• Why it Matters the Dallas Police Used a Drone to Kill Someone in America

    July 9, 2016

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Post-Constitution America


    The Dallas police ended a standoff with the gunman who killed five officers with a tactic that is unprecedented: it blew him up using a robot.

    This represents the first time in American history that a drone (wheels for now, maybe wings later) was used to kill an American citizen on American soil.

    I get it, I get it.

    The Dallas sniper had killed five cops. He was prepared to kill as many more as he could. He was in a standoff with police, and negotiations had broken down. The Supreme Court has made it clear that in cases such as this, the due process clause (i.e., a trial before execution in this instance) does not apply. If not for the robot bomb, the Dallas police would have eventually shot the sniper anyway. They were fully in their legal rights to kill him. None of those issues are in contention. I am not suggesting in any way the cops should have invited the sniper out for tea.

    I am suggesting we stop and realize that in 2016 the police used a robot to send in an explosive to blow a person up. I am unaware that such a thing has happened in Russia, North Korea, China, Iran or other places where the rule of law is held by the few in power.

    Weapons of War

    The robot represents a significant escalation in the tools law enforcement use on the streets of America. Another weapon of war has come home from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. In the isolated case of the sniper, dead may be dead, whether by explosive or rifle shot. But in the precedent set on the streets of Dallas, a very important line has been crossed.

    Here’s why this is very bad.

    As in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that an escalation in force by the police can only serve to inflame a situation, and trigger a subsequent escalation among those who will then seek to defend themselves against robots sent against them. In America’s wars, the pattern of you use a drone, I plant an IED is all to familiar. Will person being blown up by the cops likely soothe community tensions, or exacerbate them? Did the use of other military weaponry calm things in Ferguson, or encourage the anger there to metastasize into other locations?

    More Force Sooner?

    And will robots increase or decrease the likelihood cops will employ more force sooner in a situation?

    “The further we remove the officer from the use of force and the consequences that come with it, the easier it becomes to use that tactic,” said Rick Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former counterterrorism official. “It’s what we have done with drones in warfare. Yet in war, your object is always to kill. Law enforcement has a different mission.”

    Who is Responsible?

    With a drone, it becomes easier to select the easier wrong of killing over the harder right of complex negotiations and methodical police work. Police officers sign up accepting in some ways a higher level of risk than soldiers, in that cops should be exercising a much more complex level of judgement in when and how to use force. Simply because they can use deadly force — or can get away with it — does not make it right. A robot removes risk, and dilutes personal responsibility.

    For example, if an individual officer makes a decision to use his/her personal weapon, s/he takes on full responsibility for the outcome. In the case of a robot, the decision is the product of a long chain of command extending far from whomever has a finger on the switch. The same is true for America’s drone army abroad. The shooter and the decider are far removed from one another.

    Who is responsible? What if we start to believe no one is?

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      With this precedent…there is no doubt in my mind, within a year, LE will use a WEAPONIZED AUV to kill a suspect in some kind of standoff. Two years ago, I prophesied this was coming. It now is fact, although, this time a ground based robot was used. Doesn’t matter. It’s a done deal.

      07/9/16 12:39 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “The further we remove the officer from the use of force and the consequences that come with it, the easier it becomes to use that tactic.”

      See Waco, MOVE (Philadelphia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE

      07/9/16 2:11 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      The resulting explosions ignited a fire that eventually destroyed approximately 65 nearby houses. The firefighters, who had earlier deluge-hosed the MOVE members in a failed attempt to evict them from the building, stood by as the fire caused by the bomb engulfed the first house and spread to others, having been given orders to let the fire burn. Despite the earlier drenching of the building by firefighters, officials said that they feared that MOVE would shoot at the firefighters.

      burn, baby, burn – Watts in a name.

      07/9/16 2:13 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Most Americans could care less about who does what to whom. They truly believe a wise diety will sort out the good from the bad the innocent from the guilty eventually and everything will make sense.

      07/9/16 2:39 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      DIETY, indeed! Next up, not l’il i.e.d.s; but full- blown suicide bomber(s), armed, As ILL !! JEJUNE!!!

      07/9/16 2:50 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Sorry for diety instead of deity. On second hand die makes more sense. You have to die to know if there is a deity!

      07/9/16 3:52 PM | Comment Link

    • dfnslblty said...


      Culpability extends to potus and the police chief and police commission…
      Indict & Impeach each and all of the aforementioned.

      Excellent essay with challenging questions.

      07/10/16 12:33 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      07/11/16 7:02 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “Three countries have now issued travel warnings about visiting the US.”

      So should the US.


      07/11/16 7:08 AM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “It was reported that the crowd included about 20 people carrying rifles and wearing protective gear. He says that like others, they started running after the shooting began.”

      WTF. How the hell can you expect the police to react in this nutty environment? This blows the NRA’s everybody-needs-a-gun theory to hell. That none of these sunshine warriors got blasted is amazing.


      07/11/16 8:09 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Was the Robomber Drone R or D? Was it for Peace and Justice in one poof…?

      07/11/16 10:31 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Obama’s comments on the latest civil violence is fast depleting his thesaurus’s synonyms for what happens on his watch: “despicable, disgusting, cowardly, unacceptable intolerable”- etc etc. Poor guy- he’s just marking time now
      and throwing the baton behind him to Hilllary who hasn’t even gotten on to the track.

      07/11/16 11:03 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile, Chicago continues to exist in a daily domestic battleground where over TWO THOUSAND people were shooting victims in 2016 already.


      Looks like Iraq/Afghanistan’s got nothin up on Murika.
      Frankly.. and I hate to say it, but I don’t understand why the P’sTB don’t declare Chicago under Marshal Law.

      07/11/16 1:49 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “President Barack Obama urged Americans on Saturday not to see the country as being riven into opposing groups, seeking to soothe raw emotions after an attack that killed five policemen in Dallas and the high-profile police shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

      “First of all, as painful as this week has been, I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some have suggested,” Obama said.

      Wishing don’t make it so. Wait until Trump is elected.

      “O’er the racially divided cities we watched,from which white people were so fearfully streaming, rockets red glare, anti-personnel bombings bursting in air…”

      07/11/16 2:19 PM | Comment Link

    • StarkNakedTruth said...


      Using a robot to kill a shooter?

      …because a law enforcement or military sharp shooter wasn’t available?

      And when does the “goobermint” turn robots and drones on US citizens who refuse to comply or spew the p/c narrative?

      Just asking…

      07/11/16 7:03 PM | Comment Link

    • rich bauer said...


      “The robot represents a significant escalation in the tools law enforcement use on the streets of America. Another weapon of war has come home from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan”

      They have met the enemy and it is US.


      07/12/16 7:39 AM | Comment Link

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