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Is a Laser deadly force?

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by david58, Aug 17, 2020.

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  1. Craig_VA
    • Contributing Member

    Craig_VA Contributing Member

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    Rule #4
     
  2. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Few things wrong with that. Eyewear for the military, and most law enforcement is to protect against projectile threats. Something thrown or blasted toward someone's eyes like shrapnel. Protective eyewear against ballistic threats and lasers would need to be tested where they can provide protection against both, without hindering situational awareness for the situation. Tinted sunglasses don't work well at night essentially. Also, high powered lasers have long projection lengths and some produce light invisible to the human eye. So you will have a hard time painting rioters that are using an IR beam from half a mile away.
     
  3. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Been down 70, but took man more trips down 62 heading towards Plainview through Paducah and Floydada.
    There's a VFR airport of sorts over there that shows a 1.5 mile green and a 3 mile white light that can spook a person on a dark night.

    As the Chief noted, protecting against the known/commonly available frequencies is going to be a pretty opaque sort of lens.
    And, I believe I will have to object to my freedom of not wearing laser-protective lenses burdened just because nitwits with knotted drawers are having a "protest" and waving around dangerous tools with little restraint or regard.
    This is not about pointers for a presentation or to entertain the cats & dogs, the first thing you will see is a flash that never goes away.

    That's where the tech started, but it's only really matured enough to only respond to sunlight derived UV (and not UV from fluorescent fixtures and the like). They have zero laser protection.
     
  4. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    I don't think there's any way you can tell whether the laser is powerful enough to be dangerous or just a toy. Any more than you can tell whether a jar of liquid someone might be about to throw at you is water or some kind of substance that might actually do serious damage to you if it gets on you especially in your eyes.
     
  5. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    For the defense against lasers and acid, the immediate reliance upon a gun will rarely be advised.
     
  6. 748

    748 member

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    But then if you don't use a gun then the argument is you must not really have been in fear for your life or in fear of great bodily harm.
    Although pepper spray generally gets a free pass as long as it's not misused.
    I can't say I have seen any cases on the subject. There has to be some out there.
     
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  7. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    That's not it at all.

    The question is on e of how best to avoid being blinded.

    I suggest that aiming a gun at someone who may have a laser would not be a good way to go about it.
     
  8. 748

    748 member

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    If you can't run away or hide the only thing then is to block the laser or scatter it.
    High temperature differential over distance scatter a laser and smoke will block some of it. If they can't see you they can't point it at you effectively.
    I read a long time ago that the military had developed near nano second activated laser visors for pilots in the 1990s, to solve a problem that didn't exist yet.
    I don't know if anything like that was ever made available to civilian markets.

    Hopefully the police find the people doing the laser thing and the perp "resists arrest" and "falls down" several times then gets the library dropped on them as opposed to the book thrown at them.
     
  9. JTHunter

    JTHunter Member

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    What about something like those sunglasses with the mirrored surface? The OTC type probably wouldn't be good enough but do you think it would be possible to make the reflective surface good enough to bounce 80-90% without making them too dark for the officers to still see through them?
     
  10. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Put simply... If I were the commander on scene where rioters came equipped in advance with improvised weapons meant specifically to injure my officers I’d have made plans to target each one for arrest by any means necessary...

    You can’t allow violent individuals to operate without consequence... The first time they use those weapons you might only be able to act defensively.... The next time you’re ready to act.

    The riot training we were taught down here in south Florida (called field force training) involved having specific arrest teams behind the front line officers that would come through the line to go after targeted offenders, grab them and pull them back behind the line to effect the arrest.

    I’d have spotters that would ID specific offenders then relay that info to street supervisors for action. Male or female, adult or juvenile— anyone using a laser on my officers would go down for it if at all possible...

    Maybe we had the great advantage of being supported by the folks we worked for. Pretty hard to watch a lot if the stuff occurring today.
    Wish it weren’t so...
     
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  11. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    The eye protection problem becomes a question for optical filter designers. I already pointed out that lasers inherently have a narrow bandwidth of frequencies, and while there are a variety of frequencies available including visible, IR and UV, the filters still don't need to block everything in-between. They need only to have a notch filter for a handful of frequencies while passing the frequencies for which emitters are not commercially produced.

    I maintain that responding to lasers with deadly force is a dilemma presented by people who are looking to use deadly force rather than looking for a solution to the problem. I'll admit that eye protection is not a comprehensive solution because there are plenty of people who do not or will not be wearing it, but deadly force is a much worse solution fraught with far more serious problems and even more questions as to how its going to be effective. Instead, it's most rational to recognize that first of all we have a society of people whose actions are predominantly guided by a functional morality such that most people act with due care most of the time, and second that malicious laser use has criminal penalties that serve as a deterrent, so long as such malicious use is prosecuted and adjudicated.

