The long holiday weekend starts tonight after final formation and there will...
Skynet Might Not Be That Far Off…
By Mr. Twisted
Remember that scene in Terminator 3 where the automated drone is attacking John Connor in the hallways of the location where Skynet was born? No? Well, that’s probably because T3 was a pretty crappy movie and you have most likely erased it from your memory banks.
However, though it seemed a bit far-fetched at the time, automated killing machines are here now and could become a bigger part of our lives than we would like—even within the United States.
Drone aircraft have become a staple of operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as playing a role in lesser-known uses of force in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and various locations on the Arabian peninsula. The “eyes in the sky” have been of great comfort to men on the ground in many of these places and used to gain a distinct tactical advantage on the battlefield. There is no question about the benefits gained for troops who have access to UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) technology.
However, as with a great deal of technology developed for the battlefield—everything from trauma medicine to bomb disposal—these advancements make their way back home. It is an inherent quality of the military-industrial complex. Defense contractors develop something super cool and awesome and, when a war draws to a close, their funding dries up because those super cool and awesome pieces of technology are no longer needed. So, they take the logical step that any business would take—they seek a market for their product that has already been crafted and proven.
Enter the law enforcement community. With the growing concern of “safety” among the populace—shootings, drug-related crime, cross-border violence with Mexico, NFL players being out on the streets, etc.—the general public has been crying out for police departments to have more and more power. For UAV makers, this is a perfect fit; and police departments from local to federal see no end of benefits that a drone could bring them.
But don’t think for a second this is some wacky possibility that might happen and that we’re only mentioning it as a possibility in the coming future—it’s happening now. Congress has already passed the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Reauthorization Act, which will allow literally thousands of drones to occupy domestic airspace—like, say, 30,000 of them by 2020. Additionally, the US Air Force has stated that it will be using its own drones for domestic purposes and also keeping all recorded data…without a warrant. So the most sophisticated data-gathering technology currently available to our military is now being adapted so that it can hover outside your house and take video of you doing whatever it is you do.
Hmmm… This makes me think of something…what is it….what is it….
Oh yeah, it’s the Fourth friggin’ Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Now, this may sound crazy to you, but in my eyes a UAV following me in my car to see what I’m up to; checking in at my house because I own a few AR15-variant rifles; or cruising around my neighborhood because there are a lot of “Tea Party activists” is as clear a violation of the Fourth Amendment as it gets. In fact, it was for this premise that the Fourth Amendment was designed. Governing bodies are, in theory, restricted from invading your privacy without justifiable cause.
But, lucky for you, the United States government can’t use its military on its own citizens, as per the Posse Comitatus Act….right?
I’d like to take this time to remind you that the recently-passed NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) Indefinite Detention Bill allows the US Military to, just as the title suggests, detain citizens indefinitely. Senator Rand Paul, a stalwart of libertarian ideals (and one of the few who voted against the bill) stated plainly that this piece of legislation was “fundamentally wrong” in terms of our rights being violated. The bill would allow US Military forces to apply “laws of war” to American citizens, on American soil, if they are thought to be a “terrorist.”
Before you go making assumptions regarding that term only applying to people from Derka Derka-stan, allow me to remind you that a mere three years ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a report stating that “right wing extremism” and “returning veterans” were among our country’s top concerns for terrorist threats. That’s right—of all the biggest concerns of our country, those two categories ranked at the top for the Department of Homeland Security. Makes you feel loved, doesn’t it?
Let’s put all of this in context: in the last few months, we have had a couple of mass shootings (Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT) and a fairly major natural disaster (Hurricane Sandy) that have left a large number of people desperately wanting a government to do more, and your representatives in the federal government have authorized massive surveillance of its own citizens by way of drones and your indefinite detention by your own military—without a trial. One does not have to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to see the trend, here.
Where I depart from conspiracy chasers is that their theories always involve a “they.” As in “they are coming for your guns…” The problem is, in the case of our current situation, “they” are your next door neighbors. “They” are the parents of kids at your kids’ school. “They” are your coworkers. We won’t lose freedom by some madman at the helm of a tyrannical government—we will lose it from average citizens begging for the government to take it away. Remember, the two bills mentioned above (the NDAA and the FAA Act) passed with heavy majorities. These were not protested by large numbers of people, nor were they heavily covered in the news. These things are seen as just normal proceedings by most Americans.
What say you, Ranger Up and Rhino Den nation? This is a subject that has, for above-mentioned reasons, a profound impact on both the active military and veteran community. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment agreeing, disagreeing, or telling me that we should have a “who’s our John Connor?” contest on The Den. All will be taken seriously, I can assure you.