Thread: Green Laser
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Old April 14, 2013, 08:29 AM   #10
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Join Date: December 24, 2010
Location: Central Louisiana
Posts: 3,137
Interesting thread. Don't believe everything you see in Hollywood.

I have a nephew who finished his PhD in optical physics last May. We were on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC last July and some kids were playing with the little lasers sold in the shops. The kids were in a high-rise hotel on the beach and were shining those lights on the street, illuminating people, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I looked on it as a minor irritant, but my nephew went off. Went off big time.

Nephew tells us that in all his work with lasers, he's convinced that green lasers are dangerous at any wattage. Even the low-watt toy versions. Nephew goes on to tell us that when you see a green laser, if you look into the beam, that before you're aware that you're looking into the beam, the damage has already been done, it's cumulative, and irreversible.

So, the kids across the street are shining those lasers, and nephew is very concerned (and nephew has a PhD in optical physics), so nephew picks up the phone and calls 911. The police respond. Nephew points out the laser beams tracking the street, and tells the cop that the green lasers are dangerous and should be considered an assault. Cop says "But those things are toys, they're perfectly legal, and they sell them in the tee-shirt shops."

Nephew responds, "Yeah, but guns are legal too, and they sell them just down the road. Would you let people point guns at tourists?" Cop scratches his head, calls the station, then tells nephew they'll look into it. He does go across the street to the hotel and the lasers aren't seen again that night.

Later that evening, nephew tells me that he believe it is possible to blind someone with toy lasers, especially a green laser, with repeated exposure over time, and the individual exposures don't have to be very long. He also tells me that the law hasn't caught up with the technology, but he believes that pointing a laser at someone should be considered a threat, just like pointing a gun at someone.

The point of this whole story is that nephew has convinced me that lasers are dangerous. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use them, but that we should be aware that the green lasers are especially dangerous. Don't look into a green laser, and don't shine it at someone's eyes. Those of us who like firearms are familiar with dangerous items and use them safely. Let's all be careful out there.
Dennis Dezendorf
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