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Man shoots down drone hovering over house

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by CometsWin, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    I don't blame this guy even a little bit. They need to get this drone nonsense under control ASAP. Legislatures need to get off their asses. There are probably already criminals using drones to stake out properties, wouldn't surprise me.

    http://www.cnet.com/news/man-shoots-down-drone-hovering-over-house/

    We need to talk anti-aircraft weaponry.

    More and more so-called enthusiasts are sending drones into the sky. This means that more and more normal humans are becoming enthusiastic about shooting them out of the sky.

    Especially, as in the case of William H. Merideth, the drone is hovering over your house.

    Merideth, 47, lives in Hillview, Kentucky. As WDRB-TV reports, a neighbor heard gunshots and called the police. Merideth allegedly told the police that a drone was hovering over his house, where his teen daughter (he has two) was sunbathing. So he pulled out his gun and gave it a merry death.

    The drone's owner, police say, said he was flying it to take pictures of a neighboring house.

    However, Merideth told WRDB: "Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor's house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they've got under their back yard. I went and got my shotgun and I said, 'I'm not going to do anything unless it's directly over my property.'"

    And then it allegedly was.

    Merideth explained: "I didn't shoot across the road, I didn't shoot across my neighbor's fences, I shot directly into the air."

    He says that shortly after the shooting, he received a visit from four men who claimed to be responsible for the drone and explaining that it cost $1,800.

    Merideth says he stood his ground: "I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, 'If you cross my sidewalk, there's gonna be another shooting.'"

    There appears not to have been another shooting. However, Merideth was arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief. There is, apparently, a local ordinance that says you can't shoot a gun off in the city, but the police charged him under a Kentucky Revised Statute.

    I have contacted both the Hillview Police Department and the FAA to ask for their view on proceedings. I will update, should I hear.

    The FAA's recommendations include not flying above 400 feet and "Don't fly near people or stadiums." The FAA adds: "You could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft."

    For his part, Merideth says he will sue the drone's owners. He told WRDB: "You know, when you're in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy. We don't know if he was looking at the girls. We don't know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing."

    It is, indeed, hard to know whether things that buzz in the sky have positive or negative intentions. Amateur drones disrupted efforts to fight recent California wildfires to such a degree that there's now a $75,000 reward for anyone who identifies those responsible. A Southern California lawmaker has created a bill that would make it legal for the authorities to shoot these drones out of the sky.

    On the other hand, medical researchers are wondering if drones could be very useful in being able to quickly transport vital medical supplies.

    It's not hard to have some sympathy with Merideth, if not with his draconian methods of sanction.

    This case echoes one from last year when a New Jersey man allegedly took a hovering drone out with a bullet.

    But this sort of incident will only get more complicated as companies such as Amazon begin to fly drones that deliver underwear and nail clippers.

    Drones aren't supposed to fly over buildings. Surely Amazon's flying machines won't be able to avoid such an event.

    Please imagine your neighborhood airspace suddenly full of undergarments, toys, books and other coveted items floating through the air after the drone carrying them was shot down.

    Every day will feel like Christmas.
     
  2. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

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    I think a pressure washer would work just as well.
     
  3. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. Duncan McDonuts

    Duncan McDonuts Contributing Member

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    Good for him. Drones with cameras shouldn't be allowed to fly in residential property.
     
  5. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    The writer seems to have an interesting fascination with flying panties.
     
  6. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    I don't think you want to grant informal airspace sovereignty to individual homeowners, but maybe get some civil rulings on the books that indemnify(?) property owners from liability for damage or loss to non-governmental devices that are knowingly and deliberately navigated on their land. It would need to physically touch their property, though; I don't know whether or not anybody outdoors has significant rights to visual privacy.
     
  7. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    You left out the best part.
     
  8. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    This camera was low enough so it could look under a canopy they have in a back yard and on their land. For me, anything within shotgun range (70 meters AGL) is weapons free.
     
  9. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

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    They have drones that fire pistols now, I have no issue with someone shooting it down over their property.

    DD
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker I lost a bet

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    Not a fan of the ad coelum doctrine?
     
  11. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    Its like Call of Duty in real life now.
     
  12. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    [rquoter]

    Is It OK to Shoot Down Your Neighbor's Drone?

    Before you decide to shoot that drone out of your backyard, there are a few important things you need to know.

    First of all, damaging any flying robot is a federal crime. It doesn’t matter if it’s crashing your pool party or watching you in your skivvies through the skylight in your master bath.

    “In my ​legal opinion,” says Peter Sachs, a Connecticut attorney and publisher of Drone Law Journal, “it is never okay to shoot at a drone, shoot down a drone​,​ or otherwise damage, destroy​ or disable ​a drone, ​or attempt to ​do so. ​Doing so is a federal crime.​”

    Here’s the thing. You might view a drone as many things: Creepy. Loud. Annoying. Scary. A sophisticated robot. A really cool toy. Target practice.

    But in the eyes of the law, a drone is a full-fledged aircraft, and deserves the same kind of respect. Here’s what federal law (18 USC § 32) has to say:
    What does that mean for you? If you attempt to gun down a flying robot, you could face those two decades in the slammer, and/or a fine of up to a quarter of a million dollars. So, legally speaking, shooting a drone could be the same as trying to damage a chopper or a 747. “Aircraft” is a pretty sweeping definition, it turns out, and it could work in drones’ favor.

    “This applies even if a drone is hovering over your backyard,” says Sachs. “According to the FAA, it controls all airspace from the blades of the grass up. However, even if you did own X feet above your property, you would not be permitted to shoot a drone that flies within that space because shooting any aircraft is a federal crime.”

