Over the past five years, drone usage in the United States has increased drastically as the technology gets cheaper. With the increase in usage, government has been frantically attempting to regulate them. As the following case illustrates, however, they aren’t very successful.
Authorities in Colorado and Nevada have been responding to multiple reports of drones or other flying objects over the northeast corner of Colorado and into Nebraska. Residents and police alike have no idea what or who is flying above them.
The reason for concern is that these drones are not your average Costco toy, they have 6-foot wingspans and are flying in grid patterns across the skies at night.
As the Denver Post reports:
The sheriffs of Lincoln, Washington and Sedgwick counties told The Denver Post on Friday that their offices have been getting calls this week about the unknown winged devices, days after initial reports out of Phillips and Yuma counties caused a national stir.
Local and national authorities say they have no idea who is operating the groups of large drones, reported to have 6-foot wingspans and spend the nighttime hours flying in grid-like patterns.
While the powers that be have no answers, the mystery aircraft have inspired a wide range of theories online. It has to be the work of a Mexican drug cartel, one commenter on The Post’s website said. No, no — it’s obviously aliens from a far-off galaxy, another replied. Perhaps it’s the History Channel looking for lost cities, or ranchers trying to track their cows, others theorized.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Carlton Britton told the Denver Post that residents have been reporting the drones to his department since December 17. He says they are seeing clusters of six to ten drones at a time, hovering between 7 and 10 p.m. The sheriff said he’s even witnessed the drones himself, describing them as lights of an unknown color flickering from overhead.
Although the drones are concerning both authorities and residents, sheriff Britton as well as Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott have been unable to describe a law that is being broken.
“We have no idea at this point,” Britton said. “No leads and no thoughts. It’s just an odd phenomenon.”
Washington County Sheriff Jon Stivers in the neighboring county said he’s received reports of drone clusters made up of 30 drones.
“It’s both weird and concerning,” Stivers said. “It would be kind of nice to know what they’re doing.”
The frequency of flights and sheer number of drones in the air has conspiracy theories flowing with many people claiming it is the government. The Post reports that the sheriffs said they have gotten nothing from the Federal Aviation Authority, and Elliot previously told The Post that the Air Force has denied involvement. The FAA also told The Post this week that it had no information on the mystery flyers. Neither did the Drug Enforcement Administration nor the U.S. Army Forces Command.
The drones have spooked residents to the point that they are requesting permission to shoot them down. However, local sheriffs’ offices have warned against it.
“That’s not advisable,” Stivers said, indicating that it could break federal law.
TFTP has actually reported on a case of a man in Kentucky who actually did shoot down a drown and won his case in court. As we previously reported, William Meredith became known as the “drone slayer” in 2015, after he used a shotgun to dismantle a drone operated by David Boggs, that he says was flying over his property in front of himself and his daughter. Meredith initially faced felony charges of endangerment and criminal mischief for shooting down the drone. The criminal charges were dismissed by Judge Rebecca Ward in Bullitt County District Court, citing recollections from witnesses who said that the drone was flying under the tree line. Ward also said that Meredith was within his rights to shoot down the drone.
Also, TFTP has reported on police officers flying drones over the homes of innocent people—and spying on their young children.
As we don’t know who or what government agency is behind the drones if any, many questions remain: Who is flying them? Are they actually drones? Are people coordinating to defy authorities? What is their purpose? And, is this actually the work of authorities attempting to manipulate the citizens?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.