The Slippery Slope of Drones

Through the years the US has used drones to the betterment and the detriment of humanity. We explored space and other planets and we have sent them into the depths of our oceans, gaining enormous amounts of knowledge through the data collected. The success of Drone technology brought it to the attention of other groups in our society, each with their goals, each with their own issues.


In the private sector, businesses have begun using drones for remote inspection, great for safety, no climbing in precarious locations and private personal drones are a step up from the remote control planes and helicopters. Many now allow attachment of camera for a live feed, this has the positive effect of allowing the controller a better view of flight and gives some amazing video clips. However there is a downside, there is the privacy aspect exposed by such advancements. Photos and videos are taken remotely by drones and distributed without consent. These are dealt with often through the meditations of lawyers, but gives rise to issues of the public sector.


Recently, law enforcement has pushed for the ability to use drones for surveillance. Once again privacy concerns is an issue and resistance to such uses has pushed forward with enacting laws that require search warrants before using drones on surveillance duties. These have all been valid concerns for the growing use of drones met with rational thought and respect to those involved, but let us travel beyond, down the slope, as it were, to see the detrimental aspects of drone usage.


Recently, North Dakota has passed House Bill 1328 within their state legislature, which originally required a search warrant before use of drones for surveillance, was amended to include the provision of allowing police drones to be equipped with non-lethal weaponry. I repeat, it allows police drones to be equipped with non-lethal weaponry. This includes but is not limited to tasers, smoke bombs, tear gas, and bean bag guns. Note even these 'non-lethal' methods have on occasion ended with the unintended death of individuals. The supporters of the idea argue that it will allow them to assist in apprehend suspects without a multi-vehicle chase across town endangering citizens engaged in their own commute. 


However, what if they were used against a group of protesters? Currently in North Dakota, there is a protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline and while I have not heard reports of it being deployed, it is not out of the question. Other states are considering drone usage similarly, waiting to see how things go in North Dakota. How far is too far? In person, you can communicate with an individual, there is an interaction based in equality. Drones, armed drones, even armed with non-lethal equipment, is a faceless interaction. The pilot is sitting at a desk or in his car, you don't get to see him, no conversation, only the actions by a machine guided by his will with no counter. The use of drones in such a way is oppression, should only be seen as such. Armed drones are tools of fear, since you cannot communicate with the pilot. Armed drones are oppression, since it's only action is force. Through both facts, I can only see the use of armed drones as acts of terrorism. This brings forth the final group interested in drones, the military.


Over the past few years, the US military has used drones not just for surveillance, but also armed drones to strike at targets remotely. They have been used in assassination attempts, bombings, and missile strikes in multiple foreign countries. Countries we have been at war in and countries we have not declared war in. These drones are used in attacks in lieu of sending troops in, because if we were to send troops that would require a declaration of war. The people will not support another war right now, so the military found this work around. By using drones, we have no boots on the ground, no lives on the line, so it isn't a conflict, right? The drones are able to strike targets with minimal risk to themselves and if they get shot down, no loss of life. Seems like a great method of warfare, right? Except it is warfare, we are attacking foreign nationals in foreign lands without declaring war. So why send drones into these foreign countries to perform strikes without declaring war? The answer that we hear repeatedly from Washington has been, “to support regime change."


Now I want you to take a moment to Google the definition of terrorism….it is “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims”... Armed drones used in military strikes in the support of regime change in the Middle East....that fits the definition in every possible way. Therefore, the United States has been committing terrorism in their War on Terror. 


It is time to wake up, it is time to take a stand. We can not stand by and allow these atrocities to continue. Connecticut is leading the way by banning the arming of drones in all sectors. We need to contact not only our state legislatures about eliminating the threat of armed drones in law enforcement, but our representatives in Congress and the Senate and limiting the use of armed drones in our military. Awaken others to this threat, gather together and lobby our government for these limits and if they fail to act, replace them in the next election with someone who will. We are the final check and balance to the democracy, it only gets worse if we do nothing.


Written By: Andrew Wilson

Read more of his work at Vic.Report

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