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“Bored” California man sentenced to nearly two years for laser strike

On Monday, a federal court in Central California sentenced a 26-year-old to one year and nine months in prison for firing two different laser pointers at a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter over a six month period in 2013. The man, Brett Lee Scott of Buttonwillow, took a plea deal with federal prosecutors according to a May 5, 2014 court filing. Scott explained his actions by saying that he was “bored.” ( More...

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He might be a different kind of "bored" for the next 1.75 years!
bentwing60 1
AWAAlum 7
Some folks on this forum believe sending this guy to prison is too expensive for taxpayers. Well boo-hoo. Take away the guy's freedom to do anything he wants, ANYTHING, for two years and maybe he'll get the message jeopardizing a couple hundred lives for a few seconds of relieved boredom isn't such a good deal. I've squandered money on far worse things. Lock him up!
joel wiley 8
Maybe they can put him on one of the correctional fire crews. A year or so of chopping firelines in chaparral in 100 degree heat won't be boring.

Maybe he could get an appreciation for aircraft as well when they do drops.
Watch Dog 2
Interestingly broad sentences in laser cases worldwide:
With as many stories and reports that there have been the past couple of years about the dangers and the consequences of pointing hand-held lasers at aircraft, you would think someone would have enough intelligence to think about the consequences before doing something really stupid. Apparently this guy didn't and now he has almost two years to get 'un-stupid' and pay for his stupid act.
Ed Albert 2
Right on - all these bored idiots should be in jail. Only a matter of time until one actually brings down a plane by blinding a pilot. I'm suprised they haven't caused a crash yet in some single engine single pilot private plane. I live near CLT and laser hits seem to be problem here too often.
I got hit by a green laser a few weeks ago while driving my car. I also live near CLT and am a retired airline pilot. The strike in the car at dusk got my attention big time. The cost of the time in prison pales in comparison to the cost of investigating a plane crash caused by one of these. Hope they catch more of them.
Walter Jones 1
He got off easy. Could have killed people.
The problem is the guy they sprung early to make room for this moron (he probably wasn't in for unpaid parking tickets).

Unintended consequences I think they call it...
katty wompus 1
I really hate the whole idea that such and such "sends a message"

But in cases like this a strict message really does need to be sent to all these a**holes in the world that this behavior will not be tolerated and you will be treated harshly. 21 months in the hole? Good. Lots of time for him and his buddies to think.

Beevis and Butthead need to find some other cheap thrills. Or be hung by their balls. (snark)
If every bored person will try bring down an airplane or helicopter, we will go back to use horses and camels.
hamilr 1
Hey! Watch Dog. Maybe you should take a math course. Once you pass that, if necessary, take spelling and grammar and then post!
You forgot to say do as I say, not as I do.
Watch Dog -4
The stupid thing about this is the estimated $54,350 TAX PAYERS will have to pay to house Mr. Scott in a federal correctional facility.

I don't believe crimes like this are worthy of a prison sentence. Would we not be better off if his sentence was to pay the cost of his incarceration instead?

But no, we, John Q. taxy payer will pay to house this guy. I don't think sending someone to prison for "firing" laser pointers is the solution to the problem and I do no believe it will deter anyone else from doing it either.

The federal BOP will give this guy 15% of the sentence off for "good time." Meaning he will only serve 18 months of the 19 month sentence. Also, he will probably get released to a halfway house for 3 months, so now he will only do approximately 15 months in prison.

Even housing this guy for 15 months is going to cost an estimated $38,500. Is it worth it to the public for us to have to pay for his "bored" mistake?

Conviction and sentence overkill if you ask me.
joel wiley 1
You forgot about the costs of included medical and dental....
Ken McEvoy 1
Hey watch dog how about this. If you say make him pay then fine then why not incarcerate him AND make him pay the cost of his incarceration? He and others now will know there are consequences for acting like an idiot
AWAAlum 3
Good idea except when he's incarcerated he isn't getting a paycheck, so where's he get the funds?
James Carlin 1
Well then in that case, why prosecute for anything? Just do whatever you want!
Torsten Hoff 1
>> I don't believe crimes like this are worthy of a prison sentence.

So don't punish until someone crashes or suffers permanent eye damage and can't fly anymore?

A big part of punishment is to deter others from doing the same thing. The more publicity the sentence receives, the better. Hopefully the next bored knucklehead will thing twice about pointing any type of laser at an aircraft.
Max Power 2
You know throwing people in prison isn't the only way to punish people or to deter crime. America just loves to incarcerate its own people.

