Another Stupid Idea

November 15, 2011

Here’s yet another stupid idea from the Department of Homeland (Please Remove Your Shoes) Security: armed drones in the hands of local police departments.

DHS gave Montgomery County (north of Houston, Texas) $300,000 to buy an unmanned drone capable of firing “non-lethal” weapons, such as tasers or bean bags at fleeing desperados. Fired from an altitude of 250 feet, a bean bag would have substantial momentum, likely enough to break bones or kill someone who is struck in the head. Aiming such a device, even with the aid of a fire control system capable of accounting for windage and projectile drop, would also be a problem.

But set all that aside. How long will it be before an unmanned police drone, armed or unarmed, collides with something? A cop flying one of these things from some remote office will have very little situational awareness since he will be able to see only what his camera is pointed at. It’s just a matter of time before one of these things flies into a building or, worse still, an airplane.

Do people actually get paid to come up with these schemes?