Man arrested for flying a kite with an LED


43 Responses to “Man arrested for flying a kite with an LED”

  1. Ugly Canuck says:

    I think this activity – LED kites – would be even cooler if a whole bunch of fliers flew these at at the same time.

    There is something about flying a kite that I find so relaxing.
    And I think that I’m not alone in this.

    Walt Disney knew about kites:

    PS Anon #25: Cool kite story you’ve given us! Thanx!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yep, it was a UFO. After further investigation it was identifed as an RC kite with LED lights. Case solved, no longer a UFO. Glad they cleared that one up and stopped the menace to society that was an obvious threat with his kite. I’ll sleep better at night knowing a kite flyer has been warned. I think I’ll invite over all my church going murderers, rapists and burglars for a BBQ this afternoon to celebrate this victory.

  3. highlyverbal says:

    Free advice: don’t call them “bullet” LEDs in front of the judge. How about “capsule” or something?

  4. bbbaldie says:

    If kite LED’s are outlawed, then only criminals will have kite LED’s!!!!!!!

  5. greggman says:

    I can relate. I was at Crissy Field in SF last Saturday with a 30ft balloon ( A park maintenance person came up and told me I was not allowed to have such things in the park. WTF!

  6. TNGMug says:

    I’m going to have to call lazy on behalf of the cops. Why don’t they just tell the 911 center to ask people reporting UFOs if they think it looks like a kite with lights on it?

    Seriously, people are reporting UFOs to 911 and a guy flying a kite has to shoulder the blame?

  7. shadowfirebird says:

    IANAL, but here in the UK if you squint a bit you might even say that having a light on a kite at night was a *requirement*.

    It’s certainly true that some buildings above a certain height here are required to have lights on at night – the radio masts at Rugby spring to mind. Not sure of the exact rules.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Only in Amerika, If they dont have a law they will make one fit whatever situation. Ive been in situations like this more than once. A cop wants to control you, even though you are doing nothing illegal it has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you will be arrested. In other words, if a cop decides to grab you, assault you, etc. He can and he will. Then while back at the station he, along with a few other officers, or his commanding officer, sit around looking for things to add to the charges. I was assaulted by 2 people and a dog on my property for a SECOND TIME and I ended up with 4 bogus felony charges and $2500 later im again a free man, since all it took was a lie from my attackers to cause me this trouble. Then at the station I personally heard the officers laughing and suggesting additional charges that they did file. Its a combination of stupid laws and police spending too much time and money harassing regular citizens for stupid things like this, that will eventually bring complete distrust for law enforcement. Which the end result will be the inability to perform their duties to a public that hates them, and its already happening now. There was a day when I would have assisted an officer who was being beaten or shot at, I myself being well trained. Now I would grab a camera and give the bad guy pointers. The police are there to protect and serve the citizens, instead they protect their buddies and serve their ego’s and attitudes. Maybe if they hired people smart enough to think for themselves, but then again if they had intelligence they wouldnt enforce all the laws that are ridiculous….

  9. Ugly Canuck says:

    The sad and sorry history of bans on the flying of kites continues, for reasons of religion and safety; the former, infamously, in Afghanistan, the latter in both Pakistan, and in Toronto:–flying-kites-could-result-in-100-fine-after-activity-banned-in-toronto-park

    And this guy was flying his LED kite at night, I’m guessing. That’s kinda strange in itself – Marge Simpson would not approve, IIRC -
    I personally have no problems whatsoever with a little “Night Flight”:

    - strange lights in the sky at night? What’s not to like?
    But I guess some people apparently don’t like it, and do have a problem with it.

  10. iamcantaloupe says:

    Doesn’t he know that flying LED kites is yet another one of those odd, frowned-upon activities that you can really only partake in safely at Burning Man?

  11. RyanMcFitz says:

    Elan Lee stated that he was doing exactly this in Seattle expressly to check out the number of 911 calls the city received each night.

    I’m tempted to try to turn this into a “Seattle vs. St. Paul” thing but it’s probably more accurately a “brilliant creative cool dude vs. guy with outstanding warrants” thing. Unless Elan has outstanding warrants.

  12. akbar56 says:

    Link didn’t work for me. This one does

  13. anansi133 says:

    The real infraction here is doing something unusual. It’s always been an unwritten crime, and if the paranoids in charge have got to write a new law to make it criminal, they will.

