The recent reaction by Winnipeg Police to the actions of an idiot (and that is being kind) shining a laser beam at the police helicopter is an example of a poorly conceived media strategy.
The incident, although deadly serious and with grave potential for serious consequences for the helicopter crew, is of the type that is best dealt with in a low-key manner.
By expressing such immediate and public outrage at the incident, the police are exposing their raw nerves to other potential fools. An isolated incident that could have been effectively dealt with and without fanfare has instead resulted in a media furor – one that has spun out of the control and out of the hands of police. It has grown legs.
When police over react, the media will over react, which is what we are seeing. One news outlet actually featured a rambling interview with the suspect marvelling at how by simply using a two-bit laser pen, he was almost able to bring down a 3 million dollar helicopter. This only serves to sensationalize what is a serious issue. The suspect was nabbed quickly and efficiently by the police. No fanfare was needed.
Police officials have provoked a media circus with the potential of rousing other fools in the possession of two-bit laser pointers who may now feel the urge to tear themselves away from their video games and play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with police.