Ruby, Don't Take Your Drone to Town

Private surveillance by unmanned aircraft causing headaches.


"Get off the airspace over my lawn!"

Ill-advised use of personal drones in both public and private airspace are in the news right now. Let's start with the private issue.

You'd think it would be obvious that it's not a good idea to pilot an expensive piece of surveillance equipment just casually over other people's properties, not just out of respect for other people's privacy, but because you could lose the thing.

That's particularly the case when you take your drone over the yard of a man who believes strongly in privacy and gun ownership and also has daughters. A drone owner in Hillview, Kentucky, learned this the hard way. William Meredith saw a drone that appeared to be snooping in neighbors' yards and flying over their properties. When it got to his yard, Meredith shot the thing out of the air. Meredith was then arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief for firing his gun off. He's pressing his case that he was protecting his privacy and property. From WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky:

Merideth said he's offering no apologies for what he did.

"He didn't just fly over," he said. "If he had been moving and just kept moving, that would have been one thing—but when he come directly over our heads, and just hovered there, I felt like I had the right."

"You know, when you're in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy," he said. "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."

For now, Merideth says he's planning on pursuing legal action against the owners of the drone.

"We're not going to let it go," he said. "I believe there are rules that need to be put into place and the situation needs to be addressed because everyone I've spoke to, including police, have said they would have done the same thing."

Heading over to the other side of the country, personal drones are causing a different headache in Southern California. It's summer and that means wildfire season. In June and July, while fighting fires in San Bernardino County, officials had to divert aircraft being used to drop retardant or water because amateur drones were popping up in their airspace. So far it has affected three different firefighting efforts, and now officials are offering up to $75,000 in rewards for information about intruding drone pilots. From Ars Technica:

San Bernardino County also set up a tip hotline that people can use to share information on these drone operators—anonymously if they choose.

The strong rhetoric is the result of growing concern from public officials as incidents continue to occur. When Ars first reported on the drone incident during the Lake Fire, USFS officials said another drone had also been spotted in the vicinity of the fire, but that drone operator has been caught. However, the drone hadn't interfered with firefighting air support, so the drone operator wasn't charged with anything. "We were just trying to educate them," a USFS spokesperson said. The US Forest Service initiated an informational campaign to tell people about the risks of flying drones around wildfires, posting signs saying "If You Fly, We Can't."

Just weeks later, officials got more serious. State legislators Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) and Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) introduced a bill to permit a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail for "intentional and reckless" drone operation during a fire.

NEXT: Mike Huckabee Pitches Himself to the AFL-CIO

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This story has everything. Well maybe not drugs, so mostly everything.

    “Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds,” Merideth said.

    “They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said, ‘Yes I am,'” he said. “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.'”

    A short time later, Merideth said the police arrived.

    1. Lacks Mexicans, ass sex and marijuana.

    2. I wouldn’t mess with anyone who carries a 40mm Glock. That thing would rip the arms off of any mortal man who dared to try to shoot it…

    3. I’d be scared of anyone who could handle a 40mm Glock as well. Imagine the recoil.

      1. lol that is the best part of the story, talk about a hand cannon.

        1. Is that like a hand-held Mk-19?

        2. At last, I have a reason to get that new Saab.

  2. A drone issue, a privacy issue, a private property issue, and a gun issue tied up in one pretty package.

    Or not. It’s more of an obnoxious neighbor issue.

  3. I got no beef with what they guy did, assuming what he says is true.

    Its an interesting issue, that we need to have new rules for. I would say that transiting private property is OK, but hovering can be treated as trespassing. Not exactly like classic trespassing, but I think its reasonable.

    And if 4 guys roll up on you at your home, and kick off the conversation by calling you names, I think telling them that if they come on your property you may be compelled to defend yourself, isn’t out of bounds. He may have been a trifle assertive, but within bounds.

    I say the guy walks, and the drone operator walks, and we get a little closer to having drone etiquette.

    1. That sums it up nicely. It is pretty obvious the drone operator was out of bounds.

      I am thinking of getting one of these:


      I would never dream of hovering over other people’s homes. If I did and they shot it out of the air I would not go confront them, I would close my blinds and hope no one figured out the drone was mine.

      1. I want one of THESE

    2. I got no beef with what they guy did, assuming what he says is true.

      Agreed. The only real issue is where does a reasonable expectation of privacy re airspace, end, and an expectation of use of airspace begin? 1000′? 10,000′?