    Under the Law, You Just Shot at an Airplane

    Since when did a flying, remote-controlled robot become a legally binding “aircraft”? Not that long ago—only last November, as a matter of fact. In 2011, a photographer named Raphael Pirker shot a commercial at the University of Virginia with one of his drones. The FAA decided to fine him because he’d flown his hobbyist drone way too low, close to buildings, cars, and pedestrians. A legal battle ensued, and ultimately the National Transportation Safety Board ruled in November that drones are considered aircrafts, and are subject to FAA regulations.

    Recently, people have continued to take literal aim at drones. Last September, a New Jersey man was arrested after shooting down a neighbor’s drone. Just last month, a viral video showed a firefighter spraying a drone with a firehose. Another man had to pay $850 after shooting down his neighbor’s UAV.

    FAA spokesperson Laura Brown told Gizmodo: “We do consider unmanned aircraft to be ‘aircraft,’ but the damage issue is more a destruction of personal property question that is outside our jurisdiction.” The Department of Justice didn’t respond for a comment for this story.

    Unfortunately, you can’t bring drones down just because you think they’re a nuisance, even if they’re invading your privacy. There is, however, one plausible reason that could result in your whipping out a shotgun and felling the flying vehicle: Self-defense.


    One Reason to Shoot Down a Drone Legally

    It sounds like a cyberpunk, apocalyptic scenario, but if you ever found yourself in a situation where a drone is not only trespassing on your property, but is intentionally trying to harm you, then you can probably shoot it down. But this is only if the drone is swooping and trying to ram itself into you, or was outfitted with some (illegal) ammo of its own and started opening fire.

    Violent retaliation in the name of “self-defense” has proven to be a slippery slope in America, and drones could be no exception. After all, if one person finds a drone hovering outside his or her bedroom window, spying, couldn’t that kind of buzzing voyeurism be considered a “threat”? Not quite, Sachs says.

    “It would have to fall under ‘self-defense’ as it is commonly known: to save yourself from deadly force, or imminent bodily harm,” he says. Someone simply looking at you doesn’t cut it. Put another way: If someone starts taking pictures of you on the street, that doesn’t give you the right to punch ‘em in the face.

    But isn’t trespassing on your property enough for you to open fire? Nope. However, trespassing is grounds for you to call the police—even if you can’t break out the boomstick and go all Scarface. Just because you find a drone on your property, it doesn’t mean you have the right to attack it.

    Limits to Drone Surveillance

    There are reasonable limits, though. Just because the law protects drones from your physical wrath, it doesn’t mean UAVs have full aerial reign.

    Many states have “peeping tom laws” that prohibit voyeurism. It’s still prohibited, even if it’s voyeurism-by-drone. That said, there’s a huge difference between a drone violently diving in through an open kitchen window, and one that’s circling around the cul-de-sac down the street. If there’s a drone in your neighborhood that’s capturing video or taking pictures of public places, the operator is within his or her First Amendment rights, Sachs says.

    Another reason to avoid shooting machines out of the sky? Common sense.

    “Shooting at aircraft also poses a significant safety hazard,” says Les Dorr, FAA spokesperson. “An unmanned aircraft hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air.” And, of course, it could also “result in criminal or civil charges.” (Firing bullets into the air, period, can be deadly.)

    You may have heard news about governments building big-budget, Hollywood-style mega weapons to take down killer drones. This situation is clearly apples and oranges, since military law is vastly different from civilian law. For example, the US Navy constructed an anti-drone laser recently, and Japan and China have also looked into drone-zapping artillery. In combat zones, drones actually are intended to harm humans, so in that situation, killer lasers are A-OK.

    Finally: Just because you see a drone in the sky, doesn’t mean it’s a malevolent spybot from Terminator’s Cyberdyne. It’s probably perfectly harmless.

    But even if you declare the drone a threat to you and let the bullets fly, you need to be prepared to face a fallout of lawsuits, potentially staggering fines, and prison time. As long as the drone isn’t trying to physically hurt you, there’s not much you can do, besides call the cops.

    Otherwise, the laws are still evolving. Unmanned aerial vehicles are a new technology, and the more they’re woven into our lives, the clearer the rules will become.

    In the meantime, put yourself in the shoes of the person flying the drone, likely a hobbyist just taking the thing for a spin. In most cases, you shouldn’t freak out. Your neighbor’s drone is probably more scared of you than you are of it.

    [/rquoter]
     
  13. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Good. The drone was 10ft above the ground. Most people can stand on their one story house's roof and be at a higher elevation than that.
     
  14. mick fry

    mick fry Member

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    ^^ Nah, this is an unmanned contraption violating your personal space. I'm bustin caps! Screw all that noise!
     
  15. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    Ain't nobody telling me I can't fire my gun in the air every July 4 and New Years.
     
  16. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker I lost a bet

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    You know those bullets have to land somewhere, right? People (not the shooters) can and have been injured/killed by this.
     
  17. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    I understand the privacy concerns, but what a r****ded response. Firing your gun in the air is not safe and he could easily have killed someone.
    Dumb drone owners too. Just dumb people all around.
     
  18. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    Psh why didn't the guy just slap it down? Must have no hops, chump can't even touch rim.

    On a serious note, the dude really could have just hit it with a broom or something instead of shooting it. Why unnecessarily startle neighbors with gun shots?

    He should just go out and buy one of these if he want's to make sport of it

    [​IMG]
     
  19. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    Time to buy a grappling gun.
     
  20. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

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    You guys should look into a book by Daniel Suarez, "Kill Decision". Pretty interesting 'fictional' read about drones and military use.
     

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