August 02, 2006

Media : Lasers and Laws

In today's news, a young man by the name of Anthony Pepe allegedly decided to point a laser at a police helicopter, temporarily blinding the pilots. As you might guess, he's been arrested. Interestingly, some news services, all getting their info from Associated Press, seem to be unable to figure out what for.

The Seattle PI (screencap) and Yahoo News (screencap) suggest that Anthony earned "charges of reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon".

Newsday (screencap) and ABC7 (screencap) seem to feel differently, that Mr. Pepe has only earned charges of "reckless endangerment, menacing and unlawful use of a laser pointer".

The story itself is minor - this is not the first nor most significant time it's happened. To a degree, the fact that a laser pointer, even a powerful one, is being considered a weapon is worthwhile, but this is New York, where a shoe or a knitting needle can be a weapon.

The ease with which an incorrect assumption can spread through the big media, despite the delicate checks and balances, is fun to observe, though.


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