    When meteor showers can be seen from within an urban area, I’ll actually feel much safer going outside. Same with self-illuminated flying toys.

  14. Brainspore says:

    It looks like the real reason the cops have it in for this guy is unrelated to the kite flying:

    On that night, officers saw a warrant had been issued for Sawka’s arrest, unrelated to the kite flying. He had pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor theft and was supposed to turn himself in to serve time at the Ramsey County workhouse but hadn’t.

    • vitriolix says:

      @Brainspore come on, read a little further into the article before you go smearing the guy. It states clearly that that was resolved and this arrest, which was precisely for flying the kite at night, happened on another occasion. The first thing you quote happened on August 20th, the arrest for the kite flying was Monday, August 23rd.

      • Brainspore says:

        @vitriolix: Yes, I did read the article and fully understand that he’s currently being harassed for kite-based offenses. What I wrote was “It looks like the real reason the cops have it in for this guy is unrelated to the kite flying.” Sawka clearly gets some amount of enjoyment from riling up the local police and so they are now trying to bust him any way they can.

  15. mccrum says:

    Whew. For a minute there we almost had LEDs in a kite. Think about it. In. A. Kite.

    There’s no end of trouble from the public and their craziness. Thankfully St. Paul has solved all outstanding crimes that they have enough time to go after this troublemaker.

  16. Anonymous says:

    In 1943, my father was a private of the German air force. It was WW II and his unit was stationed on the Dutch coast for some weeks. It must have been pretty boring there, so he did what he had always loved to do: He built a kite and had it flying on the beach. After only a short time, the military police showed up and he was arrested. He was charged with treason as they supposed he was using the kite for signaling some information over the Channel to the Brits. It seemed pretty sure that the military tribunal would sentence him to death.

    However, his company commander obviously trusted him, so he went to the tribunal and told them that my father was part of a secret team that was experimenting with some new techniques of weather observation by kites. This statement was complete fiction but my father got out of the military prison the same day and with some more luck, even survived WW II.

    He always continued building and flying all kinds of kites, and I remember quite some nights when I was a kid, when he woke me up some time after midnight, whispering “Hey, come with me, fantastic winds out there!”. And once again we would stand on a hill outside our village in the middle of the night, flying the huge box kite with a paraffin lamp inside. Actually, I didn’t have such a bad childhood.

  17. RHK says:

    Why would someone report to the police that they saw a UFO? What do they expect the cops to do about it? Last thing I would want is for there to be a public record of me reporting a UFO sighting.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I understand that he had a warrant which is reason enough to arrest him. However, if the guy is flying kite as a hobby and as something he truly enjoys, I see no harm in this. If it keeps him from committing theft, doing drugs etc. then more power to him.

  19. Sork says:

    It looks like swamp gas.

  20. Guysmiley says:

    I guess flying an LED illuminated kite at night and getting the local yokels riled up about UFOs is a bad idea when you have outstanding warrants.

  21. Anonymous says:

    What if we started selling kites with LED lights in stores? That might change the cops tune.

  22. Orchestra Spy says:

    This is stupid. It reminds me of the kite bans in a couple Toronto parks. Kite fighting causes loose string to become entangled in boat propellers etc. But LED kites? That makes even less sense!

  23. Anonymous says:

    To be the Devil’s advocate, would flying an illuminated kite possibly cause problems for other flying manned craft? Such as misidentifying it as an aviation light marker?

  24. ocschwar says:

    And Bostonians sigh in relief that this stupidity is happening elsewhere.

  25. cinemajay says:

    Honestly, I’d love to see an entire Maker fest at night that’s all about LEDs on kites, bikes, and anything else one can staple to a dowel.

  26. Stefan Jones says:

    “There’s something about flying a kite at night that’s very unwholesome.” — Marge Simpson

  27. flytch says:

    just use balloons… the mylar ones will also give a nice radar return… more bang for the buck…

    • Anonymous says:

      You and I in a little toy shop
      Buy a bag of balloons with the money we’ve got
      Set them free at the break of dawn
      ‘Til one by one they were gone
      Back at base, bugs in the software
      Flash the message, something’s out there
      Floating in the summer sky
      Ninety-nine red balloons go by

  28. cjp says:

    Thanks for the great story. I’m a child of a WW2 vet, too. I think you should write this one up properly and turn it into something. I’d say ‘illustrated kids’ book’, but there is a firing squad involved. Maybe a short graphic novel?

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