You Might Be Powerless to Stop Drone From Flying on or Hovering Over Your Property

You Might Be Powerless to Stop Drone From Flying on or Hovering Over Your Property

You Might Be Powerless to Stop Drone From Flying on or Hovering Over Your Property

As we were doing our Christmas shopping this past December, my husband, Josh, was drawn to the drones, because, let’s face it, they are cool – especially to two boys under the age of 10. We looked at a few of them, but ultimately decided against it because, once again, I have sons, and I don’t want to spend money for them to destroy whatever I buy. If I want to waste money for fun, I’ll light dollar bills on fire in my backyard, and watch my liberal neighbors freak out because I’m not using a firepit.

With the increasing popularity of drones and the decreasing price tag, we are starting to see them everywhere. This explosion of drones has begun to create new problems Americans have never had before, and people are starting to question who own the airspace above your property. Some are saying that the U.S. government owns every bit of airspace – even an inch off of the ground – while others contend that you own the airspace above your property “all the way to the Heavens.”

000p2Kentuckian William Meredith had just finished grilling dinner for his family when he noticed a drone hovering over his property. He did what almost every person I know would do: he pulled out a shotgun and shot it down. The owner isn’t happy, and is now suing Meredith in the U.S. District Court in Louisville.

“The only people I’ve heard anything negative from are liberals that don’t want us having guns and people who own drones,” said Meredith.

Meredith added that downing the quadcopter – which had a camera – was his way of asserting his property and privacy rights. John Boggs, the owner of the drone, claims it was 200 feet in the air, and that he was only taking photos of the scenery. In his lawsuit, Boggs asserts that Meredith didn’t have the right to shoot the drone down because the federal government controls every inch of American airspace. He wants Meredith to pay for the drone and camera which totals $1500.

Boggs had originally pressed criminal charges against Meredith, but a local judge dismissed the charges because multiple eyewitnesses claim the drone was flying below the trees, and was not 200 feet in the air.

The FAA is finalizing some plans and regulations currently to address the issue of drones in America’s skies, but there is no mention of hobbyist-owned drones like the one Meredith shot down. Local governments and law enforcement agencies have been tasked with dealing with the individually owned drones.

I am not a drone owner, and I do respect privacy. It’s creepy to be out on a run and to look over and see a drone with a camera flying by. Is it really any different than having someone in a car filming you? Beyond that, don’t you feel violated? I am a mother of three, and it is chilling to think that some pervert could be flying their drone over my kids and filming them. It makes me want to keep my blinds closed at all times.

I’ve been shooting things my whole life – including clay pigeons – so I can say that if I saw a drone that was making me uncomfortable I would be capable of shooting it down. I agree with Mr. Meredith. I don’t want any “peeping Toms” getting any ideas. We do not know who is flying the drones, and we don’t know what their intent is.

Sure, most drone owners are probably good people, but I don’t think the rights of the homeowner should be violated to appease a hobbyist. It is creepy to know that these people are on my property without ever stepping foot on it. Without ever actually being there, a drone owner with a camera is capable of knowing every inch of my property intimately. They could stalk my children. They could hurt my loved ones. Doesn’t this just sound like the beginning of an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit?

Have Americans become so selfish that they honestly believe they have the right to fly their drone onto the property of another person to take pictures without the permission of the individual landowner? Boggs thinks that the “I was only taking scenery pictures,” excuse is a defense, but you can’t legally walk onto another person’s property without obtaining permission, so why should you be allowed to fly onto it and take pictures?

I am not trying to terrify you, but it is a frightening, and I must admit that the idea of a drone hovering over my property – with or without a camera – makes me incredibly uncomfortable and violates my personal property rights and my right to privacy in my own home. And, just like Meredith experienced when he first tried to call the police about the drones coming onto his property, if your local government has no ordinances about how and where a person can fly their drone, you might not receive any help from local law enforcement. Meredith was fed up, and so are many Americans.

“In my mind it wouldn’t have been any different had he been standing in my backyard with a video camera,” said Meredith.

I think it would have been less creepy if Boggs had been standing there with a video camera. At least Meredith could have seen who was watching his land and his family that way. Had he never shot the drone down, he would have never know who John Boggs is or what intentions were.

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