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View Diary: Rand Paul reverses position, supports drone killings of American citizens on American soil (167 comments)

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  •  You claim, (1+ / 0-)
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    mounting one [sidearm] on a radio-controlled drone doesn't change the issues in play.
    Sure it does. On the one hand, you have an officer who is in the situation, with boots on the ground, who would only take out a suspect who posed an imminent threat to those in the immediate environs. The officer is connected, bodily, to the weapon used to take the suspect down, and therefore has something of an understanding of what is at stake should s/he pull the trigger.

    On the other hand, you have an officer sitting behind a screen with a joystick, looking at the perp as a kind of thermal blob, a cluster of pixels. The drone controller is several steps of remove away from the situation, and disconnected from it emotionally and physically.

    I suppose it's a question of which of these two officers you would trust more in the situation to get it right.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:14:32 AM PDT

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    •  Okay, so lets stick with law enforcement (0+ / 0-)

      and not military use of drones for the sake of clarity and consistency.

      The drone operator would be part of the tactical response team, not some remote individual agent deciding on his own when and how to get involved in a scene.

      The data that could be provided from a drone could easily supersede that of any human agent.  Distance calculations, wide angle viewpoint, possible trajectories, cross-fire, ricochet or pass-thru shooting risks, miniscule movement, all visible details, a dynamic zoom in/zoom out ability to monitor a scene, etc

      It could also be used to get an ideal vantage point of many more situations then trying to scramble officers to available rooftops, neighboring buildings, etc.  It also does not put the life of the officer at risk so concealment is less of a concern and has a better ability to maintain visual contact to eliminate a "take the shot while you can" scenario.

      And quite frankly, I would LIKE the officer emotionally removed from the situation. These things should be resolved tactically and carefully and intense human emotions are a risk.  "I acted because I was in fear for my life" is a common mantra from police after a lethal force incident.  There would be no fear and decisions could be made based on tactical details and applicable law.

      We would also have a video recording of every incident.  How many law enforcement situations that end with a fatality come down to an eye-witness account of the shooter(s)?  Do we trust them all?  It would be common sense to make drone footage protected evidence (even if not always publicly available).

      Again, I am not advocating a more militant shoot-first response.  I think the laws and policies around lethal force are legitimate and consequential but derailing them into a "..but the gun was shot by a robot!" debate muddles the argument.

      These are not autonomous murderous androids using face-recognition software and threat algorithms to execute people at will.  Every drone (law enforcement or military) has a dedicated human operator that would be trained and bound by the same laws and regulations as anyone else.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:30:21 AM PDT

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      •  I hear what you're saying. (1+ / 0-)
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        And God knows, there have been numerous instances where law enforcement officers have made unfortunate calculations in the heat of the moment, and numerous instances where they themselves used weapons recklessly and without accountability.

        But there's a tradeoff: the same dispassionate remove that allows a drone operator to avoid the kind of mistakes made by an officer on the ground also creates the possibility of new kinds of mistake, and new kinds of unaccountable behavior. I don't think the prospect of recording is going to prevent all of these kinds of mistakes from happening.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:44:15 AM PDT

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      •  If no one is there... (0+ / 0-)

        If no one is there, where is the imminent threat? To which the drone is the response?

        Someone coming out of a liquor store with $50 and a weapon - is the current police response to shoot him?  That might be justified if there was a policeman physically present and this someone is an imminent threat.  But if only the drone is present, would it be legitimate for a loudspeaker on the drone to blare, stop or we shoot, and then to shoot the suspect?   Where is the imminent threat if the suspect disregards the drone???????

        •  We were speaking (1+ / 0-)
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          of the future of law enforcement as domestic drone use becomes more prevalent, capable and affordable.

          We were not talking about Rand Paul's silly example.

          My thoughts are that there will be legitimate and beneficial uses of drone technology under the proper policy structure, others were more concerned about the dehumanizing effects this could have on police response.  (If I am summarizing their points accurately)

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:52:26 AM PDT

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