The Dallas Police Department’s unprecedented use of an explosive-laden robot to kill an armed suspect ushers in a new phase in the militarization of U.S. police departments.
The tactic illustrates what police see as the new opportunities for self-defense presented by advancing technologies and the transfer of second-hand military equipment to local police departments.
But it also raises difficult ethical questions about how and when such technologies should be deployed in a civilian setting to allow police to kill a suspect while facing little or no risk. (source)
A kind of drone (another word for robot) essentially dropped a bomb on an American citizen. A civilian.
In some ways, we have entered a new era because clearly other police departments are impressed with the result and already have the equipment.
The reasoning will be to end an active shooter situation without further loss of life.
Think about it: It's a first. It seems we have crossed a kind of Rubicon here similar, in some ways, to other firsts such as the first use of gunpowder, the Gatling gun, or the atomic bomb.
Sounds scary, perhaps, but there may be upsides. Imagine an American with streets patrolled by robocops. Think about the recent shooting of a black driver in Minnesota. An officer, perhaps fearful of young black males, suspecting (imagining) that the driver was about to produce a weapon, opened fire. Substitute a robot. No fear for its life. No attitudes regarding black men. No nervousness or jumpiness. No itchy trigger finger. It might have turned out much differently. Even if the driver was a bad guy. What would be the point of shooting? It's a fucking robot.
“The further we remove the officer from the use of force and the consequences that come with it, the easier it becomes to use that tactic,” said Rick Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former counterterrorism official on the National Security Council. “It’s what we have done with drones in warfare.”
“In warfare, your object is to kill,” he added. “Law enforcement has a different mission.”
Other law enforcement officials supported the decision, suggesting they could take a similar approach if the situation called for it. At a news conference on Friday, New York’s police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said that while he was waiting to find out precisely what the Dallas police did, “we have that capability.” (source)
So if they burst in and had a shoot out, and blew him to bits with a hail of lead, that's better?
If they can use lethal force, such as shooting him, they can also throw a grenade and blow him up...same difference.
If they can't throw the grenade right at him, and do a bounce of it to get around a corner, is that wrong?
If they have to tie a string to it and swing it around the corner, its more wrong?
If they have a butler deliver it on a silver platter, and then depart prior to the explosion, is that more wrong?
If the butler is a bomb proof robot, and doesn't have to depart first, is THAT more wrong?
What if the cops guns could fire guided bullets that homed in on bad guys? Is that wrong?
Essentially, if they would have been justified in storming the place and shooting at him...I don't think its somehow wrong to expect the bad guy to die.
Now, if the scenario was not a barricaded bad guy who was killing people, and, who wanted to kill the cops more than he wanted anything else...
Say, instead he was a bad guy suspected of robbing a bank last week, and they found him wandering by a security camera at the mall...and released a drone to kill him, ok, that's not the same thing as terminating a shootout AT the bank, etc.
AT the bank, you KNOW he's the perp...he's shooting at people......and is not going to stop so you can have a trial
Same with this bozo shooting cops...you want to be the cop who has to wade into a hail of gunfire with a guy who is OK dying if he takes you with him?
On the flip side, lets say this was a common enough problem that departments across the country has robots that were designed to wrestle the guy or team of bad guys, to the ground, disarm them, and hold them, sure...that's better...but hella expensive given the number of police departments, and, the number of times each is expected to need this.
Even a bomb that gave off a paralytic gas, etc...so it would work too fast for the perp to react...would be better, but, again, how many times is this scenario going to happen?
The larger the room, the larger the gas cloud needs to be to have the needed concentration. How are hostages impacted? And so forth.
This department thought on the fly and I think made a decent choice with what resources they had.
Suppose he had negotiated for a meal. Would it have been okay if he'd been delivered a cyanide-laced soft drink?
Basically, I'm asking this: No matter how bad the bad guy and how sure you have the right guy, should lethal tactics only be used in a moment of self-defense or should they also be used even in cases where you are possibly (not certainly) preventing further lethal bloodshed that is merely potential?
Shouldn't capture be the #1 priority under every circumstance where it's possible and definitely where you are not preventing an immediate lethal action?
No replies to this question? Where does it stop? How to decide when it's appropriate to end a situation by simply killing the suspect rather than apprehending him?
He was no longer actively shooting at the time. If bombing him is okay, how about chemical weapons? Mustard gas? Sarin, Ricin, Mustard, Chlorine gas?
What should the rules be?
I think of it as robo jihadi.
Dallas police earn an average of $44,000/year. Just heard that this morning.
In case you or anyone else isn't familiar with American police salaries, that is very very low.
Yes. The average salary is quite decent for an experienced officer. That doesn't mean that in some states the starting salary isn't abysmal. Pretty much the reason you have a force in rural states with a sad percentage of idiots nor being able to find any candidate who isn't less than 20 pounds overweight (or at least lay them off when they let themselves go after training). That's not to mention the sexist hicks who don't take rape cases seriously or the trigger happy fuck ups who join the force for all the wrong reasons.
The point I was trying to make was, these toys have to be earned by the forces. A powerful tool like this is bad news with badly trained officers, plain bad officers, police where their relationship with the community is hostile (both ways) etc. I'm sure the majority of cities and towns would pass the test. But places with horridly corrupt pigs with an abnormally high rate of kills (taking all thing into consideration) or a small town where they're excited to get their hands the totally unnecesary armoured vehicles and SWAT gear and military uniforms...a tool like this may be a disaster waiting to happen.
I'd have no problem with the police having something like this in Madid because a shooting is very rare. The police have only recently starting wearing bullet proof vests, and only some, and only because they pay more life insurance premiums if they don't. I would not be too keen on the Police force of Toronto automatically getting these toys (nor that of Moscow or Budapest).
Portland, Oregon, where I live, has salaries ranging from about $50,000 to about $94,000. I'm sure the the high end is for cops with years of experience in supervisory and/or specialist roles. (source)
"Average" means, of course, that quite a few officers are paid less than $44,000.
I'm for it and agree with what Davis Goodman said.
This will lead to armed robots. Not the self destructing kind that took out the asshole in Dallas but the kind that rolls into a room armed with a magazine full of bullets. Surprised the Army doesn't employ this in their arsenal yet. Or do they?
Can't wait to see the gun lobby's head's explode when they will have to argue about allowing us mere mortals to own our very own M-50 robots as per the second amendment. Can see it now, "our citizens will keep their M-50 robots locked in a safe and use their M-50 robots responsibly".... Ohhh Margret! LOL.
BTW: I own a Robomow. Every two days my lawnmower backs away from it's dock and mows the grass in my back yard. So what's taking so long to arm a robot?
I honestly thought this was sort of weird. It struck me as an experiment honestly. To see not only how it would work, but also to see people's responses. I was reading about it and they said this is "not going to become the norm" but.........I'm skeptical. I think if violence towards police officers keeps up the way it is, it could easily become common practice.
Having been former law enforcement, I'm all for it. It will save lives. That being said it is pretty strange, like some Star Wars shit, lol