How about fines, community service, house arrest, etc?

Throwing people in prison for non violent crimes often creates more problems than it solves. There has to be more sense than "he shoulda known better".

Punishment should also heavily consider motive. If someone, even ignorantly, doesn't intent to cause any harm then that shouldn't lead to severe punishment. Its a waste of public resources and stuffing people injail for long terms doesn't make them better, it desocializes them and is more likely to make them into a problem for society well after they're released.
No one was injured....
Watch Dog -6
1. Show me an incident or accident that HAS been caused by someone pointing and shining a laser at an aircraft.

2. I'm not saying don't punish. I think PRISON, paid for by TAXPAYERS, does NOTHING to deter this. It's a waste of money. Something our government seems to do very well.

3. Monetary punishment would be more appropriate and can send just as powerful of a message through publicity. Imagine if the headline read "“Bored” California man sentenced to pay $50,000 fine for laser strike."

4. I've noticed you take pictures at SMO. How about an apples to oranges comparison? We send people to prison for shining laser lights at aircraft. We do that as punishment because of the possibility of causing a crash or causing permanent eye damage. We hope prison will deter others from doing the same thing. We should close the SMO airport and punish pilots and aircraft owners because one of these things may crash again, into a neighborhood or school. Perhaps closing SMO will deter pilots and aircraft owners from flying into other airports surrounded by dense populations, such as MDW, or APF, PDK or ADS.
You're kidding, right? Close the airport? Punish pilots and aircraft owners? Sounds like a paranoid knee-jerk response to me. You might want to take a deep breath and breathe in some more oxygen.
Watch Dog 1
You've proven my point exactly Mr. Robinson, although I think my intent of using SMO as an example, including the sarcasm, flew right over your head. Yes, closing SMO would be a knee jerk reaction, just as a prison sentence is a knee jerk reaction to laser pointers being pointed at aircraft.

Why should tax payers have to pay to house the laser pointer criminal? It's stupid.
Trouble with your scenario is fines don't hurt the rich and poor have no ability to pay. As far as the cost of incarceration it should be a fraction of that $54k. Bleeding hearts caused that ridiculous figure.
joel wiley -1
Where do you suppose a gang-banger like this guy would get the money?
Back out hustling drugs would be my guess.
Watch Dog 3
Where does it say he is a "gang-banger?" I've searched arrest records in California and while he does have prior arrests for Battery, Vandalism, Disorderly conduct and use of a controlled substance, I can't find any news articles that indicate Mr. Scott has a prior gang affiliation. Perhaps I missed something?
WhiteKnight77 2
Incarcerate him and put him to work to pay for his housing and food while in prison, even if it is making small rocks out of big rocks.
Doug Zalud 2
Here are a few incidents. It took me just five minutes to find all of these.

I think I made my point.
babyracer 3
"Show me an incident or accident that HAS been caused by someone pointing and shining a laser at an aircraft."

So, what? You want to deal with the problem AFTER people have died?! Seriously? You seem to bemoan the costs of incarceration but how about the costs involved should a commercial be brought down, hmm? How much do you reckon that would cost the taxpayers? Not to mention the grief and anguish of the friends and relatives KNOWING that something could have been done to prevent such an incident from occurring but wasn't because it "cost too much"!

You put peoples lives at risk and you pay the price. No ifs, no buts.

Maybe the US government should take a look at ours - "According Australian federal law, any hand-held, battery operated laser with a power emmission above 1mW is considered a dangerous weapon, and written consent must be obtained prior to possessing/importing such a laser pointer."
lynx318 1
You're all missing the real threat. It's a laser sight, usually attached to a high powered rifle. He potentially could have been a crazed sniper, that's what the authorities really fear.
No, most laser pointers are not attached to a high powered rifle. The vast majority of laser pointers are used to make boring powerpoint presentations a little less boring for the person who made them.
lynx318 1
But the possibility IS there. At a friends place once and a red dot appeared on his chest, had no reason to expect trouble but first reaction was get down out of sight. You just don't know. Far too many crazy's out there to assume it's some belligerent child.
katty wompus 1
RPG? Stinger? Even before MH 17 this was no BS.
hamilr -1
First you had better learn math!!! Then you can comment, if you know how to spell and write!


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