I play around with video cameras a lot. I have two GoPros that I mount on race cars—one forward-facing, the other is mounted on the back of the car—to get unique footage during races. Together, they have produced some very compelling footage—and still photos. I have yet to be able to afford a drone to take to the sky for shooting some awesome videos at events, but I’m hoping to do so in the near future.
Drones are becoming quite popular. There is discussion among legislators to put laws into effect to curb unchecked use of the devices. As much as I detest government regulation, I realize that this one was bound to happen. People lack common sense, and it’s those who are deficient that prompt the government to regulate everyone—unfortunately even those who do have the ability to employ common sense.
I hate to keep referring to things my mother taught my brothers and me when we were growing up, but it seems applicable again here. Mom always said, “How would it make you feel if someone did that to you?” Honestly, if your spidey sense is telling you that something might not be a good idea—chances are, it’s NOT a good idea. People tend to ignore their gut when it means squashing what they WANT to do—hence the death of common sense.
Have you seen the footage from a drone that flew over a neighborhood, shooting video of a fire was being put out at a residence. The firefighters spotted it—and immediately aimed their hose at the unit—effectively knocking it out of the sky, and abruptly ending the filming.
In my mind—and I’d like to think it’s common sense—the pilot of the drone had no business flying—hovering really, at a low level, and shooting footage over a private home without the owner’s permission.
How about the recent case in Kentucky, where a young girl spotted a drone hovering over her family’s backyard, shooting video as she was outside? She called attention to her father, William Merideth, who promptly came out, assessed the situation and took aim with his legally licensed, 40 mm Glock—landing a shot and forcing the crash of the drone.
The owners of the drone made their presence known physically, and were quite irate that their $1,800-machine was destroyed. Needless to say, Merideth informed them he would be taking another shot with his gun, if they stepped into his yard.
The police arrested Merideth and jailed him for “wanton endangerment first degree and criminal mischief,” for firing the gun into the air. Nothing was done to the men who were flying the drone, who profess to have been trying to film footage of a friend’s house.
Merideth was shocked because he said it is unclear if the drone was used to look at the young girls by the swimming pool or perhaps searching for something to steal. He added that with a six-foot privacy fence, one has the expectation of privacy, and the actions of the drone owner, to him, were trespassing, and an invasion of privacy.
What do you think? Was William Merideth justified in shooting the drone down? Or was he over-reacting?