    For those instances where moral restraint and fear of criminal consequences are insufficient, this problem of malicious laser use becomes no different than the malicious use of knives, poison, and explosives. I will say that it would seem that such use of lasers is much more rare in spite of recent media attention due to the recognition that it provokes fear, anxiety, and worry that the media thrives on. For all of these things, defensive firearm use is a very, very poor solution. It will most often come as too little, too late. I know some people will argue for their "right" to blow away the guy who uses such weapons against them. I'm not going to argue with that, but I pity the fella who is somehow comforted merely by the permission they have to do so.
     
  12. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Very well said... it only reinforces what I've said that there must be right then, on the spot consequences for these kind of actions... Everyone I knew in law enforcement, way back then... used to say "you can beat the case - but you can't beat the ride". An immediate arrest of those in the crowd using lasers or other means to deliberately injure officers is a pretty strong deterrent - particularly since rioters rarely go quietly...

    As a corollary, one other thing comes to mind unfortunately... I can't think of anything worse you can do to a young officer than to destroy their faith in the folks that run their city, town, or county. Sure hope voters pay attention to that sort of stuff in the upcoming election.... A demoralized force won't be doing much protecting and serving - but maybe that's the end game for some politicians.
     
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  13. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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    The immediate arrest of those in the crowd brings you back into the problem of charging into a large crowd of folks who will be come resistant. Deterrence is an empirical question. Dedicated folks don't fear arrest. However, generating a large violent incident arresting them, serves their purpose.
     
  14. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Yes, but not because of rule 4...think Kent State.
     
  15. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Gem, I responded as I did because this is the strategies and tactics board... The tactics we were taught and used here in south Florida came about specifically because of failures in earlier riots (particularly the MacDuffie riots - years before Rodney King out in California...). You have to pick your targets and use good timing (this was part of our training) that’s why you need accurate spotters to identify specific individuals. The bad guys deliberately dress alike to frustrate efforts to take down offenders as well... Each arrest team is three officers with good hand to hand skills - and each offender is promptly pulled behind line officers -then removed from the scene as quickly as possible...

    Failure to deal with these serious threats only emboldens rioters and increases injuries to officers.. Ultimately just standing your ground under these kinds of attacks guarantees escalation from the attackers. Eventually lasers will be only one of the attacks officers face if not deterred.
     
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  16. 748

    748 member

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    Looks like there is no correct answer and the only correct answer will come once different scenarios have played out in court.
     
  17. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    The answer to the question posed in the subject line of the OP is "yes".

    The answer to the text--what to do--will be situationally dependent.

    ???

    A judgment reached in a trial court would not address the question.
     
  18. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    If you were talking about a chemical agent that burned your lungs permanently and required you to be on high-flow oxygen and incapable of exertion for the rest of your life, or an electric shock powerful enough to permanently damage your heart and disable you for life, yes. The thread is discussing lasers powerful enough to permanently burn out your retinas, not just temporarily dazzle you.

    It’s not the color, it’s the power output. Civilian laser sights and laser pointers are limited to 5 milliwatts, IIRC, which is considered the upper threshold of eyesafe (a blink will protect you). A 1W laser (200 times as powerful) will burn your retina before you can blink, whether the beam is green, red, or infrared.

    10% of 1W is still 100 mW, or 20 times the eyesafe limit. 10% of 5W is 500 mW. And dark sunglasses will be awkward to use at night. Sunglasses might help regular 5mW laser pointers to be less dazzling, though.
     
  19. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    Rioting is a felony. In a riot situation it should be left to police snipers to neutralize users of lasers.
     
  20. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I suspect that solution (immediate armed response to specific threats in a riot situation) is something our Israeli friends are familiar with. I’m certain that none of our country’s local politicians would support that kind of tactic, unfortunately....
     
  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    The second sentence does not necessarily follow from the first.

    The detection of such users is not easy.

    And lemaymiami's point is very well taken.
     
  22. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Arizona State Law says,
    https://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/00105.htm
    And;
    https://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/00405.htm

    So, on the face of it, it looks like in Arizona it is indeed legal to use deadly physical force to prevent serious bodily injury, such as being blinded.
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, as long as all of the other requirements for lawful self defense are met.

    But as previously discussed, the real question is "how would one go about it?".

    Knowing that someone has a laser won't cut it. If that someone is about to use it right now, the intended target had better not be trying to aim a gun.
     
  24. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, and MY method of not getting blinded with a laser in a riot is to not BE there. BUT... Since there have been a number of reports of officers being blinded, possibly permanently, AND the propensity of laser armed "light mages" at organized domestic terror strikes, then a laser present in a declared riot may be legally classified as a deadly weapon, capable of legally defined deadly physical force. The exact same rules now apply as a firearm - I do NOT have to wait to get shot to fire in self defense. If I shoot someone in their front yard playing with the cat with a toy laser, I'm going to jail for murder. If I shoot someone shining high power lasers in a declared riot...well, it's untested waters, I would certainly NOT want to be the first test case, but m,y layman's mind thinks the basis in bare law is there. I have no idea if there are any actual adjudicated cases to build on or not.
     
  25. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, we have said that.

    True.

    The fact of a "declared riot" would not be meaningful.

    One more time--for the used of deadly force to be lawful, the actor would have to have a basis for a reasonable belief that all of the requirements for justification exist.
     
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