Drones at home

| February 11, 2013

Not Dorner

It seems that Chris Dorner has the distinction of being the first American to be targeted in the US by federal drones, according to a link sent to us by AndyFMF and Parachute Cutie;

Wanted fugitive Christopher Dorner, the homicidal former cop currently at war with the LAPD, has become the first known human target for airborne drones on U.S. soil. Their use was confirmed by Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio, who revealed the government’s fear that Dorner will make a dash for the Mexican border.

Yeah, I like the part where Dorner is supposed to be “at war” with the LA Police department, but so far, the LA Police department has shot more civilians looking for Dorner (who weren’t Dorner) than Dorner has shot LA police. So, who exactly, is at war here?

The article doesn’t mention whether the drones are armed or not, if the LAPD is at the controls, Southern California residents between LA and the Mexican border had better go underground until this thing is over. Because Toyotas look like Nissans, blue looks like silver, and two Hispanic women look like a black man. And that’s from on the ground, imagine how much shit will look suspicious from the air.

Category: Terror War

Comments (46)

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  1. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    How would you like to be a black, round-faced, overweight LAPD officer about now? The LAPD has to be thinking, “He’s got a uniform and gear. He could be among us.” If Dorner’s point was to prove LAPD stupidity, his point is made.

  2. JW says:

    The “investigation” should be taken out of the LAPD’s hands.

  3. DFK says:

    LAPD said that they’re using the drones for surveillance.


    Either way, Dorner isn’t going to be the first person that law enforcement has used a drone to find in the US. The Border Patrol use them with regularity, and TIME reported on a case in 2011 where a North Dakota sheriff convinced the Air Guard to use a predator to find a trio of men who were wanted in connection to some cattle abductions.

  4. 68W58 says:

    Well, the use of drones along the border by customs and border patrol might be a legitimate use of drones, but I have no idea how far into the U.S. that they have jurisdiction. Drone use by any solely domestic agency (with the possible exception of the coasties) carries with it too many unanswered questions. Does anyone know what kind of policy guidance has been published in the absence of the courts speaking to any of this?

  5. SJ says:

    Every time I see a picture of Dorner, I think it is an over weight LL Cool J that is on NCIS LA. LL might want to stay at home for awhile.

  6. Hondo says:

    @5: he definitely doesn’t want to be out driving around in a pickup truck. Someone on the force might not have got the word about Dorner abandoning his truck near Big Bear.

  7. NHSparky says:

    As much as I want to try to support the efforts of the LAPD in catching this assclown, so far they’ve acted like, well, ASSCLOWNS.

  8. DFK says:

    #4, The Border Patrol’s jurisdiction extends out 100 miles from any US border.

    As for laws for UAVs, the majority of the privacy concerns have already been settled, they’re pretty much treated the same as helicopters. The big thing that’s been keeping them out of the FAA is the fact that they still have a pretty shitty flight record. Predators, reapers, and global hawks are the most accident prone air frames in service with the Air Force, well below the minimum standards that the FAA look for in authorizing for domestic flight.

  9. Ex-PH2 says:

    They think Dorner is still in LA?

    Maybe Dorner was hoping the cops would get into shootouts with each other.

  10. NHSparky says:

    DFK–meaning Big Bear is a no-go.

  11. 68W58 says:

    DFK-that’s probably true as far as the state of the law now, but Forbes reports that there are between 16-20 bills working their way through Congress now regarding domestic drone use http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2013/01/31/writing-the-rules-for-domestic-drone-use/

    Congress making law-or better yet court rulings-to limit the domestic use of drones, wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

  12. pigmypuncher says:

    With LAPD shooting civilians, and now flyinge a drone – what could possibly go wrong?

    I think this best describes the situation:

    This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.

  13. DFK says:

    #10 Is Big Bear more than 88 miles from the coast?

    #11 There’s dozens of bills working its way through congress on nearly any given issue. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t legal framework already in place, it just means that some people want to modify it. In your opinion, what makes using a drone with a thermal video suite different from using a helicopter or ultralight with the same camera package for the same purpose?

  14. 68W58 says:

    DFK-it may not be any different and if those bills end up limiting the use of those platforms as well that would be OK with me as well. Harvey Silverglate has written a book called “Three felonies a day” (discussed at the Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574438900830760842.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLESixthNews ) which describes how, due to the complexity of the law, the average American unwittingly commits that many crimes in a given day. Given that, anything that makes it easier for the average American to go about their business without worrying that they will be brought up on charges for who knows what is a step in the right direction.

