Since the beginning of the War on Terror, some rights of U.S. citizens have taken a back seat under laws such as the Patriot Act to combat terrorism. News broke yesterday of how the Obama Administration has been using drones in an effort to fight against al Qaeda, including terminating those allegedly affiliated with terrorism — even if they are U.S. citizens — without trial. According to NBC Nightly News in the video below, guidelines under which the U.S. government is allowed to use drones to harm other individuals is vague and open.
On Monday, Feb. 4, Charlottesville, Virginia become the first city in the U.S. to prevent any information collected by drones to be used in a Federal or state court. Missouri is also one of the 11 states currently looking into drone laws to limit the use of drones.
However, while drones can be used to kill enemies overseas and may be used inappropriately and unlawfully on home soil, there are also many harmless usages for them in everyday life, NBC News reports, including uses for farmers to check on crops and movie-makers to film aerial shots.
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Bearing News asked RBHS students:
1. Under what situations should usage of drones be allowed?
2. How can the US government adequately inform citizens about its drone usage?
Bobby Howard, Junior
“Not on American Citizens. … We created that weapon to use against terrorists and stuff so they shouldn’t use it on American people. [In the case of American-turned-terrorists,] then he should be tried as a terrorist because that’s what he is … Isn’t that in our constitution rights? So if he commits a crime here, he should just be tried as an American citizen, but a terrorist. We don’t have to drop a bomb on his house.”
“Inform more people about exactly what it is and what they’re intended purpose is for.”
Kelly Justus, junior
“I feel like if there’s a direct attack on the United States; I feel like lately the United States government has been getting involved in conflict that’s not any of their business, and I know we have the United Nations and stuff, but I feel like with our economy and our nation being so bad, that we need to stay in our country.”
“Definitely through the media, and I feel like there just needs to be Obama giving one of his ‘famous speeches’ to the public. Not just news casters and stuff because they twist the truth a lot, so just Obama giving a national speech about them. It should definitely be a society vote. We use the government a lot; the government takes advantage of the fact that they can call the shots whenever it comes to war, but I feel like drone use should be up to the citizens because they don’t inform us on that at all.”
Elizabeth Clapp, senior
“If there’s a threat to the United States itself, but not just getting in other people’s business. I don’t think they should [use drones] if they don’t know it’s a threat.”
“Through any way of media; just letting everyone know the main point. It doesn’t matter how it gets out.”
“I would say that they should be allowed for the sake of our borders and also to patrol. But if preemptive strikes need to be made, and it is for the sake of our country, and the person has been proven to be [a] terrorist, then go ahead with the strike. I’ve seen [drones] actually in use [be]cause I’ve been to Arizona several times, and they have them patrolling. They don’t have missiles … they’re just for taking pictures, but they can deploy them. I’ve actually seen the base Fort Huachuca where they do deploy them in Afghanistan.”
“Through research, workshops, programs and also just un-bias facts. Just through the news, no left or right, just in the middle. They should just have open workshops for the people that actually make the drones; explain the processes and how they work and also the people that deploy the drones. They should tell [us] how they work and why they use them. Always stick with the facts, try and be as direct and into the point as you can. Don’t let your personal view point get in the way.”
By Renata Williams and Daphne Yu
*This article originally included a picture of Josh Arri. It was removed Sept. 8, 2014.