      Let’s keep in mind that the gubmint can look at your backyard from orbit. Any private company or individual with sufficient resources can do this from 10’s of thousands of feet up.

      1. I think it’s at least fair to say that if the homeowner can see it with the naked eye from the ground it’s too close.

        1. If a homeowner can shoot it down with a gun, it’s too close.

          1. +10 to you too.

        2. +10

      2. Let’s keep in mind that the gubmint can look at your backyard from orbit. Any private company or individual with sufficient resources can do this from 10’s of thousands of feet up.

        And the gubmint can dictate that they look at naked photos of you before they let you board an aircraft. That doesn’t mean your neighbor can use his nifty X-Ray goggles to look at your wife’s saggy tits.

        1. Something nothing to hide something worried about

    3. It really is the ultimate solution without a need for new laws. You hover over my property, you risk losing your drone. Your move.

      1. What if someone fires 10 shots into the air while trying to hit the drone (not hard to imagine, especially if the drone is zigzagging around)? What goes up comes down. There’s a reason we have the laws against firing into the air in populated areas.

        It would be much safer to deal with this through legal process. Not to mention that people who don’t own guns deserve their privacy rights protected too.

        1. I see a nice market for short range RF jammers and a burgeoning ebay marketplace for “Drones, no remote included”.

          1. Sounds like good entrepreneurship.

    4. What about drones that defend themselves

      1. Civilian drones have to obey all three Laws of Robotics, don’t they?

    5. There is also the issue of the danger of firing a gun into the air, which would depend somewhat on what kind of round he used and how close other neighbors are. The right to defend your property has to be tempered somewhat with an obligation not to harm innocent bystanders. But i agree that he has the right to destroy the drone that is clearly snooping over his property. I think it is fair to call that trespassing. While you clearly can’t claim complete control of all of the airspace over your property, i think your property must extend to some reasonable height above the ground.

  4. True story: I lost my “drone” when the wind suddenly came and took it. It’s somewhere on my property, but it’s a little black thing and half my land is woods. It was too small and underpowered for my elevation, which is always sees more wind than Chris Christie’s seat at Taco Bell.

    Spoiler alert: I have no neighbors to complain. It was fun to fly and look at the video recordings after.

    1. I didn’t know they had woods in the Reason server room.

    2. I lost my “drone” when the wind suddenly came and took it. It’s somewhere on my property, but it’s a little black thing and half my land is woods.

      Have you looked too the North?

      1. *to.
        I’m told there is a railroad that is underground that runs in that direction.

        1. I would invalidate your whole comment because of that incorrect “too” except someone sneaked an errant “is” into my comment.

          1. Is too errant!!

    3. sees more wind than Chris Christie’s seat at Taco Bell

      Nice. Consider that stolen.

    4. Bubbles: Here’s what I know, Rick. If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, you own it. If it doesn’t, you don’t own it. And if it doesn’t you’re an asshole, just like you.

  5. Was is 80 feet or more above the highest structure on his property? If not, the case law is clear that the drone was trespassing. (And there is an argument to be made that up to 500 feet is still the owner’s airspace.)

    Shooting it down is a different issue. Wanton endangerment and criminal mischief are both vague charges. I assume they didn’t have a local “discharging a firearm” law to charge him with.

    1. Over 500 feet you’re into helicopter airspace, which presents another host of issues.

      1. Yes. 500 feet is the FAA rule for what is considered public airspace.

        1. And drones aren’t supposed to go that high.

        2. Current FAA rules prohibit drones above 400 or 500 feet (I can’t remember which off hand). Operation above 500 ft will require an operator’s license (pretty much the same as a pilot’s license).

          1. Whoa really? I flew electric r/c sailplanes well over that elevation (and took pictures with a 0.3mp camera).

            1. https://www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft/

              Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:
              – Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
              – Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
              – Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
              – Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
              – Don’t fly near people or stadiums
              – Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
              – Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft ? you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

              1. Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization. For example, using a UAS to take photos for your personal use is recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a non-recreational operation.

                1. Please note:

                  – Don’t fly near people or stadiums

                  hovering over someone’s backyard is prohibited under FAA guidelines

                  1. If you’re a couple of hundred feet in the air you’re not near people. Except maybe Charlie Batch after Fizzy Lifting Drinks.

                    1. “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,” Merideth said. “I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.’

