We’re Serious! (About Laser Pointers?)

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I literally laughed out loud when I heard this on the radio this morning. How can these control freaks — whoops! I mean legislators — take themselves this seriously? Because some entrepreneurs have been too successful in hawking inexpensive-to-manufacture (thanks to capitalism, including the division of labor) laser pointers in Ocean City, MD, “people” want state legislators to ban them.

So, from the story, I thought that maybe some kids have been hospitalized due to the stupidity of their peers. This seems unlikely, as the cheap models of laser pointers are not that high-powered, so while they may cause some real damage to eyes, the damage would not lead to hospitalization. Of course, this is not the true motivation for the proposed legislation. It turns out that the “problems” with the laser pointers are that some overgrown teenagers (e.g., a 21-year old) have “flash blinded” pilots of police helicopters. There’s no injury reported — just that the pilots couldn’t see temporarily due to the bright light. Of course, the pilots and police divert attention from their “essential” assignments to track down the origin of the light so that the mundanes can be arrested.

Only police, military, and approved intellectuals should be allowed to have these “weapons.” But, according to an existing MD law, this behavior is already criminalized (subject to a fine) and also, apparently, falls within the purview of the awful PATRIOT Act. So, exactly how does outlawing something change human nature? Never mind that the “board-room or classroom” loophole will make this impossible to enforce, in just what universe does freedom equal banned laser pointers?!? Thank goodness the state assembly only meets for 3 months a year here! What’s next? Forcing us all to eat and cook with sporks because some idiots use (very sharp) knives to attack others?

9:11 am on September 14, 2010