Flying a Hobby Drone in a National Park? That's a Tasering.

Man shocked (geddit?) by park ranger's behavior.


Not reading a national park's website before you visit? That's a paddling.
The Simpsons

Travis Sanders has a little 3-inch hobby drone that he thought could he could use to film at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Didn't he know he's not allowed to do that? It's been the rule for … um … a couple of months now and is clearly posted on … um … the park's website.

Screw it, bring out the Tasers! That was a park ranger's response to Sanders flying his tiny little drone. Several onlookers contacted Hawaii News Now, describing what the ranger did as excessive and unnecessary. Here's how Sanders described how he was treated when he started flying his drone around:

"A guy approached me in the dark and said, 'Bring it down!' and he was very angry. I had no idea he was a ranger. He sounded very angry, confrontational — like he wanted to fight — and I didn't really want to stick around for it so I just told him, 'I don't have ID and I'm leaving'," described Sanders.

A spokesman for the park described him instead as "fleeing" and justified the use of the Taser, telling Hawaii News Now, "Apparently the suspect was very unpredictable and very unruly and the national park service ranger was really unclear what his next actions would be and needed to stop this individual." Apparently a guy with a drone at a park is the equivalent of an escaped mental patient waving a knife around Times Square. Who knows what he might do next?

Watch a video report of the incident below:

And here's ReasonTV reminding everybody that Tasers can kill people and that the casual use of them by law enforcement is a problem:

(Hat tip to Mark S)

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  1. …and he was very angry.

    The very best law enforcement officials, the most professional, are the ones who take it personally. Every fucking law and regulation was written by their mom, and you violating one is like slapping her in the face with your dick.

    1. I suppose that’s as good an explanation as any for why the vast majority o such victims are male.

      1. War on women. We can’t rest until we have taser parity. I’ll believe we have sexual equality only when police murder as many women as they do men.

        1. Nice.

  2. Park rangers have one of the toughest, most dangerous jobs. They’re entirely unappreciated heroes.

    1. They have a onerous tasks of making sure that visitors don’t pick flowers or remove rocks.

      1. Huh. I’ve removed rocks from every national park I’ve visited. Another advantage of going in the off season. In Alaska, we also removed the glacier danger signs because they were ruining the photographs.

        1. ‘Glacier danger’? What, were people in danger of being overrun by those fast moving iceslides?

          No matter – global warming will end the scourge of glaciers that exceed the speed limit.

          1. No. Danger of several ton chunks of ice falling on you. It is a legitimate risk in warmer weather, but one I was willing to take.

            1. People need signs to warn you of that??? The looming tons of ice and loud creaking aren’t enough of a clue?

  3. Apparently a guy with a drone at a park is the equivalent of an escaped mental patient waving a knife around Times Square.

    The drone was probably on PCP.

    1. You see this scar?

      1. You still don’t get it, do you? It flies and takes video. That’s what it does. That’s ALL it does!

        1. Fuck you, asshole.

          1. do you have any phased plasma driven UAV in the megawatt range?

            1. Only what you see, pal.

    2. Flakka, dude – PCP is so passe.

      1. I didn’t know you liked to get wet.

        1. +1 Gimme your fucking sandwich!

  4. “Apparently the suspect was very unpredictable and very unruly and the national park service ranger was really unclear what his next actions would be and needed to stop this individual.”
    Ah, yes, the old “fleeing felon” boilerplate.
    “I believed him to present an imminent danger to myself or others, so I had use appropriate force level an to neutralize him.”

    1. “An imminent danger was presented, appropriate force was utilized.” Do you even passive-voice, bro?

    2. Screaming at people without identifying yourself as a cop probably makes them a tad unpredictable.

      1. Screaming at people who aren’t doing anything and who have absolutely no reason to understand why some shrieking goon is screaming at them makes them a tad unpredictable as well.

      2. Look, he was breaking the law – he should have *known* that the guy was a cop.

  5. Failure to obey any law, regulation or directive is a capital offense for serfs.

  6. You left out the most important detail: did the ranger go home safely? Don’t keep me in suspense, Scott!

    1. I don’t think that’s the important detail anymore. I’ve read so many of these incidents where the imperative for the authoritah figure is not getting his hands dirty. THAT is what tasers are for.

    2. He did, but it was very late in the night after hours of paperwork…oh, the humanity!

    3. Eaten by a bear that afternoon, so it was all for nothing.

  7. Do we have a lot of critical infrastructure or sensitive military installations in these national parks that some Wahhabi psychopath would be scouting out for an attack? No? It’s just a bunch of fucking trees and rocks?

    Meh, taze ’em anyway.

    1. Not that I’m actually excusing this behavior, but I happened to be at a formal dinner somewhere where I was seated next to the guy who wrote the Park Service rules on drones. He told us that the reason was that somebody had flown a drone into one of the faces on Mt. Rushmore and damaged it, and THERE WERE NO REGULATIONS and this had to be fixed.

      So he wrote them. And here they are, being used as an excuse to taser someone. I’m sure that’s what he had in mind…

      1. And since every National Park has plans to build their own Mt. Rushmore, it was important that the “no drone” rule be applied to every National Park.

