Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Moaning and Groaning...Over Droning.

If I don't actually remember much about Black & White television, I at least know that it existed. I also know that football players used to play with leather helmets and no facemask, and of course broke their noses during every game. Cyclists could cycle without helmets. Ferris Wheels had open cages. And, your dog having the mailman's butt cheek for lunch...wasn't going to get you sued.

The bottom line is that change is inevitable. And...all change is good. Right?

Perhaps you better consult with the folks who came out with "New Coke" before answering that last question.

I started reading news today...because, that's kinda what I do. And, after learning about Sean Hannity blaming Obama for the Malaysian airliner disappearance, and hearing the head of th Iranian Parliament also blaming Onama for the plane going missing...I was pretty sure that Hannity would be issuing some sort of retraction...since he would never agree with the head of the Iranian Parliament on anything.

But...before Hannity got up the courage to swallow his pride and either agree with the Iranian politician, or apologize to the President, I started into one article after another about "the way things are today" and "the way things used to be".

The first piece I read was about a local police agency in Baltimore, which was looking for a person who set off firecrackers in a crowded movie theater? I thought, damn...I don't know if this guy should be prosecuted for his actions, or...given the Player of the Year Award by the National Semantics Society.

Of COURSE, you can't YELL "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater. Everyone knows that. And, you can't FIRE a load weapon inside of a crowded movie theater. Pretty much everybody knows that "now," as well. But...if you don't actually yell anything, and you don't actually shoot anyone...and the movie you paid to see already has more special effects booms, bangs and thuds than can be heard on the outdoor patio at a Beirut Starbucks...well...have you done anything for which you should be intercepted by the authorities and have your pee-pee spanked?

Or, perhaps you WOULD prefer to have the government hand out your punishment...rather than pop your practical joking cherry-bomb under the chair of a retired police detective in Florida with an itchy trigger finger?

Here, too...my point is that we worry at times about how to deal with anything that is "new"...when maybe we actually should just let the players determine how the game ought best to be played.

I say this...because before I was able to determine whether or not anyone was injured in the firecracker-induced stampede at the movie theater, I read several  stories about the use of so-called "drones," by commercial entities throughout the United States.

Yes, I said I don't remember much about Black & White television. But, I DO remember very distinctly, when "drones" were nothing more than "radio-controlled aircraft". Yeah, yeah, yeah...I get the fact that their big brothers and sister carry Hellfire missiles and kill members of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and anyone who pisses off any nation with advanced"drone" technology.

But seriously...a short time ago, a photographer, using a radio-controlled aircraft, with a mounted camera, was fined TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS by a judge...for reckless flying, while shooting a promotional video on behalf of The University of Virginia. And, this was despite the fact that there weren't then, nor are there now, ANY FAA, or other state of local statutes, ordinances, regulations, or even policies, on the use of these "drones"...anywhere in the impacted area.

Amazon recently announced its intent to use an entire fleet of "drones" to deliver a variety of packages to its Amazon Prime customers in the near future. This prompted the FAA to announce that it would soon be enacting administrative regulations regarding the permissible operation of "drones" having a total weight of 55 pounds or less.

This year...a florist offered to make Valentine's Day deliveries' by "drone"...and was stopped in its tracks, or rather, on its private droneway. The good news is, the florist ultimately received a greenlight to drone-away at will. Too bad the approval came in on February 27th.

So...here I am wondering why NO ONE seriously bitches about the police flying a "drone" outside of the wrong bedroom window late one night...and then PROSECUTES the occupant OF THE HOUSE THEY HAD NO CAUSE TO surveil...(for committing certain "unmentionable acts" with his obviously ready, willing and able St. Bernard). But, when Amazon wants to get my bulk toilet paper purchase to me a day ahead of schedule...it's as if someone backed up over a small child in the driveway.

My guess is that commercial radio-controlled aircraft will not succeed or fail based upon how difficult the government makes it for them to be utilized. The sad but true fact is...our credit and debit card information is plucked out oft he sky, routinely...and they aren't even visible to the naked eye 

How hard is it going to be for commercial "drones" to be either plucked out of the sky for fun, frolic, or just because an NRA Member with a bug up his butt, has a few free minutes to kill...OR...re-programmed in-flight by a renegade band of nerdy Columbia University students who have a tuition payment due by next Tuesday?

For God's sake...the Malaysian Airlines plane wasn't missing for more than a day, before stories came out about Boeing having advance notice about the prospect of its 777 airliners being subject to a non-violent overtaking by hackers and hijacked electronically.

I'm starting to think I may NEVER get that bulk T-P order.

So...why am I "droning on" about "drones?

It's just another example of the government committing truly heinous acts, and then orchestrating the public's attention away from those atrocities by making a mountain out of a dronehill. WE can't benefit from technological advancements which might prevent at least one of us from having to use a sock with the toe out, to wipe his butt. My St. Bernard can't get his Valentine Sweetheart Roses until FEBRUARY 27th...and the FAA has to get involved when DeVry wants to put out a new promotional video.

But, day in and day out...radio-controlled aircraft are killing both civilains and alleged terrorists. Police are taking pictures inside the wrong houses. And, the Prime Minister of Israel just announced that he is more afraid of Hezbollah striking Israel with "drones" than he is with missiles...BECAUSE OF THEIR ACCURACY. To that end...it IS somewhat ironic that the use of radio-controlled aircraft of death, by the United States, now has the Israeli Prime Minister worried about that relatively easy to develop and use technology, falling into the wrong hands.

Perhaps...as a nation, we should have been more concerned about the rapid delivery of Charmin...than the indiscriminate killing of people who have pissed us off, by using roided-out versions of something my Grandfather gave me for my 5th birthday?

Oh...and if you live near an Amazon warehouse...Do NOT be surprised if you end up seeing a gang of "bird-watchers" at one end of the droneway (with REALLY long handles on their nets), ten guys with RPGs at the other end, and a Geek Squad van parked about two blocks away...which has kinda been parked there all month.

This is one time when I agree with the live and let live principle which USED TO BE at the heart of the original Libertarian core. If Amazon attempts to deliver my wipes, and in the process, flies into Old Man Frieberg, knocking him off of his rocker, rolling him down the steps, down the street and into the path of the drone delivering flowers to Fido...their collective pocket is way deep enough to deal with the fallout. Get out of the way, FAA. The radio-controlled devices that you, we and the world should be worried about aren't the ones that you will hold decades of public hearings regarding. Stop the insanity, and in this instance...let the people resolve the issue of how we choose to have goods and services delivered...which we will do, based upon how good the hackers get, or how many of these toys get shot out of the sky.

At least if gun nuts are shooting at my toilet paper...they might not be shooting up movie theaters, or third grade classrooms.

Back to real politics, tomorrow.

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