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No, Oklahoma cops don’t need surveillance drones

Tulsa World
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NORMAN, Okla.- The burgeoning Surveillance State recently extended its tentacles all the way into Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, when their police force, of all departments, obtained a surveillance drone ready for immediate deployment, according to a December 12th article in the Tulsa World.  Of course, BAPD spokesman James Koch immediately assured the public that the $2,500 toy was most certainly not a surveillance drone, but rather something to be used only in emergency situations.  Warrantless searches, routine surveillance, or as an unmanned lethal weapon are all off the table, according to Koch. 

Yeah, right. 

To understand what’s in store for their new drone, just look to the original purpose of the modern-day SWAT team.  Originally intended for the vanishingly rare hostage situation, SWAT teams are now routinely deployed around 80,000 times per year, mainly for serving no-knock drug warrants.  The modern SWAT team consists of a throng of trigger-happy thugs engaging in military cosplay, only using real weapons, and getting innocent people and pets killed at an alarming rate.  The logic propelling these armored idiots mainly rests on the supposition that whatever drugs that are in the house will be flushed or otherwise destroyed, therefore the cops must batter down the door, immediately gun down the family pets, and anything else that happens to move. 

The recklessness of these fools has been put on grand display in such cases as Baby Boubou, a 2-year old horrifically and permanently injured when a “flashbang” grenade was tossed into his crib.  There’s another boggling story of a SWAT team called in to handle a dispute between neighbors over dog poop, only to end up killing the dog.  It’s almost as if the greater amount of weaponry is in inverse proportion to the courage of the cop.

What does anyone believe will happen once most police departments get their hand on this surveillance tech, equipped with a live video feed?  They will be everywhere, and there will be as little restraining their use as there is in restraining the use of SWAT or anything else that police often do.  Once departments get them they’ll never let go, and the technology will only get more advanced over time.  Advanced facial recognition has already been developed for drone use, and it is a certainty that the police will do everything in their power to equip their new toy with such technology.  A police drone with facial recognition will be able to instantly identify everyone in public, and relay that information to law enforcement.  Everyone will thereby be put into a perpetual lineup without their knowledge, a situation that citizens of a free country

Making the police officers’ jobs easier and safer is the ostensible goal as well, but following that logic, why not just put a camera with live feed in every home in Broken Arrow?  Why not just implant every citizen with a trackable microchip? 

The answer strikes at a fundamental distinction between a free society and a totalitarian surveillance state.  Privacy from your own government is a mark of a free society, whereas a network of 170 million surveillance cameras is the mark of the government as jailer, citizens as inmates, as it is in China today

A free people should not allow their government a greater ability to track and monitor them.  States throughout history have shown in disturbing regularity a desire to enslave and exterminate their citizens.  People are still the same, and governments are still the same.  Only now, the governments of the world have access to technology that will make the subjugation of their citizens far easier. That’s the argument against surveillance drones and the one that justifies vigorous resistance to the rising Surveillance State itself.

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Shane Smith

Shane Smith is an accountant and freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in economics from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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