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Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:25 PM

Mass Panic: It's Not Clear That Colorado's Mystery Drones Even Exist


So, just around Christmas, when anyone who was getting a drone for Christmas would have started playing with it, there were a number of claimed reports of mass drone activity over Colorado and Nebraska. No one who has set out to record and document the mass drone activity has been successful at doing so, but that didn't stop widespread concern over observations which, even if true, don't add up to anything illegal going on.

A recurring theme of modern life seems to be the urge to involve law enforcement into investigation of activity which is not even illegal in the first place. To be clear, if you want to argue for rules around flying drones over private property, that's one thing. In fact, there are a number of players in the agricultural, manufacturing and chemical industries who have been strong advocates for rules against the right to photograph things in plain view on private property. They do not want prying eyes into their compliance, or not, with regulations on the handling of toxic materials or animals, etc..

Oddly, while it is generally our side of the political spectrum which stands for things like not having the police pry into your lawful conduct, there are some who can't resist the desire to believe that everyone else has some right to know what some law-abiding person is up to. To be clear, if someone is flying a drone within the law, taking photographs while standing on public property, or otherwise minding their own business, then it is their business.

Absent a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity taking place, law enforcement does not have the right to detain you for questions, even briefly - and even if you are legally operating drones.

That's what I found curious about the "we gotta find out about these drones!" thing. Suppose that they found someone flying these drones in public airspace within FAA regulations for drones, who landed them in her own field and was packing them up. The police would be free to ask him what she was up to, and she would be free to say "Nunya business".

If it was, for example, a mining company doing a survey with some kind of sensing equipment, that would be entirely their own business and they would have no obligation to disclose their trade secret information to anyone without a warrant issued on probable cause that a crime was being committed.

In any event, this article brings home some of what bothers me about the reaction to the drone story.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pkeb9k/mass-panic-its-not-clear-that-colorados-mystery-drones-even-exist

But the most popular theory is that the timing is just a little too coincidental with a recently proposed FAA rule that would require drones to be identified remotely using a unique identifier and GPS coordinates sent via cellular signal to a central database, which many enthusiasts worry will ruin their hobby. What a great way to drum up support for such a policy, these posters suggest, than a nationally covered drone mystery.

This FAA conspiracy is, like most conspiracy theories, less a genuine assertion of the version of events they think actually occurred and more an expression of a larger frustration with the way the world works. Lisberg—who for the record does not believe the FAA is running a secret campaign to fly drones over rural Colorado to scare people in order to pass a remote ID rule for drones—pointed out that the FAA has been working on its rule change for years in consultation with key players in the drone industry. But he did concede the specifics of the FAA’s remote ID rule are not popular in the drone community. For its part, DJI advocates for a different type of remote ID technology than the one the FAA is proposing. Motherboard reached out to the FAA about this particular theory but did not hear back.

If there is a worthy lesson from this whole affair, it is unlikely to be a product of finding out who is actually flying the drones. Instead, it has to do with our attitudes towards the unknown. In this sense, there is some semblance of agreement between the drone enthusiasts and local officials trying their best to navigate this new, strange world.


“The question is do authorities NEED to know what it is?” Sean Wendland, a drone enthusiast in Sacramento, Calif., asked Motherboard over Facebook Messenger. “Is it causing any harm? Has it created danger? Do Americans NEED to know what it is? I would argue no, not at the cost of freedom.”

19 replies, 846 views

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:28 PM

1. It must be a liberal conspiracy.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:30 PM

2. There is a video on YouTube talking about these drones.

The guy covers lots of climate dangers and from the comments, it appears the FBI is mapping out the area to come and take their guns.🙄

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Response to dewsgirl (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:38 PM

4. I lurk on a gunners forum

They theory over there is the military lost a nuke. OK, but there are better ways to find it.

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Response to Runningdawg (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 02:37 PM

14. I sure hope that isn't the case

A bunch of RW wackos with a nuke would be trouble. I know they can use radiation detectors to look for dirty bombs, but I would think a warhead from our nuclear arsenal is probably shielded.

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Response to TheRealNorth (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 03:13 PM

17. I didn't mean to imply the nutjobs lost or were looking for the nuke.

They believe the military lost it and are looking for it. maybe its not a nuke but a conventional bomb, or it could just be a dummy bomb used for training. It wouldn't be the first time. This incident happened across the street from my house at the time.
[link:http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article2781.html|

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Response to dewsgirl (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:38 PM

5. Well,

At least that person is not aware of the massive plan to take their bibles and religion. Operation Right Behind is still too covert to be on their radar yet. That's going to be a real surprise and the drone distraction seems to be working, but yes, the guns will be confiscated soon.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:39 PM

6. Hey

They might read that here. You should consider deleting.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:54 PM

10. Yes, I know what you mean,

But they certainly won't believe it. In fact, revealing it here is a good way to cover it up. If you check the operations manual, it's mentioned there.

If we let them know what's up openly they will just laugh and ridicule it. That's what I had in mind They won't even see it coming.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 04:51 PM

19. Lololol.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:37 PM

3. Have they yet claimed that terrorists will be using drones to place...

poisons and explosives throughout the land?

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 02:51 PM

16. Better yet...

Personally, I think the UFO aliens got tired of being caught on camera while out anally-probing rural motorists and mutilating cattle.

So now what they, instead of flying around the boondocks in their interstellar craft is they just park somewhere and use a bunch of drones they bought on Amazon.

What I want to know is why don't they teach us how to make stuff out of big rocks like they used to?

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:41 PM

7. One word: PRIVACY.. and yes, the American people have a right to expect protections to be

addressed as new technologies come on board. There are countless areas for which regulation has not kept up. And yes, we, the American people DO have the right to bring attention to a problem.

Was the issue of drones on the Colorado plains a real issue or a minor one blown out of proportion by social and MSM? I don't know. But, I will ALWAYS be on the side of local communities addressing problems as they come up and that includes reaching out for help from other state agencies as needed. Even if that means some are investigated and found not to be an ongoing issue.

In the aftermath of several wildfires that were delayed of the necessary fire retardent drops because of wayward nonofficial drones flying in the Central Mountains and Western Slope of Colorado, we might just be a little bit more concerned about drones for a number of reasons. I support those who wish to evaluate the effectiveness of current regulations in this regard as well. That may well not be apparent to those in other areas of the country whose assumptions readily go to more contemptuous conclusions.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:42 PM

8. Is there evidence of illegal activity of any kind?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:43 PM

9. Once again you show an unwillingness to even read posts before commenting.

Pattern intact.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 01:55 PM

11. "Mass Panic"?

I live in Colorado. There is no panic. There is curiosity, that's all. Talk about hyperbole.


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Response to Laffy Kat (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 02:06 PM

13. Exactly... Some just want to be contemptous of others, it appears.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 02:03 PM

12. I read somewhere that nobody has been able to provide any clear pictures of the "swarm of drones."

When I read that, it set of my "bigfoot" alarm. Another thing is that, if it were necessary, they could instantly geofence the area and they would all go away (or fall to the ground.)

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Response to PSPS (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 02:49 PM

15. a bunch of widely-separated small lights in the sky would be hard to catch...

...with, say, a cell phone camera or whatever might be lying around.

But, that said, efforts to intentionally observe them have come up empty.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 03:26 PM

18. That is very odd - there were hundreds of pictures and videos of the Phoenix Lights

And that was over twenty years ago when there were fewer cameras handy to take pictures!

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