                      If he shot it out of the sky with a shotgun, it wasn’t a couple of hundred feet in the air.

                    2. Ten feet off the ground in my backyard and you’re damn right I’m going to knock it out of the air.

                    3. I was speaking generally.

                    4. And having hunted geese in semi crowded areas, assuming he used a modicum of safety, I’m pretty there was no danger to people. With more than 30 degrees elevation, someone MIGHT have gotten some warm shot landing on them (not striking them, landing on them like hail) assuming they were within a couple hundred feet directly in front of him. The reckless endangerment will not stand, though the criminal mischief might (but the fact that he was trying to stop a trespasser might even mitigate that).

    2. Anyone for a net launcher?

      1. A perfect solution.

        I’m thinking a high pressure head on a garden hose might do the trick as well.

      2. “Property guarded by attack drone”

        1. [Googles for sign with this on it]

        2. There you go, Rich! We can get our orphans to build defense drones! They go up and snatch invading drones out of the sky, dragging them to their demise.

          1. Demise? Dragging them to my Discount Emporium of Slightly Used Drones, is more like it.

            1. Discound EMporIum of Slightly usEd drones. DEMISE. I’m way ahead of you.

        3. Where is the drone equivalent of BattleBots?

          1. That needs to happen. Someone get the producers of Battlebots on the phone.

            1. Paintball gun + Drone = Good times.

              1. So long as you aren’t underneath.

      3. A good high powered laser pointer, if you can hit the camera lense, would fry the optics of the camera. Wouldn’t destroy the drone, but it would make it difficult for them to fly it back. Plus once it’s been blinded you can shoot it down without worrying about there being any video evidence of you shooting it.

        1. Just jam the signal. Most of them work on wifi. Some are programmed to return to base when out of range, but most just get confused.

              1. Only if you get caught. I think they would be hard pressed to either discover or prove it.

                1. That’s what no-knock raid warrants are for!

                  1. That’s like identifying the guy who farted in a full theater. Not going to happen.

                    1. *looks around, then leans back in his seat*


            1. Can I buy it with bitcoin?

          1. of course this would probably jam your own wi-fi too.

            1. Only temporarily, that’s the beauty of it. Turn it on, collect drone, turn it off.

        2. And if you miss the drone and hit an airplane or helicopter, you get a free trip to jail!

      4. DIY

  6. How big are these civilian drones blocking aircraft large enough to haul payloads of water and retardants?

    1. Not very big, they’re concerned about getting one sucked up into an engine which, at the low altitudes they work at, is quite dangerous.

      1. Maybe if there was some sort of woodchipper-like device attached to the front of the aircraft, it cold solve the annoying drone problem!
        Hold on, gotta patent this idea.

        1. Kind of like a cow catcher on old trains, but a drone catcher. Nice.

    2. A single bird strike can be a problem. So a drone is also a problem.

  7. I always preferred “Coward of the County,” but that’s me.

    1. But you could have heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the flight controls.

      1. Awesome

  8. Assuming it is not out of season, can you shoot a bird if it flies over your yard? I think so. So I don’t see why you can’t shoot down a drone over your yard. If there is a general prohibition against firing a weapon in city limits, I can’t see how that could be a crime.

    I am not totally ready to let this guy off the hook. Just because he has a right to shoot down the drone doesn’t give him the right to endanger other people or violate laws against firing weapons in towns doing it. I would have to know more about the actual facts in this case to judge that. Assuming there is no prohibition against using firearms within city limits and assuming he shot the beast down in a responsible way, then too bad for the jerk flying the drone.

    In fairness to the cops here, I don’t think for them this case is about shooting down a drone. I think it is about some guy cacking off rounds in town, which is a legitimate concern. If the guy had knocked the drone out of the sky with a long stick, I doubt the cops would have cared.

    1. I suspect that the cops would have been called anyway. The legal theory behind our country (which the Liberals would love to ignore, but that’s another issue) is that anything not expressly forbidden is permitted. Flying drones over inhabited areas hasn’t been forbidden. Yet. Obviously there are general privacy concerns, and that should be addressed. But much though I sympathize with this guy, he destroyed somebody’s property and (I presume) they complained.

      Moral; he should have called the cops FIRST; “There’s a drone hovering over my property. It seems to be spying on my girls. I want to shoot it down, and I want you to arrest the owners are peepers.”

      Probably would have been told not to shoot, but it would have sent Ther Lawr n the opposite direction.

