Suppose you were a middle-aged husband, feeling happy-go-lucky on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, when all of a sudden, a strange object floats in front of you. To many, this type of situation may seem frightening. It certainly was for William Merideth, the man from Kentucky who shot down a drone that allegedly hovered over his property. He is facing charges, but was his reaction to the drone justified?
The report of what occurred that Sunday afternoon can be found here. According to Merideth, ‘We don’t know if he was looking at the girls. We don’t know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing,’
Many would agree, as if you were to look at this side of the argument, people believe that you have a reasonable standard of privacy when in your backyard. As well as this, Merideth did not know what the drone could have done, meaning that he thought it could’ve harmed him or his family.
This could prove that there are stereotypes based on drones and drone usage, due to their usage by the military for weaponry/spying. This is a stigma that has to be broken if companies wish to continue to create drones for the mainstream public.
Privacy is a major issue in this situation. We are reserved the right to privacy, but to what extent? None of the rights given to us are absolute. They can be bent, but there’s always a limit. However, in this scenario, another person’s property was floating above Mr. Merideth’s property. Does that give him a right to shoot it down? It did not abridge his right to privacy, as he was not inside his home, nor did it send any images or information to the owner.
However, due to the drone stigma, Merideth’s right to shooting it may be protected, although authorities state that there is a city ordinance that bans the use of firearms in the city where the shooter resides.
As well as costing damage to himself, Mr. Merideth managed to destroy another person’s property, the drone, which can be valued as a sum of money, along with the man’s hobby, something he may have cherished. He didn’t intend to hurt anybody, as his only purpose of using the drone was that he wanted to take pictures of a friend’s house. So, how can we balance our hobbies, with our personal standards of safety and privacy?
One way in which we can balance our hobbies with our personal standards of safety and privacy is by proposing edicts to local lawmakers that regulate drone usage on private property, along with educating the public on the recent drones being released to the public, how they’re being built, and that they contain no hazardous materials or weaponry inside of them.
However, we must also pursue edicts in the future, after the public is educated, that outlaw shooting down drones, as they are somebody’s property, and they were paid for by that person.
All in all, to some people, Merideth’s reaction to the drone was justifiable due to the circumstances surrounding the scenario and the history of the use of drones. Others may go against Merideth’s actions, stating that it did not invade his privacy, nor did it endanger the lives of him or his family. In a rapidly changing society like ours, we shouldn’t be afraid of technology or the what the future holds. Though the point stands, some may be very skeptical or conservative.
Therefore, the public must be educated about the safety of the new drone technology, and how it won’t pose any threat of abridging safety to those who are around it. But until that day comes, when drone enthusiasts and the general public can come together and feel the same way about the mainstream sale of drones, people should stay away from unknown strangers with their drones, to ensure safety and serenity within the area the drone hovers in.