A Maryland State Police helicopter weighs more than four tons, and it takes a lot of vigilance while aloft to keep it so.
But that seems to matter little to one Connor Grant Brown, 30, of Sykesville. You see, the other morning at 1 AM, Mr Brown's golden slumber was disturbed by the sound of the police helicopter providing air support to the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, and did he respond by rolling over in his sleep sack and pulling the pillow over his head and dozing back off?
He did not. He ALLEGEDLY went out in the yard of the house where he apparently lives with his parents and shined a laser pointer into the helicopter eight times. As those of us who live in the polite side of things all know, a pilot's vision can be compromised, and his/her vision permanently damaged, by laser beams like this.
"This is a very serious incident for people working inside an aircraft to be hit with a laser beams. These high-powered beams can cause temporary blindness. They can cause damage to somebody's retina, so not only does it cause problems for people on board the aircraft, but it could also be catastrophic for anybody on the ground, should they lose control of the aircraft," MSP spokesperson Elena Russo said.
The pilot and the officer flying with him had to be treated for eye injuries and will require follow-up treatments and tests.
The FBI can lodge federal charges against Brown, on top of the local counts of reckless endangerment, obstructing and hindering and shining a laser pointer at an aircraft.
In his defense, Brown told the police that he was mad because his sleep was being disturbed by the helicopter.
Well, I mean, as long as he had a good reason to attempt to blind two men and cause a helicopter to fall from the sky.
because he wanted to get a good night's sleep before spending his day off helping to refurbish toys for orphans and planting a garden outside a senior center. He has agreed to submit to three sessions of stress management counseling and feels certain that this will prevent any recurrence of this regrettable lapse in judgement."
I hope the judge sends a message to anyone else who feels that trying to make a helicopter crash is appropriate behavior.