It seems like the cool thing to do is point an $8 green laser into an airplane cockpit for fun. This includes private GA airplanes and helicopters, along with Police Helicopters, and finally airliners.
The penalties that have been doled out by the Courts have seemed extremely light. Most sentences seem to be 3 years. One judge recently sentenced a man to 14 years and was overruled on appeal, and the sentence was reduced to 3 years.
There is a general ignorance of what harm these lasers can do when pointed at airplanes and lighting up a cockpit. Temporary blindness to permanent blindness can be the result of a laser strike. If one is flying solo temporary blindness can lead to a crash killing the pilot and anyone in the plane along with those who might be in the way on the ground. An airliner has two pilots aboard, but if both these pilots are hit it could lead to a major catastrophe killing hundreds of innocent people.
In my opinion the laws need to be changed to where anyone shining a laser into a cockpit is charged with attempted murder and heavy sentences applied. This is the only way of slowing down or eliminating laser strikes.