My reaction to a news item about the Orange County Sheriff's Department considering the use of drones is pretty much the same as my reaction to the recent re-revelations about the federal government spying on U.S. citizens. I figured cops were already using drones here, just like I figured NSA spying has been going on since the Bush administration and everyone knows it.
Part of the reason for my ho-hum attitude toward unmanned aerial vehicles is that every time I write about a UFO sighting in OC skies, some smarty responds in the comments, “Pfft, it's just a drone, dude, chillax. And stop picking at that. Gross …”
By the way, the less nonplussed we are by this shit, the more Orwellian it all seems when you take a step back and collectively consider drones, warrant-less wiretaps, arrests and imprisonments without formal charges, unjustified searches, unjustified seizures, Miranda rights going the way of Carmen Miranda (she's dead), unique numbers on computer chips slid under the skin behind our ears when the dentist puts us out for a “root canal,” etc., etc.
If only someone would start making soap boxes I would step off mine now to tell you Patch.com had the item I caught on the sheriff's department thinking drones can help with search and rescue missions, SWAT incidents, hostage situations and “more”–that wonderful word “authorities” use for all sorts of things worthy and, to the average citizen and paranoid alike, fucking scary.
Although, having a rare Sunday afternoon nap ruined a couple weekends back by a law enforcement helicopter I swear was trying to get close enough to read the label on my boardshorts, I can second this emotion from the sheriff's department: drones may eventually replace those goddamn loud and stinky ghetto birds.
At less cost and more mobility, Ms. Hutchens might add. Operating a helicopter can reportedly eat up to $1,200 per hour while some drones can do the same or more jobs for less than $25 per hour. And they don't need dental insurance or fart in the cockpit.
So it comes down to the age-old question of whether forfeiting more of our privacy is worth the “benefits.” Some will give a flat out no, and others will say if you're doing nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about being spied upon. Just look into the sky and give a wink to Big Brother, he always has our best interests at heart, right?