      1. Calling the cops first is generally a recipe for nothing to happen

        1. Or a recipe to be searched for drugs.

        2. There’s no situation so fucked the presence of the police can’t make it worse.

        3. Calling the cops first is generally a recipe for nothing good to happen


      2. Moral; he should have called the cops FIRST


        *wipes tears*

        Ooooh, that’s a good one.

        1. No, you missed the other part — don’t just call the cops, call the other guy a sex offender.

          Call the cops with “TRENDY ACTIVITY AND YOU MIGHT COULD CATCH A SEX OFFENDER!” and they will be there in a jiffy, and thankful to you.

      3. “call the cops first”

        And get your ass shot. No.

        Shoot it down, ask questions later.

      4. Call the cops for a property dispute? Absolutely not. If there’s no legal prohibition on firing the weapon then this is a simple civil matter. The drone owner can sue the property owner for damages for the intentional destruction of the drone. Then let a jury decide who’s in the right. Cops should have no business here.

        1. And if the COPS shot it down and killed someone while firing off the 65 rounds before finally hitting the target, the drone operator would have been prosecuted for manslaughter.

    2. Yeah, that’s the big question. However justified you are in shooting the thing, you can’t just go firing guns in the air if you are in a populated area.

      1. Firing a shotgun in the air is a relatively benign activity. With some awareness of the direction you are shooting and some basic elevation, the chances of someone actually being hurt are negligible. A piece of ball shot is not the same as a rifle bullet.

        1. True, a piece of bird shot would be very unlikely to hurt someone. But it is something you must consider before shooting something out of the air in a populated area.

  9. That’s particularly the case when you take your drone over the yard of a man who believes strongly in privacy and gun ownership and also has daughters vulnerable chattels.

    Fucking. Cosmos.

    1. You are just jealous you are not anyone’s chattel anymore Nikki.

      1. No, she’s jealous she was never anyone’s chattel.

    2. Yeah, as a father of two daughters….sorry. It’s different. Dads are more protective of daughters than sons, on the average.

      Don’t like that? Welp – tough.

      1. I don’t like it and will continue to ridicule it.

      2. I’ve got 2 daughters. That drone comes over my house, and it’s coming down.

        1. I’ve only got one daughter, but I agree completely. Also, due to other factors, trespassing on my property in general is a great way to get shot.

      3. I think you are proving her point. Having daughters breaks your brain.

      4. I hesitate to say this because it’s probably obvious: What does it say about what men think about women they have sex with, that other, older men, really, really, don’t want ANYONE thinking about having sex with their daughters?

        I mean, isn’t it sort of an admission or implication that most guys don’t respect women they sleep with?

    3. I have a daughter, and you are god damn right I think she is mine.

      1. Exactly right. My daughter’s sexy parts belong to me and me alone.

        1. If I wasn’t at work right now I would totally link to that Pussywarmers album cover.

      2. I have one I’m ready to marry off. Any takers?

        She’s guaranteed to twist your life into a non-euclidean hell.

        1. How many head of cattle do you want in trade, effendi?

        2. Your kid is Cthulu?

          1. I’ve never even heard of JW before!

    4. I agree that he should’ve given the shotgun to his daughter and let her shoot it down.

  10. I agree with the property owner here. Flying a drone over someone else’s property is tresspassing.
    There’s no way anyone on the ground can tell if it has a camera on it, and considering that people may sunbathe nude in their yard or engage in other activities they don’t want to be spied on, they should have the expectation of privacy in their yard.
    Of course, he could use something less dangerous than a hand gun to shoot it down. There’s got to be many ways to shoot down a drone. Rubber bullets ought to work. Any sort of thingie that jams up the motors.

    I would think celebrities would be freaking out over this considering what the paparazzi journalists could do with surveillance drones over private property.

    1. I think the legal system is going to have to make a decision as to whether a drone is more like sneaking on your neighbor’s property and installing a hidden camera or peeking out your 2nd story window into your neighbor’s backyard. If I hover my drone at 25 feet above our property line, I can still see over your fence without crossing into your airspace.

      1. I’m leaning towards the peeping tom analogy.
        Especially in an era when you have very little privacy online and there are twitter mobs itching to ruin your life for saying/doing the wrong thing, having SOME space where you can do thing others disapprove of is going to be increasingly valued.
        Not just nude sunbathing, but smoking unapproved substances (such as tobacco!), wearing confederate flag bikinis, and other such things.

