Courtesy of Drudge comes news that David Banach, the Garden State Laser Man, has been charged under the USA PATRIOT act. FBI officials acknowledge that there is no evidence of terrorism, but say the suspect's actions were "foolhardy and negligent." Banach is a resident of Parsippany—and thus should be prosecuted on general principles. Interestingly, the USA PATRIOT act is being invoked with respect to his attack on a Cessna Citation carrying six people but not the attack two days later on a Port Authority police helicopter investigating the original incident, because helicopters are not classed as "mass transportation vehicles" under the USA PATRIOT act. (I'm using the term "attack" loosely and without presumption of intent; Bardach says he was just demonstrating the laser pointer to his daughter.) Jeff Taylor started an interesting discussion of the feasibility of laser attacks on planes, which Brian Doherty continued yesterday. Fans of General Sir John Hackett's very time-specific bestseller The Third World War: August 1985 may recall that that book included a discussion of laser-blinding as a new means of warfare. If anybody knows of an earlier discussion, I'd be interested.
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