While it may appear that the flying of drones for law enforcement and emergency purposes in Virginia is laudable, its main consequence will be to turn Virginia even further down the path of a police state. On Wednesday, the Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of prohibiting the flying of drones for two years, allowing time to analyze the consequences of the use of drones by law-enforcement and government agencies.
After law enforcement agencies opposed the restrictive use of drones, Del. C. Todd Gilbert “rolled” his bill into House Bill 2012, sponsored by Del. Benjamin L. Cline. House Bill 2012 proposed a moratorium on the use of drones akin to Sen. Donald McEachin’s Senate Bill 1331.
While no law-enforcement agencies in Virginia fly drones at present, Russell County Sheriff’s Department bought two drones in the summer of 2012.
It’s not difficult to understand why law-enforcement agencies would want drones in their efforts to abate crime and find missing individuals, but the endless search for greater ‘law-enforcement tools’ can and will only lead down unintended paths with more negative consequences than less.
I’m not a tea party “the government is out to get me” kind of guy, but I do have a big problem with technology used in war zones to track, capture, and kill suspected terrorists being used in our own country.
For one thing, the mere thought of an unmanned aerial aircraft hovering in the skies of Virginia gives me the willies and throws me into the dystopian world of 1984. If we allow drones, what next? Implantable chips into each Virginian? What is the line between wanting to stop crime and preserving individual liberty and privacy? Where do we as a society finally draw the line?
Just as importantly, if we have to fly drones in our skies to halt or reduce crime, then our society has a much deeper problem that drones will not address. Here again, instead of focusing on poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunity, just to name a few, WE HAVE CHOSEN to focus on the symptoms of the deeper problems.
But like anyone who has survived cancer will tell you, without getting to the root-cause of the problem , the symptoms will keep arising, perhaps with even greater violence.