        1. Btw, photo drones are way way cool
          For example:


  8. a little 3-inch

    Yeah, that’s a pretty small one, alright.

    1. Size queen!

      1. Depending on the angle from which you are looking at it, three inches can seem pretty damn big.

      2. Depending on the angle from which you are looking at it, three inches can seem pretty damn big.

        1. If you’re only looking at it you’re not doing it right.

          1. I am pretty sure I am doing it the right way, which is to press it up against the window of a city bus.

            1. PUT IT ON THE GLASS

            2. From the outside.

            3. While running along on the outside?

        2. Thirteen footer. You know, you know that when you’re in the water, chief? You tell by lookin’ from the base to the tip.

  9. A guy approached me in the dark and said, ‘Bring it down!’ and he was very angry. I had no idea he was a ranger. He sounded very angry, confrontational ? like he wanted to fight

    This is such a perfect example of how any encounter with a LEO can turn violent or even deadly, you just don’t know when. You get the wrong person on the wrong day (like this person did) and…that’s it. This guy only (!) got tasered. But if he had gotten shot, it would have been the same shit as always.

    We need a term for this, like Rabid Dog encounter (Cani Arrabbiati?) or something.

    1. The little ear-shaped pasta in the spicy sauce? Pretty good, but I’ve been cutting out carbs.

    2. King’s Men Syndrome. Any perceived threat to a King’s Man is de facto attempted regicide and must be curbed by immediate and overwhelming force.

      1. That has no connotation that they are unpredictable dangerous animals though.

      2. Clown Suit Syndrome. Wearing the government issued Clown Suit turns people as psychopathic as the Joker.

        1. Watch me make these taser spikes disappear!

        2. Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… *do* things.

          1. Actually, yes. The Joker does look like a guy with a plan.

  10. Didn’t he know he’s not allowed to do that? It’s been the rule for ? um ? a couple of months now and is clearly posted on ? um ? the park’s website

    Well we all know now. I’d say message received!

    1. Ignorance of the 478,873 laws out there is no excuse.

      1. Except if the cops erroneously stop you for violating a law that isn’t really the law. Then it is understandable and legitimate.

      2. You’re off by a couple orders of magnitude there.

  11. “he was very angry”

    You must appease our angry volcano gods.

    1. Madame Pele demanded a drone operator.

  12. I don’t see the problem – the guy was white, right?

    We all know that when the cops have a white suspect, they just give him ride home and a “Get out of Jail Free” card, and warn him not to be black.

  13. The ranger was already having a bad day. He had just lost another pick-a-nick basket to a couple of bears.

    1. It wasn’t me, I swear!

      1. Jesse!

        (said the way Jerry Seinfeld says “Newman!”)

  14. And we all know Hawaii (as well as the Park Service) is overrun by GOP partisans.

  15. Park rangers are armed because why?


    1. As far as I know, only the law enforcement rangers are armed.
      I’ve never seen the ones who lead hikes carry anything but bear spray which I suspect works just as well on humans as it does on bears.

  16. This is exact plot of the 1997 adventure film, Dante’s Peak.

  17. This is why the National Parks employees need military-grade hardware. Think of the humiliation at the next law-enforcement get-together where you’re forced to admit you had to single-handedly taze a guy rather than having your whole platoon run him down with your MRAP and launching a few incendiary grenades up his ass. This guy will be heckled unmercifully for months, I’m sure.

  18. Only who can prevent volcano tasers? You said “you” referring to me. The correct answer is “you.”

  19. Volcanic Rubbish Incinerator

    It would be pretty cool to try dropping stuff into volcano from a drone and film it.

    1. After watching the video, it appears that not only were all those virgins sacrificed needlessly, but that the sacrifices actually CAUSED eruptions. Who knew?

      1. +1 The Big Woo


  20. That’s totally fucking ridiculous.

    Whatever the fuck do you go to fly your toy drones around? YOU GO TO PARKS.

    This is like having a law against flying kites in parks and tasering kids for flying kites in parks.

    What the fuck is the difference between a drone and a kite?

    1. s/Whatever/Where

      1. Or even “whither”.

    2. As far as I know, Obama hasn’t had anyone killed by kite?

      1. But it’s *poossible* isn’t it?

        That kid could have had an IED strapped to that kite. Maybe he was terrorist and he was planning to kite-fly a bomb into a crowded shopping mall? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THEN?

      2. YET.

  21. Imagine a world where the following words were uttered:

    “Excuse me sir, I’m a Park Ranger here at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. A few months ago, a new Park regulation was made which you might not yet be aware of. Basically, flying drones are not permitted inside the Park. So, I ‘d appreciate it if you’d retrieve you drone.”

    Is that so hard?

  22. I know this man personally, and I can assure he did not get tasered for “flying a drone”. He has a history of violent, aggressive, and unpredictable behavior. Travis is an extremist Libertarian and believes his “rights” supersede any government regulations – he doesn’t have an ID or any registered vehicles for this reason- so I can easily see how he would escalate if a park ranger told him not to do something. He recently physically attacked a friend of mine while trespassing on my friends property and has tried to use these same kind of drones to spy on him. He is borderline delusion, very manipulative, gets off on the sympathy, and is clearly trying to milk the current national conversation on excessive force.

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