- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
Could drones have found Boston suspects sooner?
Question of the Day
As police comb the city for the surviving Boston Marathon bomber, speculation is now turning to whether the surviving suspect might already be in custody if surveillance drones were blanketing the sky overhead.
Popular Science magazine earlier this week released “Five ways drones could help in a disaster like the Boston Marathon bombing,” explaining in detail how various unmanned aerial systems might have given police the resources they need to find 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev much faster.
The article, for example, discussed how small drones known as “quadrotors” could “provide a wealth of video coverage, spying on rooftops and moving in fearlessly to document a blast zone.”
But the notion isn’t just coming from magazines or from the technology community. The drone industry itself has used the Boston bombings, which claimed three lives and wounded more than 160 on Monday afternoon, to showcase the benefits of its products.
“Whether it is in response to a natural disaster or a tragedy like we saw in Boston, [drones] can be quickly deployed to provide first-responders with critical situational awareness in areas too dangerous or difficult for manned aircraft to reach,” said Michael Toscano, president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, in an interview with U.S. News earlier this week.
As the industry’s leading trade group, AUVSI has launched an intensive public relations effort to convince a skeptical American public that drones can be used for much more than just firing missiles or snooping into someone’s home. Disaster relief and the tracking of dangerous criminals are among the many positive uses highlighted by drone proponents, a group that includes Federal Aviation Administration head Michael Huerta. He told Congress earlier this week that there are plenty of “beneficial uses” for drones, citing weather and environmental research, the surveying of coastlines and others as examples.
But Americans remain fearful that law enforcement agencies will abuse drone technology, and that fear is leading to concrete legislation to curb its use.
Florida recently banned police use of drones except in very specific circumstances; Virginia is still considering similar measures. Seattle police abandoned plans to use drones after a large public outcry and pressure from city officials.
As of last year, the Boston Police Department had maintained that it was not using drones.
Federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, do employ drones to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border. But there has been no indication that federal authorities are using drones in the Boston manhunt.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- High court likely to allow Obama's clean-air rules
- Funding boost of $100M for mentally ill a 'small step'
- White House PR blitz hits states that rejected Medicaid expansion
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House faces press revolt over access to Obama's South Africa flight
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- GOP Rep. Tim Murphy rolls out mental health legislation
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Selfie at heart of Obama fiasco to stay secret
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow