Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Re: laserpointers and other weapons
Re: laserpointers and other weapons
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 09:49:04 -0500
Rik Bergethon <rberg@RMI.NET> wrote:
> To Mathew , et al,
> Yes, we have had laser pointers in our troop and other
> weapons that have gotten troop members in trouble, with the
> Scoutmaster (me) and others. Each new infraction has been
> dealt with as it has arrived. A few years ago it was the
> water balloon launcher, lately it was the laser pointer.
It turns out that these laser pointers, if they are of Class III, can
and do cause permanent damage to the eyes. They have a warning label
attached to them by law. I have a scarier story to tell however.
Back in September I went to my eye doctor for my biannual visit. He was
late - working on another patient for nearly 45 minutes longer than
planned. When he finally came out of the examination room, he was with a
young boy - 10 or so - and his mother. Mom had a very worried look on
her face. Her son was wearing dark glasses.
After seeing them out, the Doctor was ready for me. He apologized for
running so late, and I said no problem, I had opened up the entire
afternoon for him. I mentioned offhand that my old, worn-out eyes were
no where near as important as the eyes of a youngster, and I had no
problems waiting. The Doctor related to me that the boy he was just with
was a last minute emergency referral. He was the third case of "Laser
pointer damage" that my Doctor had seen this summer.
The Doctor went on to describe the permanent damage that this boy had
done to his eyes using one of these $10 laser pointers. Apparently
prolonged exposure to the laser beam causes a permanent desensitization
of the eye's photo-receptors. This boy has lost approximately 30% of his
vision. The first few times you get "flashed" by these pointers, the
typical image burn of a camera flash will follow you around wherever you
look. Apparently some of these boys are turning the laser on themselves
and getting a prolonged "flash image" that they think is cool.
Eventually it does not go away...
We have banned laser pointers from all Scouting activities. If they show
up, they are mine and are turned over to the parents at the next meeting
with a full explanation. My Doctor is leading a local physicians group
to have them taken off the market.