Thursday, 17 January 2013

"Too close for missiles. Switching to guns!"

An MP has called for a piece of equipment used in offices across the country to be reclassified as an offensive weapon.
*boggle*

What sort of equipment? Is the laptop projector often used as a missile? Has Tippex been found to be a useful ingredient in bomb-making?
Crawley MP Henry Smith said hundreds of lives were put at risk by thugs shining laser pens in the eyes of pilots operating from Gatwick.
Ah. Well, indeed. We've seen this before.

And yet, no-one's been daft enough to suggest that we reclassify them in the same category as guns! That, clearly, takes the mighty intellect of an MP grandstanding in the House:
At Home Office questions in the House of Commons, Mr Smith said: “Can you join with me in congratulating Sussex Police in the work they have been doing to tackle laser pen attacks on aircraft operating from Gatwick Airport - attacks which can potentially endanger hundreds of lives in the air and on the ground?
“And can you say what additional work your department is doing nationwide on possibly reclassifying laser pens?”
I can just imagine the look of weary resignation that the HO Minister wore when he stood up to answer the old duffer:
Home Office Minister James Brokenshire replied: “Whilst we have no plans to classify lasers as offensive weapons, we are determined to see that best practice is shared between forces.”
I can think of some 'best practice' I'd like to see forces take up, rather than go down the collective punishment and unnecessary regulation route again...



 'Draw, pardner..!'

17 comments:

Andy said...

I don't know about 'weapon' but realistically, what office uses these anymore?
I'd have no problem with reclassifying them in the same way as knives so that if you have a good reason to have one - on the way to a powerpoint session or working as an office manager then that's all well and good, but if police stop a yob with one without a good reason for having it then that should be a crime.
Any problem with that?

Diesel said...

@Andy

Yeah, I have a problem with that. The same problem I have with the current classification of knives.

The reason I have one on my person is twofold.
1. Because I may have a use/need for it.
2. Because its mine.

I have carried knives on my person since I was about 13. The number of people I have stabbed/slashed with it is......zero.

The number of times I have had an unexpected use or need for it is......hundreds.

Your attitude is collective punishment. The problem with such items is not the item, but the hand holding it.

Diesel said...

@Andy

Yeah, I have a problem with that. The same problem I have with the current classification of knives.

The reason I have one on my person is twofold.
1. Because I may have a use/need for it.
2. Because its mine.

I have carried knives on my person since I was about 13. The number of people I have stabbed/slashed with it is......zero.

The number of times I have had an unexpected use or need for it is......hundreds.

Your attitude is collective punishment. The problem with such items is not the item, but the hand holding it.

The Jannie said...

His defence could be that he uses it to tease a kitten. Whammo! We've got him bang to rights, call the RSPCA !

Anonymous said...

There already is a law relating to the misuse of these pens:

"Shining any light (including that produced by a laser) at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot is an offence under Article 222 of the Air Navigation Order 2009."

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/safetynotice2012005.pdf

Andy said...

Diesel - if you can justify your use then that would be a valid defence.

If I am found outside a primary school with some rope, a bag and a balaclava then I'd expect questions to be asked.

If I can't explain it then I'm in trouble - that's the price of a civilised society.

PJH said...

I await the new EC Directive on preventing the carrying of sharpened pencils around in public since they may be used to stab people.

Oh, and pencil sharpeners, since they have blades innit?

Graeme said...

Is the name of the HO person real? Brokenshire? Could anyone have a more appropriate name?

And as an aside, has anyone been successfully prosecuted for flashing a laser pen at a pilot? I find it hard to believe you could get anywhere near.

Bucko The Moose said...

Andy - I also have a problem with that.

1) What diesel said.
2) I have one that I use for my cats. If it's still in my pocket when I go outside I don't want to be arrested.
3) Your hypothetical situation is very different from the one being discussed, but even so, you shouldn't have to justify objects, you should be punished for causing harm.
I am outside the school with a rope, a bag and a balaclava because I'm picking my kid up on a very cold day. The bag? Well that's where I keep my rope.

On a lighter note, can someone really point one of these things across an airfield, through an aircraft window and into the eyes of a pilot? I seriously doubt it.

If it is possible, they must be using much more powerful laser pointers than my pound shop cat tormentor.

Robert the Biker said...

"If I can't explain it then I'm in trouble - that's the price of a civilised society"
No, that's the logical result of you allowing a slave state to be built around you. NO ONE has the right to presume that I am about to commit some unspecified but probably highly imaginative offence, certainly not some window-licker with his 'something must be done, lets just ban everything'
Catch me shoving a sawn off in a bank tellers face then fine, bang to rights; don't try and ban ME from having a gun because SOMEONE ELSE is a twat.

PJH said...

@Graeeme:"And as an aside, has anyone been successfully prosecuted for flashing a laser pen at a pilot? "

http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/crime/man-shone-laser-pen-at-police-helicopter-1-5261944
"A MAN who shone a laser pen that dazzled police helicopter pilots has been fined.
[...]
Middleton was fined £300, and ordered to pay court costs of £100 and a £15 victim surcharge.
"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-17785381
"A man has been jailed for shining a laser pen at a police helicopter which was searching for missing children.
[...]
At Glasgow Sheriff Court, Paton was jailed for nine months after admitting endangering the helicopter
"

Found one about shining into a car driver's eyes. Found nothing about planes in my 5 minute search however.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX “Whilst we have no plans to classify lasers as offensive weapons,XX

They do not need to.

"Offensive weapon; Anything....(Any object(??) Can not remember the exat opening line....)manufactured "USED" or adapted to cause injury or damage...."

What the FUCK do they need a "new" law for???!!!

John Pickworth said...

"A MAN who shone a laser pen that dazzled police helicopter pilots has been fined."

No doubt after the force went into full Defcon 1 Anti-terror mode. As for airliners carrying hundreds of people? Well, that's cat up a tree or lost purse priority stuff isn't it!

Anonymous said...

Bunny

@ Mr Teutonicus it is the current piss poor standard of law making which has been around since Mr Blair, who are operating under the impression we are in a civil law jurisdiction. You are quite right, what is needed is people who can interpret the laws correctly and not the useless bunch of fuckwits we have in place at the moment.

JuliaM said...

"...but realistically, what office uses these anymore? "

I think a lot of educational establishments do. My office goes in more for Death By PowerPoint...

As for problems with reclassifying them, I think Diesel & Bucko have covered that!

"We've got him bang to rights, call the RSPCA !"

Guilty as charged!

"Oh, and pencil sharpeners, since they have blades innit?"

Perhaps we'll be seeing street rats stabbing each other with makeshift prison shivs if initiatives like these take off?

JuliaM said...

"And as an aside, has anyone been successfully prosecuted for flashing a laser pen at a pilot?"

I linked to two in the post. And PJH helpfully provided more. As FT points out, they can and do act - why the need for new legislation?

"...you shouldn't have to justify objects, you should be punished for causing harm."

Spot on!

"...what is needed is people who can interpret the laws correctly and not the useless bunch of fuckwits we have in place at the moment."

More than that - we need people who can apply them equally. Not grant special favours to one group.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Not grant special favours to one group. XX

Trouble is, that "one group" is rapidly appearing to be the criminal class as an whole.

(Of course SOME criminals are even specialy treated WITHIN that group! (Mentioning no camels.))