police

Virginia governor backs domestic spy drones for police use

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: spy drones, police, surveillance

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(NaturalNews) Call it a judicious use of modern technology if you want to, but the fact is the increasing use of military-style drones for domestic surveillance is becoming alarming, and it's an issue that, sooner or later, either Congress or the courts are going to have to deal with as more Americans become concerned about their privacy.

Drones are now being endorsed in some of the highest offices, the latest to include the governor of Virginia. Republican Bob McDonnell, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, not only backs the use of drones by police, he went further to say deploying them to monitor citizens of the Commonwealth is "the right thing to do."

Granted, it's hard to tell the two major political parties apart these days, but isn't the Republican Party supposed to be the party of a smaller, less intrusive government? Not if you're a McDonnell Republican, apparently. He says there's no problem bringing this lethal military technology (lethal when drones are armed, that is) to civilian policing.

Violating the rights of citizens is 'great'

"I think it's great, I think we ought to be using technology to make law enforcement more productive, cuts down on manpower and also more safe, that's why we use it on the battlefield," McDonnell enthusiastically told local radio station WTOP.

"If you're keeping police officers safe, making it more productive and saving money [...] it's absolutely the right thing to do," he said.

McDonnell is not alone. In April, Fairfax County, Va., police chief David Rohrer told the same radio station that "drones will certainly have a purpose and a reason to be in this region in the next, coming years."

It seems that in the Commonwealth of Virginia, home to George Washington, our first president and commander-in-chief, privacy comes at a premium.

Well, gee - where to begin?

First and foremost, the use of spy drones - sorry, "surveillance" drones - is an issue that needs to be addressed by Congress, and fast. Simply being in the public domain - to shop, to go to work, to eat at a restaurant, to take your kids to a park - is not "probable cause" for police or federal agencies to watch you. Simply being in the public domain does not mean you surrender your basic constitutional rights, one of which is the right to privacy. If you're suspected of committing a crime (being in public in and of itself is not a crime) then fine, let the cops keep an eye on you anyway they want (as long as they have a warrant).

Also, McDonnell's justification for allowing police departments virtually limitless use of drones is making our founding fathers roll over in their graves. He threw out some platitudes about "protecting civil rights" in his WTOP interview, but just how is police use of the drones to be monitored? Who is going to watch the police?

Robots, zombies and politicians

Next governor, just how does a spy drone make police officers safer? And besides, isn't it the primary job of police departments (and the governor's office and his attorney general) to make the public safer - all while protecting their civil and constitutional rights? No one wants to see police endangered, but you can't allow them to violate citizens' basic Bill of Rights in the performance of their duties.

Like robots or zombies, advocates of bypassing the Constitution's basic protections - regardless of their political affiliation - always use the same excuses: We're doing this for your own good; we're doing this to better protect you; we're doing this because it'll save you money.

Throughout history, tyrants of all stripes have always trampled the people's rights, using the excuse that it's "for our own good."

As for McDonnell, someone should remind him that police officers are not soldiers, Virginia is not a battlefield, and his citizens are not the enemy.

Sources for this article include:

http://hamptonroads.com

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/12/the_growing_menace_of_domestic_drones/

http://online.wsj.com

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