        Plus, spying on your neighbors with a drone is fucking creepy.

        1. Plus, spying on your neighbors with a drone is fucking creepy.


    2. Depending on where he lives, using a handgun is Not Smart. Although that’s good shootin’ if he hit it with a handgun.

      Didn’t read the article, but I assumed a shotgun, which if fired into the air isn’t going to hurt anyone.

      1. shotgun

        + fire 2 blasts

      2. Even pellets do come down eventually and at a pretty good clip. They won’t kill someone the way a bullet coming down at terminal velocity can but they can hurt someone.

        1. If you’re using bird shot, I seriously doubt spent shot is going to break the skin or leave a bruise.

          1. This. Birdshot is too light to cause damage at a distance. The effective range when hunting is only about 40 yards.

          2. #7 steel shot weighs 422 pellets/oz. I’m not worried about something that weighs 1/422nd of an ounce falling on me.

          3. You could put an eye out.

            1. You can get 6mm airsoft shotgun.

              If your objective is to bring the drone down and it ‘have an accident’ once it hits the ground, it’s just got to take a rotor out.

              Gravity and a lawnmower will do the rest.

        2. I’ve been hit by BB and #4 shot on the way down while hunting geese. It can hurt, but less than being hit on the skin with a paintball gun at 25 feet. It doesn’t even bruise. I had a very angry conversation with the people who were firing out of their lines, but this was mainly because I knew the guys in the other blind and expected to get a cold beer in recompense.

          Bird shot would be like someone flinging gravel at you from 10 feet away. There is a bit of risk to eyes, but other than that it is negligible.

          Note, I am talking about shot that has been fired up in the air and then starts coming down on a more or less ballistic trajectory. At a steep enough elevation in shooting, the spread is so massive that it is unlikely you will hit anybody unless you are firing over a crowd.

    3. Of course, he could use something less dangerous than a hand gun to shoot it down. There’s got to be many ways to shoot down a drone. Rubber bullets ought to work. Any sort of thingie that jams up the motors.

      How many people have rubber bullets in their homes? He used what was available to him. Mind you I don’t think he’s totally in the right.

  11. Now we know what Pakistani wedding guests feel like. Kind of.

    1. In reverse.

  12. “Of course, he could use something less dangerous than a hand gun to shoot it down.”

    I mentioned net launchers elsewhere. If these drones become common, I foresee a rise in popularity for bolas.

    1. Rat shot could work.

      1. Someone suggested a high pressure hose nozzle. That seems like a pretty good solution. Hit one of the rotors with a stream of water and I imagine the things would come down.

        1. I think this is a great idea.

          And any gun owner would also be proud to have a “Home defense” reason to go buy a 2500psi pressure washer.

  13. The difficult part is going to be what to do when the camera doesn’t face down, but just peers diagonally into the neighbors yard.
    I’m sure there a are peeping-tom laws that can be extended, but how do you know if the drone is actually peeping?

    I forsee an era when people get very very protective of their back-yard privacy. It will soon be considered socially verboten to fly any drone even in your own yard if it could potentially be photographing your neighbors back yard.

    1. I forsee an era when people get very very protective of their back-yard privacy.

      Are you saying they aren’t already?

    2. Either that or people will give up on their antiquated notions of privacy.

        1. How about we mandate that everyone’s houses be made of glass, so that everyone can see everything that goes on in them 100% of the time.

          Only in this bold future can society ensure that the anti-social non-joiners amoung us are properly watched.

            1. +1 Taylor System

            2. It’s my latest favorite novel.

              1. I’m thinking of changing my user name to D503.

            3. See, I was thinking

              1. I _should_ have been thinking, “goddamn squirrels” (seriously, it posted when I hit the ‘a’ link) .

                What I _was_ thinking was Lacey and His Friends

            1. I like the cut of your jib, sir!

              1. *smooths shirt front modestly* I cut it myself.

        2. Committing unethical, unsavory, or illegal acts in the very public scope of your work as a lawyer is not an issue of privacy, particularly since lawyers so often deal in concerns of a public nature. So, yeah, privacy is a bit antiquated in the digital era. That doesn’t mean every ambit of life should be Gawkerized, David, you cretin.

