Bless the drones! For they have brought us the burgeoning legions of the New Sheriffs (and New Presidents, and New Generals, and…), all fashioned in accordance with Gore Vidal’s memorable line about Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Give a sissy a gun and he will kill everything in sight.’ Drones dispense entirely with the requirement of ‘sight’ in the old, immediate sense. Today, the farther away the victim is, the better.
“I note only in passing the reference to [the domestic use of drones for] ‘proactive policing measures,’ such as those concerning the horrific crime of growing marijuana, which would never be viewed as anything other than shatteringly good news in a minimally sane world. But ask yourself: if, rather when drones are found to be so wonderful in terms of saving certain lives, as well as marvelously effective in providing oodles of information about criminal activity (together with information about what a healthy three-year-old would consider entirely non-criminal), why not increase their use? Why not use drones to ferret out information about, well, anything and everything at all? That is the pattern the U.S. government follows abroad; it will be precisely the same here at home.
Then the story provides us with the obligatory “Oh, but wait a sec…” passage, with the obligatory appearance by the ACLU:
But not everyone is pleased at the growing number of agencies looking to use these [Unmanned Aerial Systems]. The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU says drones should only be deployed when a warrant for a specific crime is involved. The ACLU is also worried that they may harm both privacy and people. In a statement, the ACLU wrote, “Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.”
Sheriff Ahern says an armed drone is out of the question. He says local public safety agencies must take advantage of innovation that’s out there, calling it a “no brainer.”
“[A]n armed drone is out of the question.” Sheriff Ahern doesn’t mean that. You know he doesn’t mean it. He knows you know it. None of that matters. The “innovation that’s out there” will include armed drones soon enough. And then it, too, will be a “no brainer.” That’s always how this pattern plays out. Everyone knows that, at least if they’re honest. The ACLU knows it, too, just as the ACLU knows it will lose this battle. At a certain point, you have to wonder how long, and how innocently, people can continue to engage in these charades.