CONCERN GROWS AS LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SEEK USE OF ARMED DRONES
They may not be the ominous black helicopters feared by New World Order conspiracists, but they’re pretty damn close. The idea of pilotless drones being used in America – against Americans – has become a growing cause for alarm across a wide spectrum of the country – from conservative organizations to the ACLU. Now – a number of law enforcement agencies are seeking to arm those drones. While most of the talk to date has been about rubber bullets and tear gas, what comes next?
The invasive capability of drones to spy on ordinary citizens is certainly cause for concern over privacy issues; the thought of armed pilotless drones using lethal force against American citizens is the stuff of Orwell’s 1984 – or an old Twilight Zone episode. Or is it?
Drones have been used in the Middle East to target and kill high-level terrorists for years, and are also being used along the Mexican border in the fight against illegal aliens. But now, drones – controlled from remote locations and equipped with infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras – are being used domestically. Is this cause for concern? It should be.
When criminal activity is occurring – or even suspected – surveillance is critical. But surveillance for the sake of surveillance only – on a routine basis over an entire area or community – smacks of Big Brother. (Or, in this case: The One.) This is the stuff of which totalitarian states are made. Is this also the stuff of Barack Obama’s America?
While the Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments across the country to use drones for surveillance purposes only, the toothpaste is now out of the tube. Where is it headed?
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Texas is among the first law enforcement agencies in the country to consider the use of rubber bullets and tear gas on its drones. Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel defends the option this way:
“Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle).”
The difference being, rubber bullets and tear gas are used by law enforcement officers on the ground who are up close to any given situation – vs. calmly sitting at a remote location looking at images or video on a computer screen and analyzing data. While it seems that the potential to chase down a fleeing suspect or disperse a rioting crowd – think: OWS loons – could be an advantage of rubber bullet and tear gas enabled drones, the potential for collateral damage exists as well.
It will fascinating to see where this leads. Perhaps to the Supreme Court? Although, the Court is so stacked up with lawsuits filed by - and against – the Regime, it appears that the skies over America will full of eavesdropping pilotless drones – minimally equipped with rubber bullets and tear gas – before it’s settled.
Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of an “invisible eye in the sky” sounds more like something from Vladimir Putin’s Russia than it does from America – even from Barack Obama’s America.
Once the toothpaste is out of the tube – it’s damn hard to put it back, is it not?