Re: Russian LRU-1 Rangefinder story
To answer your questions.
1. Military and vehicles have protective eyewear and coatings (Thorium-232) on optics to protect from non eyesafe lasers. When you see a picture of a SOF guy wearing what looks like Oakleys, they really are laser/infrared protective lenses. Finally it is combat! Idea is to kill or wound. Do not think that rule applies to the general public where you are. For your information several US pilots were hit in the eyes with lasers suspected of being fired from Russian vehicles and planes. Lasers are being used to ID vehicles by size, type, etc by using lasers that measure the vibrations coming off the iengines. Can even run an engine diagnostics on that engine. Later they can pick that one vehicle out of a whole row of similar vehicles due to its unique laser signature. Star Wars is here now!
2. Just because you have not heard of an accident does not mean they do not happen. Why in the world would anyone even think that they are on the military notification list for accidents anyway. The military have had too many "accidents" with lasers and eyes have been lost. The general public is not privy to that accident data as is it "for official use only" under federal law and DOD guidelines. The Army has a field manual FM 8-50, Prevention and Medical Management of Laser Injuries. DOD has published the MIL-HDBK-828A, DOD Handbook Laser Safety on Ranges and In Other Outdoor Settings (1/2 inch thick) They do not go to the expense and time of writing and printing this for something that never happens or is not dangerous. That is also why the stringent controls on mftr, marking, instructions, use, training for lasers and types of ranges they even be used on. They cannot be used on regular ranges normally unless the area is swept for all removal of all reflective items and it meets rigid safety guidelines. Bodies of water automatically exclude laser use for training. They can only be used for training inside "restricted airspace" areas due to the danger to pilots in aircraft from reflected beams.
3. It is obvious you did not know water was reflective and your statement about knowing what you were doing shows this. Unless you have physically inspected the target area for reflective items you are taking a crap shoot with someone else's eyes every time you push that button. Not to mention you lased a boat with people on it. You are dealing with something you know absolutely none of the required training, safe usage rules etc. In absence of this training and knowledge "you think you know what you are doing", but ignorance is bliss. That does not mean you are stupid, you just do now fully know what the ramifications are of using and how to use this type device safely.
4. The military training course for laser safety is one week long minimum depending on type of lasers used. Just how did you accumulate all the knowledge that this course teaches?
5. I see you are in Canada, do not know about Canada's rules, but in the US, they are illegal to import, distribute, sell and own. The FDA is now tracking the importers and going after them. So any US owner can decide to "take their chances" or try to get their money back.
6. The models of lasers legally sold to the public are class 1. You are right, they are not as powerful as the military class 3, nor as dangerous. Like anything else, as technology gets better and cheaper we will have a class 1 that can accurately lase deer size targets out to 2000 yards in a couple years. Look at the advancements the last couple of years.
7. If you or anyone else wants to continue to use these things, get with an attorney that can represent you in Federal Court or in a civil case if you are sued and an insurance agent. Find out how much it will cost to defend you and get a good personal liability policy that will cover you specifically for use with a military laser. Otherwise have deep pockets.