  15. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    When the LA cops fired on the two women delivering newspapers (because two women apparently fit the description of an overweight black man) they used such precision control that the neighbors were unable to drive their cars due to so many shots being scattered around the neighborhood…some folks had bullet holes in their homes as well as having their windshields, tires, and radiators punctured.

    I was hoping Joe, or Insipid, or someone who favors the police providing our only source of protection could explain how an incident like this is supposed to reinforce my faith in the ability of the police to act responsibly under duress? If they misidentify two women (both hispanic, one was 71) as a large black man and open fire spraying bullets all over the neighborhood shooting into homes, cars, and trees I would rather rely on my own personal ability to protect myself rather than be randomly victimized by a paranoid police force.

    On topic, I was under the impression that local forces were already using drones for surveillance purposes if their budget allowed them to procure the drones. We are pretty much subject to constant surveillance now every where we go, cameras in malls, on traffic lights, outside businesses monitoring the sidewalks, video is everywhere. It would seem to me that overflights with drones is not all that far removed from neighborhood policing, or a surveillance camera, except the officer operating the drone never leaves the station. We’ve seen a steady erosion of privacy in the public spaces over the last 40 years.

  16. MAJMike says:

    Truely, we are in the best of hands.

    (snark off)

  17. CC Senor says:

    @ DFK It’s a distinction (2 peas from the same pod) but ICE seems to take over where the Border Patrol leaves off. Back when the Saudi student at Texas Tech was arrested for plotting to kill Bush 43 I was traveling by bus through Lubbock and got checked out by ICE, along with everyone else that was still on the bus.

  18. Hondo says:

    VOV: one has no expectation of privacy in a public place, amigo. Anonymity or the expectation of being left alone, perhaps – but not privacy. And even the expectation of anonymity is quite tenuous, based on the 2004 SCOTUS decision in Hibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada (2004).

  19. 68W58 says:

    VOV-the only distinction I would make for cameras at Malls or outside businesses is that I can choose or choose not to do business with private businesses who use such devices and they might be able to deny or limit the extent to which the government can use the footage from those cameras (again, I’m not sure of the state of the law here), but governments have to be limited by courts or legislatures and we only get a limited say in that process.

  20. 68W58 says:

    Hondo-drones, helicopters, etc. don’t even give me much expectation of privacy on my own property, much less “public places”.

    • Hondo says:

      68W58: true. But your own property by definition is not a public place like a shopping center, public street or walkway, park, etc . . . .

      That is one of the issues I have with widespread use of drones by LE. Unlike surveillance cameras (which can be properly sited to capture only publicly-visible areas), drones are by nature very indiscriminate. It would be practically impossible to restrict surveillance by drones to solely public areas.

      One has an expectation of privacy on one’s own property, provided you are not in plain view (e.g., behind a privacy fence or on your own private land in an area screened from view). You don’t have that same expectation of privacy when in public or in a publicly-viewable location (like your front yard).

  21. 68W58 says:

    Hondo, I’m with you on the street, walkway or park, but I’m not sure I agree with an area like a shopping center, which seems to me to be private property and carry with it different protections and expectations. Given that drones are “…by nature very indiscriminate”, law or policy ought to limit their use (and frankly the use of similar platforms).

    Anyway, a news helicopter might be able to see unto my property without my consent, but that involves another private actor which is limited in the types of actions it can engage in against me and so different than a similar platform used by law enforcement.

  22. 68W58 says:

    Above, insert”…public street, walkway or park…”

  23. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Honestly, what I do in my own yard would embarrass whoever is watching more than it would me. I closed down the still and the meth-lab, and turned the Asian hookers loose last year. So, you know, I’m good. If the feds want me to close my robe, I’m sure they’ll send a letter first before they raid.

  24. NHSparky says:

    Is Big Bear more than 88 miles from the coast?

    I’m not sure, let me get my tape measure–although it’s pretty close…

    Although considering how up in arms Mayor Mecha gets even at the DISCUSSION (not actually doing, just discussion) of ICE doing an immigration sweep anywhere in the LA Basin, you’d think they’d be displaying a similar level of righteous indignation over this kind of…oh, who the fuck am I kidding.

  25. NHSparky says:

    Jonn–no worries, I had all the hookers chipped before you cut them loose.

  26. PintoNag says:

    Well, now I know why there’s aluminum foil covering all the windows in the house up the street… 😉

  27. 68W58 says:

    Jonn-you closed your still?!?

    Some West Virginian you are.

  28. 68W58 says:

    And yeah, I’m sure this all sounds very paranoid. But, if I’m going to be considered paranoid for zealously guarding against the infringement of the rights that generations fought to secure and defend, I can live with that.