          Lat has decided to make himself Exhibit A. He is pledging to lose weight and tackle his e-mail backlog. Toward that end, he will log in to his personal blog every evening to answer questions about his diet, exercise and e-mail activities for the day. He’ll weigh in once a week?and upload photos of himself to show he isn’t lying?in an effort to reach a goal of 145 pounds.

          So Mr. Lat gets to decide what he relates about his personal life and how he goes about it as some ambiguous concession to internet openness. But you all with your trifling concerns about how you conduct your lives, you’re just bitter clingers.

            1. “[t]he blog really reflects two aspects of my personality, I am very interested in serious legal issues as well as in fun and frivolous and gossipy issues.

              I also enjoy catfishing as a female. Sometimes I wear a skirt and halter top.”


              1. I’m not suggesting the two are related, but here’s what confuses me. Lat is gay, and as a gay man, one would think he has the awareness to realize that privacy is just what protected those before him (and still do) in certain situations from losing their jobs, being assaulted, or even legal consequences back in the days of sodomy laws.

                But fuck that shit, right? Privacy must die as it is getting in the way of identifying conservatives anyone deemed not progressive enough as homosexuals and outing them. Quod erat demonstrandum, ipso facto, and all that jazz.

                1. sexuality=personal=political. He’s just skipping the middle part. I wonder whether he supported outing David Geithner.

      1. Really, the only reason I try to avoid having my neighbors see me walking around naked in my yard is that I don’t want to annoy them. So it’s a good thing I live in the woods where my yard is well screened from outside view.

    3. This video seems to confirm your concerns:

      GoPro on R/C plane

      I don’t think there’s anything you can do, though:

      27x Zoom camera strapped to drone

      1. You can shoot them down.

        1. From a quarter mile away? That’s a damn good shot!

          I concede that your average peeping tom isn’t going to have a 27x zoom camera mounted on a gimbal on the bottom of their drone, but (having priced some of this stuff out for a UAV competition in college) you can have a similar or better setup than that second video for less than a grand.

          1. Homing missles!

  14. How big are these civilian drones blocking aircraft large enough to haul payloads of water and retardants?

    That was my question, as well. Do they ground all the planes when somebody spots a bird?

    1. No, but birds generally move out of the way of planes.

      1. Tell that to the goose in “The Edge”.

        1. That goose was an asshole

          1. What goose isn’t?

            1. Anthony Edwards has a sad…

    2. I’m pretty sure hitting a bird is a problem for large planes. Airports do usually take measures to make sure there aren’t a lot of birds hanging around, I think.

  15. Can’t really blame the guy for shooting it down, or threatening the drone’s asshole owner who opened the confrontation with aggressive faux tough guy language as opposed to an apology for flying over his property. And as long as he shot it down as safely as possible, was aware of his “backstop” etc, then barring a prohibition against discharging a firearm within city limits, which I’m pretty sure they make exceptions for in other trespassing or self defense cases, I’d say he was well within his rights to shoot it down and the asshole drone owner should be charged with trespassing.

    IIRC, here in CO the law has already been changed to consider hovering over someone’s property below some altitude to be trespassing and drone operators can be charged.

  16. Lots of questions for my state’s dept of game and inland fisheries such as should drones be classified as nuisance, small, or big game, bag limits, separate tag or add it to the current 6 deer/3 turkeys or make a new drone/bear license, minimum gauge or calibre requirements, etc.

    1. Now we’re talking.

      Can you bait them with cardboard cutouts of naked women around pools?

      1. “Go away! Baitin’!”

  17. This is why I don’t jerk off in the back yard any more.

    Goddamned flyboys….

  18. Reason writers should do more political articles with this theme. I mean… c/mon.

  19. If he had the opportunity to observe the drone and then shoot it down, that to me is evidence that it wasn’t merely passing through.

    it’s not hard to imagine what *I* would be doing with a drone that was flying over neighbor’s pools in the summer…

    However, it’s also illegal (in Texas) to fire a weapon such that the bullet crosses your property line. So while I am cool with him shooting down the drone, I am not cool with him firing a hunting rifle or shotgun in his back yard.

    Shooting 4 douchebags with a pistol while on his property is A-OK with me. Self-defense.

    1. If he had the opportunity to observe the drone and then shoot it down, that to me is evidence that it wasn’t merely passing through.

      Some other evidence would be the video that was being shot by the drone. I’m pretty sure most of them store the video on an on board SD card. If so, then he should have provided that to the cops as evidence, and if it showed that they were using it to spy on him or other neighbors then I’d think the drone operators should be charged under peeping Tom laws.

