Remember last year when Judge Andrew Napolitano commented on Fox News that “The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero”?
Well the town of Deer Trail, Colorado might end up with a whole town full of ‘American heroes’…and they might get paid for being patriots, too.
In a time when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that we could see 30,000 drones buzzing around in America’s skies by 2020, the small Colorado farming community is currently considering an ordinance that would allow people to pay $25 for a drone hunting license. The deal gets sweeter, as official Deer Trail drone hunters who can produce identifiable pieces of an unmanned aerial vehicle they shot down with it could also make a quick hundred bucks.
The FAA has now warned the town that shooting down drones could result in criminal and/or civil penalties in the same way shooting at an airplane would. Yahoo! News reports:
Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, 48, author of the proposal, said in an interview that he has 28 signatures on a petition — roughly 10 percent of the town’s registered voters. Under Colorado law, that requires local officials to formally consider the proposal at a meeting next month… The proposed ordinance is mostly a symbolic protest against small, civilian drones that are coming into use in the United States, Steel said.
“I don’t want to live in a surveillance society. I don’t feel like being in a virtual prison,” Steel said. “This is a pre-emptive strike.” He dismissed the FAA’s warning. “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law,” he said.
Earlier this year, Charlottesville, Virginia became the first city to formally pass anti-drone legislation “prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court.”
Then the Missouri House went beyond just passing a bill to stop warrantless domestic drone surveillance; the state’s bill also required drone pilots (drone piloting organizations, included) to seek permission from property owners before any surveillance could be performed.
Now, Iowa City, Iowa may be the first city in the nation to pass a sweeping anti-surveillance drone law. Last month the city flat out banned drones altogether (along with most traffic enforcement cameras and license plate scanners).
While the FAA is still trying to work out details on drone safety regulations the organization is supposed to come up with (clock is ticking, guys!), that sentiment doesn’t really make many Americans — who worry everything from their privacy to their personal safety is put at risk here — feel better about the coming drone invasion.
The majority of polls show that, the closer to home drones get, the less comfortable Americans are with them.
But surely we have every reason to trust government entities won’t ignore the Constitution and our Bill of Rights when it comes to using drones, right? Surely all these drones are merely for our safety, right?
Just as I was writing this story, The Washington Post put out a new story on the U.S. military’s secretive Operation Nomad Shadow in the Middle East with a headline, “U.S. military drone surveillance is expanding to hot spots beyond declared combat zones“.
Add stories like that to the fact that it has been made crystal clear even to those who haven’t been paying attention all this time that our government (via the National Security Administration among others) is openly wholesale spying on the American people all the time already via our Internet and phone lines.
Add that to the fact that Senator Rand Paul had to filibuster for 13 hours to get Attorney General Eric Holder to respond to questions on whether or not our government thought it had the legal authority to strike a U.S. citizen with a weaponized drone on U.S. soil (the Department of Homeland Security does own 24 predator drones on record, after all). Instead of just answering with “That’s unconstitutional” or even a simple “No,” Holder rephrased Paul’s question and responded with, “‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
There’s a not-too-subtle semantic difference there, considering the National Defense Authorization Act has essentially already declared American soil a “battlefield”.
Now add all that to the fact that every horrid thing which has been done to our liberties since 9/11 in this country — supposedly in the name of “our safety” — has ultimately ended up sucking away more and more of our rights (in addition to the NSA, see the Transportation Security Administration as well for even more on that) while failing to actually stop any terrorists or keep anyone all that safe in the meantime (see the Boston marathon bombing for more on that).