As technology continues to advance, it makes our lives easier. However, with these increases in technology comes an advancing threat to our privacy. With phones that track our movements and complicated algorithms on social media that appear as if they are reading our minds, it’s getting tougher and tougher to be left alone. One such threat to our privacy comes from drones- both government drones and privately-owned drones.
They’re certainly neat, but nobody wants a drone hovering over their property, spying on them. One father saw an encroaching drone, but when it appeared to be spying on his sunbathing teenage daughter, the father did what many of us would do: he blasted it with a shotgun.
William H. Merideth reports that he saw a drone coming through his neighbor’s yard. That’s when the trouble began.
“Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor’s house, about 10 feet off the ground, looking under their canopy that they’ve got under their back yard. I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property.'”
When the drone crossed the threshold, Merideth took aim.
“I didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air,” Merideth explained.
Soon, four men approached Merideth and claimed ownership of the drone and that Merideth owed them $1,800.
That’s when this dispute regarding technology took an “old West-style” turn.
“I had my 40mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, ‘If you cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting,’” Meredith explained.
Merideth was arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief. Apparently, you can’t shoot drones… well, not in the city, anyway.
The FAA claimed, “Shooting at aircraft poses a significant safety hazard. An unmanned aircraft hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air. Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil charges.”
The police report that the owners claimed that they were taking pictures of a neighboring house. Meredith claims that he intends to sue the drone owners, saying,
“You know, when you’re in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy. 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.”
However, while the FAA has rules concerning how high the drone should fly, it does not appear to take a stance on privacy issues, leaving those who are intruded upon with a choice to make: tolerate the invasion with little legal recourse (as the drone will likely be gone by the time the police arrive), or do as Meredith did an blow the thing out the sky.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I favor the latter.