as powerful as 300mw and higher. But, even those 5mw lasers can do damage to your eyes. Perhaps a quick glance at a 5mw or less laser might not always do permenant damage - maybe that's what you are talking about.
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Old July 14, 2010, 07:36 AM   #24
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Around my parts it is a crime to shine a laser on any peace officer.
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Old July 14, 2010, 09:29 AM   #25
Glenn E. Meyer
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I worked in a lab that studied light damage to retinas. I would sincerely avoid anyone shining one into your eye.
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