George Orwell knew what he was talking about nearly 100 years ago when he wrote 1984. Today, Americans can’t find any privacy anywhere. In February 2018 Consumer Report found our TVs actually watching us. Just like Orwell said they would. Have you ever asked Alexa if she’s recording you? She may plead the fifth because she is and can’t incriminate herself. As automation continues to rise, we have contracted American Drone Syndrome. A nervous condition like syndrome that displaces our trust in our closest companions-our laptops, smart phones and tablets-and in our government regarding our safety and privacy. As violence in cities and schools continues to escalate, can the new drone craze help or hurt us?
Drones Are an Illegal Toy
According to Pew Research, in mid-2017 about 8% of Americans owned a drone. These are non-military sized smaller drones usually with cameras that can only monitor people. According to the same study, 1 out of every 10 Americans would feel angry or afraid if they saw a drone flying by their home. Our privacy matters in America. Safety is equated with the ability to have private space-normally your property line or a few feet within your body. Americans don’t want to be monitored at all. They want to push communication out of their personal boundary but not have communication pushed in that same line. Hence, telemarketing and Facebook bans to name a couple. If we want to communicate or be seen, we will make that decision. Drones can be harmful to our psychological and emotional well-being.
Droning Our Legal Rights Away
Americans have the legal right to forbid search and seizure without warrants or probable cause. Traditionally, police produce a criminal case based on observation, witnesses and physical evidence. Instead of monitoring people physically they can now send a drone. Say a person is at a concert that is non-smoking. They light up a cigarette. A drone sees them and immediately security is deployed, and the person is charged with a policy violation. Is that a violation of our rights or of the venues policy? That person wasn’t physically seen by a body but by a body-controlled mechanism. Drones are an example of the dehumanization of technology in human life. Though Americans consistently request advancements in criminal justice, drones can endanger the same rights we refuse to surrender.
American cities are besieged by violence. Chicago weekends are now some of the deadliest across the nation. A recent study found that out of 75 shootings in one weekend only 1 perpetrator had been arrested. If drones were flying targeted areas of Chicago’s violence, that number would be much higher. Or would it be? Chicago already has “Blue Light” cameras on street corners and traffic lights monitoring action all day. They have not helped police catch murderers because they are restricted from recording actions due to sustaining our rights to search and seizure and illegal observation. Drones would and will be the same violation of our rights. Unfortunately, Orwellian tactics in fighting crime are a greater danger to our Constitutional rights. We didn’t have to quarter soldiers over 200 years ago and we shouldn’t have to now.
Drones as A Street Weapon
Criminal gangs use technology to enhance their operations. In the 1930’s it was the Tommy Gun that unleashed multiple bullets for multiple kills. Today, gangs are armed with AR-15 rifles and bazookas-a military rocket launcher. They’re also armed with technological GPS systems that allow them to track their next target. What will our streets be like with gang adaptions to drones? If they can buy military style weapons on the Black Market than they can access bomb deploying drones? If drones were to become street vehicles of violence, it would be even harder to stop crime that is easier to commit. How do police track where a drone originates? Do we have the technology to monitor our lower skies for drones? Can we shoot them down if they are carrying weapons or will we harm more people? Drones may be a cool new toy today but they have already changed the face of war across the globe into a targeting agenda bent on dehumanizing atrocities. Unfortunately, drones will be adapted as a new weapon in an already increasingly violent society. Gunman can attack schools without ever being identified. It’s not easier that we can find them today but what if we never caught the Parkland, FL shooter? Would the atrocity be easier to commit? We need our skies to be safe for our streets to be safer.
Americans Must Enhance Safety First
As cities and towns across America continue the debate on regulating drones, political leaders must employ all educational methods for legislative formulation. Red light cameras have become a legal nuisance as well as observation cameras on our streets. Our Constitutional rights come first. Our safety can increase dependent on many sociological factors that include increased funding for social and psychological resources in violence prone areas. The absolute use and implementation of a certified and concretely funded Broken Windows Theory approach to crime has been successful. We don’t need observation, we need implementation. Start changing our lives by working with what Big Brother already knows.