When I heard Dems promote drones to increase national security on the Southern border, I was confused. Now, though, I understand how those drones will work.
When Trump shifted his rhetoric from demanding a wall to talking about the need for border security, he forced the Democrats to talk about border security too. For example, a week or so ago, Democrat Sen. Mark Warner spelled out the way Democrats envision handling border security:
Well, I saw the picture and if this wasn’t the President of the United States, if the stakes weren’t so high, if this man had any kind of willingness to stick to his word, you know, it would almost be comical. The fact is, I think you could find the vast majority of Democrats who were willing to increase border security, but let’s use 21st century technology, drones, electronic surveillance, additional border guards. Not 14th century technology, a wall, whether he calls it steel-plated or not, which I’ve not heard a single security expert said would increase border security and we’ve now heard earlier today that these were the views that the President’s current Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had as well a few years back, saying the wall was an absurd idea. (Emphasis mine.)
At first I was unclear how Warner’s 21st century technology would work. I imagined a camera-equipped drone or a fixed security camera capturing images of illegal aliens crossing the border somewhere near an isolated farmer’s ranch in Arizona. Then, somewhere in an underground room deep below Washington, D.C., an agent manning the monitors spots that incursion and puts in a call to the border guards working in Arizona.
The border patrol agents get in their truck and race to the border to intercept the illegal aliens. However, when they arrive at the border two hours later, they are chagrined to find that the aliens have long since dispersed into the surrounding country side and vanished.
To give a little context to my imaginings, think about England. In Britain, which has more close circuit cameras than any other major country in the world, the benefits from the cameras have been mixed at best. What’s noteworthy is that these cameras are most effective in closed spaces that allow cameras to capture every angle — in other words, they work effectively in circumstances that are the complete opposite of a long border — especially a border where the human element may be hours away from whatever event the cameras (whether drones or mounted on the wall) catch.
And then it occurred to me that I’d been thinking about it all wrong. Of course the drones can be effective. They just have to be utilized properly to catch the criminals in the act and neutralizing them as only airborne technology can: [Read more…]