      1. Of course, you can’t get your hands on the SD card without shooting vdown the drone first.

        1. That’s why you need net guns. Or to invent a tractor beam.

  20. “Privacy facilitates all sorts of unsavory, unethical and even illegal conduct.”

  21. Nobody else seems to, but I liked the latest Bourne film. And that kicks off with a fun rifle-toting man vs. missile-equipped military drone.

    1. I give that movie a good, solid meh.

      1. Some of the scenes were pretty fun. The attempted faked suicide, the fight in the old house, and… well, mostly just the first half.

        1. Matt Damon to return in upcoming Bourne sequel. He’s a sanctimonious ass and an ignoramus, but I’m a big fan of the series, so this is welcome news.

  22. Maybe there needs to be some definitions of traffic lanes in the sky. Like east west routes at 600 feet. North south at 800 feet. And along existing highways.

    1. +5 points left on your license

  23. Nontransparent Mass surveillance of the public? The kgb would love this country.

    1. Uncentralized mass surveillance, so not likely. They’d have loved London’s setup, though.

      1. Who do you *think* got all those lucrative consulting jobs once Ken Livingstone became Mayor of London?

        For those who don’t get the references …


        So glad I got out of that Workers’ Paradise.

  24. State legislators Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) and Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) introduced a bill to permit a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail for “intentional and reckless” drone operation during a fire.

    And before too long operating a drone will be prohibited in the vicinity of police activity, a la Ferguson.

    1. Re the last, that’s a possibility. Don’t give the bums any ideas though.

  25. Outfit a drone with one of these and you’ve got a personal spy machine.

    Canon has announced a new multi-purpose camera in the ME20F-SH. Dedicated to night owls, the camera is able to capture full HD colour video in pitch black conditions with an ISO of 4,000,000.

    1. I’d rather outfit one with a Ruger 10/22, but that’s just me.

      1. Probably better off with a Ruger Charger with a 25 round banana mag.

        1. Nah. I’d take the stock off the 10/22 and fit it with a 100 round drum.

          1. Hypothetically of course.

      2. Don’t think this is a Ruger but here you go

        1. I saw someone do that with an airsoft pistol to demonstrate how easy it would be to do with a real one. Never heard of anyone stupid enough to do it with a real gun and then tell people about it.

        2. The most important single component of that project is the platform stabilization. If you don’t achieve that, you ain’t got nothin’.

        3. You’re going to need some real mass on that drone to absorb the recoil of a real gun. Otherwise, its one shot and good-bye drone.

  26. I live next to count park. yesterday evening there was a man dressed in full colonial militia garb, complete with musket. Not sure if real, but i didn’t really care. He was apparently doing some sort of marching drill. I talked a neighbor out of calling the cops, because there was no reason for this guy to die. and it got dark and he left.

    That said, I think if you’re doing to shoot down a drone, do it in colonial uniform and argue that it’s protected speech.

    1. I talked a neighbor out of calling the cops

      Wow, your neighbor is a pants-shitting hysterical imbecile.

    2. You had to talk down a neighbor from calling murderers in uniform to dispatch a stranger wearing an awesome colonial outfit? Are we truly so fucked as a country?

    3. I did. that likely fake muzzleloader is a WMD, you know.
      i told her to keep walking her dog and i’d keep an eye on him. so i got a beer and sat on my deck like i was planning to do anyway.

      and yes. we’re fucked.

      1. Her. That’s the problem right there.

      2. Did she “Well, I never!” while hrumph-ing as she walked away?

        1. Difficult to harrumph while sniffling contemptuously.

  27. I didn’t know he shot at the wonton the drone was holding. That changes the whole thing!!!!! Off to the gulag for ruining someone’s fortune damnit!!!!

  28. They need to work out an avoidance system that planes can broadcast a signal that would cause drones to veer away. Could be acoustic or radio.

    1. The sound of a shotgun being racked?

  29. Beats trap shooting I suspect. Otherwise, given the number of assholes around these days, one would think that the nation is up to it’s collective eyebrows in stray donkeys.

  30. There is an obvious moral to this tale. Yes, it is your toy. That bring said, have a care re where you “play” with it. Some people really prefer to be left alone, their wishes are deserving of respect.

  31. California is full of shitheads. Hals of them are in government (including cops), the other half are citizens.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.