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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
11:16 AM Tue, Oct. 16th

Letter: A drone by any other name...


We can thank Sen. Rand Paul for unsealing the national lips of concern over drones. Meanwhile, our own City Council quietly has moved to deem Prescott a drone-testing site.

The Prescott City Council prefers we speak properly about its decision - that we use a word other than "drone." What to call them, then - an unmanned and flying vehicle, one capable of capturing images of people or objects, intercepting messages, firing bullets?

Our council must have been hurried to overlook talking about drones with those who would walk beneath them - us. We could have told members that some cities have not been happy with their support of the technology. Seattle, for one, returned its two drones to the manufacturer after citizens declared them no less than "flying government robots watching their every move."

Fourteen state legislatures have placed moratoriums on their support of drone acquisition, while citizens on both the left and right have formed alliances. So have religious leaders, deeming privacy as sacred. Sacred as the air we breathe. The people of Oregon consider any air above the shoestrings as space belonging to the public. A bill declaring as much has been entered into the state senate.

Over time, support for drones will evolve into acquisition. The "flying robots" will grow ever more sophisticated, powerful, intrusive. Little government will swell into big government.

We need to urge our City Council members to act with caution before changing the character of our community to this new designation: "Prescott, Everybody's Dronetown."

Frances Thomas