  29. streetsweeper says:

    Until I read and see of a drone actually being used with lethal force anywhere on US soil against US citizens, I’m not going to get all frothed up over it. Speaking from firsthand experience many years ago sitting watch day and night on livestock to try catch the SOB’s stealing them, I don’t blame that ND sheriff for using one to try and find and capture those rustlers he was after. I’d of done the same damn thing if they’d been available back then instead of sitting horseback or hiding in the scrub brush and timber for as long as I did. As for expecting privacy out in public spaces, forget it other than not expecting people to come up bothering you, once you are on a sidewalk or public park or out in the wide open on BLM range or up in a national forest, you don’t have a whole of privacy. You don’t see wild game raising a ruckus over it now, do you?

  30. Lucky says:

    I mean, if they are going to use more drones, I’ll have to take the FWB and give the drones a show. Seriously, stop with the drone shit, what are we, Europe?

  31. 68W58 says:

    I wasn’t aware that wild game had any constitutionally protected rights streetsweeper. Anyway, if you (the ranch owner) would have used drones to catch people trying to catch rustlers or hired private security to do it then neither of those things would be as objectionable as the police doing them.

  32. 68W58 says:

    “..used drones to catch rustlers or hired private security…”

    Sorry for the poorly constructed sentence.

  33. OWB says:

    A list of those entities which applied for drone license in 2012: https://www.eff.org/document/2012-faa-list-drone-applicants

    The FAA has all sorts of information. A quick search for “drone” produced 12 pages of stuff! http://www.faa.gov

  34. Ex-PH2 says:

    So this means I should stop doing nude tap dancing in high heels on the front steps? Geezo pete, I was just entertaining the troops when they fly over from Great Lakes. 🙂

    Seriously, the only times I’ve seen security cameras used have been to identify and catch criminals, the most recent examples being the hair salon bandit, who was holding up places like Supercuts to fund his drug habit; and the women who threw acid in another woman’s face, severely burning her, because one of them thought she was hitting on her boyfriend. Yes, there are police cameras all over Chicago; they are on telephone poles and have blue lights blinking all the time. It’s a warning to criminals that they are being watched and was installed after long-term episodes of serious vandalism.

    However, there is such a thing as abuse, which is what people fear the most.

  35. 68W58 says:

    Ex-PH2: we can’t judge whether or not you should stop without posting pictures, please do so.

    As to the rest, I have no problems with private security companies using cameras to protect individuals or businesses, but government action is a different category, especially when we are talking about something like a drone where there is such a broad potential for abuse.

    Anyway, we promise to keep those pictures to ourselves here at TAH-right guys?

  36. Ex-PH2 says:

    Pictures? You don’t need no stinkin’ pictures!!!

  37. 68W58 says:

    OK-at least tell us the flight path, we might all chip in and buy a drone of our very own.

  38. A65l says:

    The main reason UAV’s (not goddamned drones, sorry) aren’t being used more is because the FAA places severe restrictions on where, and when they can be flown. Smaller UAV’s (quad copters) can be flown just about anywhere, but they are also restricted to staying in the line of sight of the operator, and under 400 feet AGL. The average citizen is more likely to be harassed and spied on by a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft than a UAV.

  39. Ex-PH2 says:

    @38 😉

  40. Eagle Keeper says:

    Re. the “Not Dorner, Don’t Shoot” sign:

    Since when have criminals ever paid attention to signs?

  41. streetsweeper says:

    They never have, Eagle Keeper. “No Trespassing”, “No Hunting”, “No Fishing”, “No Camping” and those other pesky warning signs, people tend to ignore ’em. Until someone shows up to enforce said signage then they get real touchy screaming about
    their Constitutional rights and such even though they are on someone’s private property….

  42. Ex-PH2 says:


    I belive the sign on the truck is aimed AT THE POLICE!!!!!

  43. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    So Hondo … on this privacy thing … can I keep the goat and will it be kept private?

    Oh … and the sign on the car is sad and very funny all at the same time!

  44. Dan Kauffman says:

    Searching the FAA site for drones will result in limited info instead use UA, UAV or UAS

    Here is a link to the current proposal and request for public comment



    Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)


  45. Yesterday I was watching some civilian dressed types flying “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”, (UAV’s). The clever bastards, in their desire to stay under the radar, call them “Remote Control Aircraft” instead of UAV’s. How novel.
    About 75 miles SE of me, at Tyndall AFB, the Air Force is flying drone aircraft that are modified full scale fighter aircraft, F-4s, F-15s, etc. Sure looks strange to see a US fighter plane with the cockpit canopy painted out.