Homeland stupidity

I meant to blog this a couple of weeks ago, but you know how it is. I meant to become rich, rich I tell you, rich, ha ha, rich beyond dreams of avarice, but I didn’t get around to that either.


A New Jersey miracle man has been charged under the Patriot Act for allegedly shining a laser into two pilots’ eyes.

David Banach could face up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for disrupting the operator of a mass transportation vehicle – a charge covered under the controversial Patriot Act – and lying to the FBI. Authorities claim that Banach, 38, admitted to shining a laser at a jet plane and at a helicopter flying over his home. The jet pilots were momentarily blinded by the green laser light, according to state officials. Their Cessna Citation flying at 3,000 feet had six passengers.

Earlier this week, the FBI dismissed the idea that a string of “laser in the cockpit” incidents were part of a terrorist plot to bother pilots. The Feds, however, have now applied the long arm of the Patriot Act – invented after the Sept. 11 attacks – to Banach’s supposed crime.

“We are not saying this is a grand terrorist incident,” U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie told the New York Post. “We have to send a clear message to the public – no matter what the intent was.”

So. Does anyone really believe that Mr. Banach is a terrorist mastermind? Does anyone believe that he’s anything more than a suburban goofball playing around with his laser pointer? And yet, his life is going to be severely disrupted, at best — if not destroyed — so the powers that be can make an example of him. That’s the world we live in these days. That’s the sort of thing the Patriot Act allows. And anyone who can still argue that “the innocent have nothing to hide” is officially Too Stupid to Breathe.

…for that matter, does anyone really believe you could aim a penlight laser at a moving airplane thousands of feet in the sky with such specificity as to target the cockpit — which is traditionally not placed on the underside of the plane, in my experience — and “blind the pilot”? I’d bet dollars to donuts that this whole thing is an after-the-fact justification by overzealous homeland security types. Or something else is going on here, but in any case, the “blind the pilot” thing just doesn’t pass the smell test.