Drones (and their corresponding strikes) don’t have the best public face, especially since the wars are winding down and they’ve starting coming home to roost.
It’s not just Obama who’s expanding (and will continue to expand) their deployment. Law enforcement agencies, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and even journalists are all seeking to use, and potentially abuse, unmanned robotic vehicles.
So with timing that couldn’t be any more perfect, Talking Points Memo reports that a new website dedicated to telling positive drone stories popped up in the days leading up to Obama’s re-election. Not that the two are somehow directly related, but it’s worth noting that the man who simultaneouslyquadrupled flying robot use abroad also authorized and encouraged their use domestically.
Now Americans don’t seem to mind drones in foreign countries, in fact they love the idea, but that love quickly goes south when drones cross into domestic territory.
Enter Increasing Human Potential, a website wholly dedicated to taking the edge off domestic drone use, its mission statement — “highlight the valuable and endless benefits of all unmanned systems and robotics.”
The site, TPM explains, was launched by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, or AUVSI — which, oddly enough, runs a separate website for its 600-plus drone-involved corporate members.
One of those members, Vanguard Defense Industries, plays a huge role in arming U.S. state and local law enforcement agencies. They produce a behemoth drone called the Shadowhawk, which is a knife-point technology for both surveillance and assault.
From a Daily Herald Report:
The ShadowHawk can be equipped with a 40 mm grenade launcher and a 12-gauge shotgun, according to its maker, Vanguard Defense Industries of Conroe, Texas. The company doesn’t sell the armed version in the United States, although “we have had interest from law-enforcement entities for deployment of nonlethal munitions from the aircraft,” Vanguard CEO Michael Buscher said.
So with Obama’s full support, it’s not a matter of if, but when will U.S. citizens see more drone use over their own heads — which explains the need for a very sheik looking website, aimed at influencing the emotions Americans have toward domestic drone use.
Their use is expanding, and sites like this are just the sugar with the medicine. But hopefully, at the very least, the only thing these domestic drones ever get to shoot is video.