Thursday, March 3, 2016

Quickies: You’re Not Just Being Watched

     At least, present trends continuing, pretty soon you won’t be:

     Connecticut — Police are now voicing their concerns about domestic drone use — specifically, they want the option to be able to employ weaponized drones in the future, should the need arise.

     As if police brutality and aggression weren’t already an epidemic in the United States, police departments in Connecticut oppose a bill to outlaw the weaponization of drones. The bill also address unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with cameras, and their potential to violate the privacy rights of individuals. But law enforcement departments in the state appear far more concerned with being deprived of the possibility of arming them with weapons, rather than cameras.

     This isn’t wild-eyed conspiracy-mongering blather. Fox 61 in Hartford, Connecticut has reported on it.

     Connecticut is the state that went “anti-gun” crazy after the Sandy Hook atrocity. The very same state that’s straining to yank the guns away from private, law abiding citizens wants the privilege of flying armed police drones. Ponder that for a moment.

     Anyone out there saying “It can’t happen here?” You might be surprised:

     In 2015, North Dakota passed a law granting police the right to arm drones with “less than lethal” weaponry. Quietly slipping under the radar of the public and the media, the bill as originally written by its sponsor, Representative Rick Becker, banned all weapons on police drones — until a powerful police lobby had its way with the original draft.

     “Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. ‘Less than lethal’ weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones,” Justin Glawe reported for The Daily Beast in August.

     But let’s go back to the first quoted snippet. Focus on that phrase “should the need arise.” Who defines the “need?” Who will sit in determination of whether the “need” has arisen? What criteria for qualifying the “need” are to be written into the law?

     Imagine having a loud fight with your spouse. Nearly every married couple has one, now and then. Imagine that you've left a window open. Imagine that a busybody neighbor hears it and calls it in to the local precinct...and imagine that when you storm out your front door, intending nothing more violent than sitting in your car, a drone – oh, to be sure, armed with nothing “lethal,” merely rubber bullets, a Taser, and tear gas – draws a crosshairs over you and lets you have it. For arguing with your wife.

     It needn’t even come to that. The drone might be equipped with a loudspeaker. It might merely blast out 120 decibels of “Lie face down on the ground!” You know, so the whole neighborhood can hear what a scumbag you are.

     Are the police your friends, Gentle Reader? Are you sure of that?


brinster said...

Hell, I'm gonna get some brown shoe polish, spread it on all visible areas and cry racism if they come gunning for me.

Anonymous said...

I retired from the job eleven years ago. I'm glad I did because this is insane.

Anonymous said...

The poor have known for several decades that the cops are not their friend. Now the middle class is learning the same.