By Mark Lisheron|Watchdog.org
The fevered debate over whether to launch a military strike against Syria has all but eclipsed our nation’s growing Deer Trail, Colo. crisis.
As we told you in July, the Deer Trail is considering issuing $25 licenses permitting hunters to shoot down drones. With a referendum before this town of 600 still a month off, more than 1,000 people from all over North America and Great Britain have applied for the licenses, Reuters news service is reporting.
ON TARGET: The public is really anxious to shoot drones from the sky.
So anxious are people to take up arms against American stealth aircraft, Phillip Steel, the author of the drone hunting ordinance, has so far sold 150 replica licenses on the Internet. Regardless of the town’s vote and with or without the force of law, Steel said he will continue selling his licenses.
“They can’t vote me out,” he told Reuters.
Steel’s ordinance is quite specific about weapons, allowing hunters to use only shotguns. The town, however, would honor its offer of a $100 bounty for all provable kills, whether the drone is operated by the federal or any state or local government, Kim Oldfield, Deer Trail town clerk, told Watchdog.org.
“We are concerned about all types of drones,” Oldfield said.
Steel has admitted he originally offered up his licensing idea only as a protest against the growing public menace of government surveillance. Oldfield is on record saying the town is really just joshing about actually allowing the shooting up of government property.
Still, there is that vote. And all those people worldwide champing at the bit to bag their first trophy-sized military aircraft. And the distraction of another military commitment in Syria.
What we’re left with so far is some tepid assurance this past summer that the Federal Aviation Administration is keeping an eye on the situation. Firing at an aircraft, FAA public information wizards wrote in perfectly humorless bureaucratese, could injure people, damage property or, heaven forbid, result in criminal or civil liability.
The least the public deserves is some system of warning that license and shotgun-packing hordes might be taking to the fields to blast away at the skies. Maybe something color-coded.
We understand the Department of Homeland Security isn’t using theirs any more.
Contact Mark Lisheron at Mark@Watchdog.org