My wife and I recently started an aerial video production company. We fly small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAV’s), more commonly referred to as “drones”, and we specialize in covering a myriad of events that take place on the water. The word “drone” has been center-stage for some time when it comes to the news. From airstrikes in faraway lands, to drunken landings on the White House lawn… From reports of alleged peeping toms, to landing on a rooftop in protest of Fukishima… Media machinations shroud the facts, in many cases, feeding the fears of the stupid and the ignorant. There are times when I wonder if people are just ignorant, or really as stupid as they appear. Yesterday was one such occasion. I came to the conclusion that having a reasonable expectation of stupid isn’t a stretch anymore.
It was a beautiful day to fly. I decided to head over to the lake, a couple of miles from my house, to put in some stick time and shoot some b-roll for an upcoming gig. After burning through 6 batteries I took a break and slummed around waiting for the sun to start setting. As I waited, a killdeer decided I was too close to its nest nestled in the rocks somewhere below the elevated point I was standing on. The bird tried in vain to get me to follow it, chirping loudly and executing a perfect “My wing is broken!” pose. I talked to he/she for a few minutes in a soothing voice hoping to calm its nerves. Of course, that didn’t work. So, I decided to let the bird do most of the talking.
A Beautiful Sunset and a Douchenozzle
Around 8pm I took to the air to capture the sunset. My goal was to make a few runs over the water toward the sun with the camera tilted down at the beginning of the run, and then slowly tilt the camera up to capture the beautiful horizon. By this time there were very few boats on the lake. Most folks had called it a day. The craft that had stayed on the water were of the pontoon variety. Nonetheless, I took advantage of their placement and executed some flyovers, silhouetting them against the fiery disc. After a couple of passes over several different craft, I did another turnaround in hopes of getting one more shot out of my last battery. As I watched my bird return, I noticed that one of the pontoons I’d flown over was pulling in close to my shore location. When the operator stopped his craft just off shore from me, he asked “Does that thing have a camera?” I replied in the affirmative. In a very serious tone he then said, “I’m going to get my gun.” My response… “Why? I’m shooting watersports activities.” He retorted with “I don’t want my picture taken”. I laughed. “I don’t even know who you are. I can barely make out what you look like from here!” The douchenozzle didn’t respond. Instead, he decided to hit the throttle to leave and discovered that he’d beached himself in the shallows. After a minute or so of gunning his motor, he was off to the other side of the lake. I finished up the last couple of minutes on my battery and then landed.
Reasonable Expectation of…
You can see the star of this drama in the photo attached to this article. Well… You can see a pontoon. Keep in mind that I’m flying in a State Park, from the marina property where I keep my Regal 30 Express Cruiser, with the permission of the marina owners, and my truck is marked with my aerial company logo.
I’ve written about “drones” and privacy issues in a previous article. But since then, Rethuglicans and Tea Boogers have decided to take their paranoia to new extremes by making public threats to shoot any “drone” they see out of the sky. And guess who’s to blame for fanning the flames? You guessed it. Rethuglican and Tea Booger politicians. Of course the media has had a lot to do with “drone” dumbassery and paranoia. But, when truly professional dumbasses get ahold of the meme, their constituents yell “PRAISE JESUS!” and “LOCK AND LOAD!” But I digress…
Never try to explain “reasonable expectation of privacy” to a Rethuglican or Tea Booger. They will not listen. As far as they are concerned, anything that flies and has a camera attached warrants a bullet or buckshot. But isn’t it strangely hypocritical? In an age where every cell phone has a camera… Where people photobomb each other as a matter of public policy… Where everyone seems to want their 15 minutes of fame every 10 seconds… Where Rethuglicans and Tea Boogers yell and scream at the top of their lungs in every corner of the public and private sphere… A reasonable expectation of privacy NOW SUDDENLY EXTENDS into PUBLIC spaces? Of course! But… What about god and jesus? You will never hear a Rethuglican or Tea Booger threaten to shoot those “drones” out of the sky. Nope. God, and his fellow peeping-tom jesus, are immune from prosecution. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the difficulty in targeting them? And what about Rethuglicans and Tea Boogers unbridled and enthusiastic support of “drones” killing “them muslims”? Anyway… I have to wonder…
- If a Rethuglican or Tea Booger is afraid of having their picture taken in a public space, and they decide to shoot a photographic “drone” out of the air in public airspace, and/or the person operating the aircraft… How will they deal with having their picture taken for their mug shot?
Go Ahead! Make My Day!
I have news for all Rethuglicans and Tea Boogers. If you think you can intimidate me with guns, veiled or direct threats of violence and destruction… Kiss my ass. Go ahead. Shoot my aircraft out of the sky in a public space. You’ll get your picture taken and it will make front page headlines. Plus you’ll get the opportunity to reimburse me $5000 for the aircraft. Go ahead. Shoot me for legally operating my aircraft in public airspace. You’ll still get your picture taken and it will still make front page headlines. Either way, you will validate my reasonable expectation of your stupidity, and then you’ll get to smile and say “Cheese!”