A Look at the Irrational Fear Many Have When it Comes to “Drones”

582351_10151838178507489_1605867618_n“Drones are flying over your head right now.  Watching.  Recording.  And they will kill you if they feel like it!  Be afraid!”  When I talk to individuals who are adamant opponents against drones, this is essentially the kind of vibe I get from them.

And it makes absolutely no sense.  I just don’t get it.  Why are people so terrified of drones?

Is it the word?  I guess “predator” or “reaper” aren’t the most cuddly of words to put in front of “drone.”  Sometimes I feel as if when people hear the word “drone” they think of some autonomous robot flying over our heads with the ability to kill people indiscriminately.

Which is absolutely absurd.

They seem completely blind or ignorant to the fact that drones are controlled by humans.  A drone doesn’t fly without someone behind the controls.  A drone doesn’t fire any kind of weapon without a human controlling that function.

Drones are no different than any gun, tank or plane our military (or law enforcement agency) has used or currently uses.  A drone without a human in control is just as useless as an F-22.  If there’s no one there to fly either machine, they’ll both sit idle on a runway.  The only difference being that when an F-22 does take off, a human is sitting in the cockpit.  When a drone takes off, the pilot doesn’t go with the plane.  But make no mistake, there is still a pilot controlling it.

Which is something else that I find completely ironic.  Many of the most vocal anti-drone people are often some of the most vocal anti-war people.  It’s those who believe, and with justification in many instances, that our troops are needlessly put in harm’s way.  It’s the same people who often talk about the thousands who’ve died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Well, don’t drones reduce the amount of instances we put living, breathing troops in harm’s way?  If we didn’t have drones, wouldn’t we be using live pilots in planes like the F-22 or F-18?

And while I know these people would prefer our troops weren’t deployed at war, the fact is they are at war.  And these people can harp on against war all they want, the fact of the matter is war is going to happen. And personally, when it happens, I’d prefer drones be used as much as possible with our troops sitting miles away in safety as opposed to being put directly in harm’s way.

But that’s just me.  I’m a realist.  I might not like war (though I don’t oppose all wars) but if they’re going to be fought I’d prefer putting our troops in the least amount of danger.

Which goes the same for our law enforcement.  I don’t drive to work without seeing police officers driving around “patrolling.”  I know cops who put their lives on the line every day and night.  If they can use a drone to help aid in their law enforcement methods, such as a manhunt for someone wanted for murder who’s a threat to kill again, I have no problem with it.  If our brave men and women who don the “shield of law enforcement” to protect our cities and towns can utilize drones to better do their jobs, while reducing the risk to their lives—I say let them use drones.

You know why?  Because the drones are still controlled by humans! 

And while these anti-drone people often freak out about the possibility of a drone flying over their home “spying” on them, they’re also the same people who frequently use Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps or any other number of mapping sites.  Sites where you can go to their “satellite view” and zoom down on almost any place on earth within a couple of hundred feet and see into anyone’s backyard.  Granted, these aren’t “live images,” but the fact remains this is technology we know is there.  Yet now we want to act terrified of it and outraged at the thought of it being used?

I just don’t get it.  Why wouldn’t someone support drones as opposed to putting actual human lives at risk?  Now, if drones suddenly became some form of artificial intelligent mechanism where humans were eliminated from the decision making process, then I’d have a real problem with their use.

But for now, I just view them as another tool being used by our military and law enforcement officials to carry out tasks that otherwise might put the lives of our brave men and women in harm’s way.

Because at the end of the day whether it’s a drone, tank, fighter jet, helicopter, warship–they’re all still controlled by human beings.  And when it comes to the lives of those brave men and women who protect us, I’d prefer if  they’re going to be risking their lives, they be as safe as possible while doing it.

And if using a drone can provide a safer tool for these individuals to put themselves at less risk—I have absolutely no problem with it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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