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back to article US town mulls bounty on spy drones, English-speaking gunman only

In back-woods America the government isn't too popular, but the tiny town of Deer Trail, Colorado (population 546 – deer not included) may be taking this sentiment to extremes with a proposal to open an official hunting season on government drones. "We do not want drones in town," said the proposed ordinance's author David Steel …

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"depleted uranium shot" WTF? in a shotgun?!?!

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"What you can do to protect yourself"

From the US EPA webpage on Depleted Uranium Projectiles

"Be Informed -- Although DU poses little risk when outside the body, DU has about as much toxicity as other heavy metals, like lead. Because DU can cause kidney or other damage if inhaled, ingested in large amounts or at high velocity, it should be avoided by humans and animals."

Well, more or less. Still, how quaint.

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Terminator

For hunting armored zombies. Or Terminators.

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Anonymous Coward

What has me more baffled is that Depleted Uranium is ok, but Salt isn't.

Shome Mishtake Shurely?

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Facepalm

Re: Jim Booth

"..... WTF? in a shotgun?!?!" I think you missed the tongue-in-cheek nature of the announcement.

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Go

Yes. How many do you want?

Yes. How many do you want?

http://www.luckygunner.com/12ga-3-uranium-drone-load-tacnition-5-rounds

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Meh

If you don't happen to be white

I'd stear clear if your ethnicity is anything but white, you regularly wrap a towel on your head after a shower, wear a long dressing gown, are in a same sex relationship, vote liberal, wear sandals, have a beard, read the Guardian, drive a foreign car.....

There is probably a 'symbolic' ordinance for that but you are as likely to get shot for it as you would knocking on a door and asking for directions in the dark.

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Re: "What you can do to protect yourself"

"Ingested at high velocity" that has to be my QOTW!!

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Happy

Re: Jim Booth

I think you missed the tongue-in-cheek nature of the post..

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Re: Yes. How many do you want?

While my first thought was WTF, my immediate second thought was, wait a minute. USA. Probably available. Easily.

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Not to worry about the falling bits

The folks out there are familiar with hunting, even things that fly in the air (birds), so don't worry about their safety from falling shot. In any case, it comes down a lot slower than it went up, due to air resistance and the relatively small attraction of gravity (compared to the initial powder charge).

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Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

"In any case, it comes down a lot slower than it went up, due to air resistance and the relatively small attraction of gravity (compared to the initial powder charge)."

Gravity is not "small" by any definition - it brings the bullet down despite the initial velocity provided by the powder charge, and there is no escaping it, even with a more powerful charge. The only relevant thing to deceleration is air resistance - without it the bullet would come down at exactly the same velocity as the one it left the barrel with.

A bullet does decelerate significantly due to air resistance. However, even the terminal velocity is such that if a falling bullet hits you on your head you will be either dead or very lucky indeed.

Actually it happened on a military base where I was serving many years ago, after a sentry fired a waning shot into the air. IIRC, the sentry followed the protocol, but the bullet hit a completely innocent person quite far away. Fatally.

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Boffin

Re: T.F.M. Reader Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

".....Gravity is not "small" by any definition - it brings the bullet down despite the initial velocity provided by the powder charge...." True, but anyone that has been in many areas of France or Spain during the hunting season will be quite familiar with the patter of spent shot falling around them. Compared to the Yanks, the Spanish and Fwench are much less constrained in their hunting and think nothing of blasting at anything winged, even around built-up areas. I've been hit by spent shot whilst sitting outside without anything worse than a slight mark to the skin. True, bullets would be a different matter, but anyone I suspect most drone-hunters will stick to shot loadings.

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Devil

Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

False. By the any definition in use in current physics, gravity is by far, far, far, FAR the weakest force we know of, of the four fundamental forces, by lots and lots of orders of magnitude.

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Re: T.F.M. Reader Not to worry about the falling bits

".....Gravity is not "small" by any definition"

Yes it is. It's bloody miniscule compared to the other forces. I can raise this beer to my mouth despite the mass of an entire planet trying to stop me.

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Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

"Actually it happened on a military base where I was serving many years ago, after a sentry fired a waning shot into the air. IIRC, the sentry followed the protocol, but the bullet hit a completely innocent person quite far away. Fatally."

In several countries, firing "warning shots" into the air will see you jailed.

Warning shots go into soft ground or are done with blanks. Anything else is terminally stupid.

(Now consider that a "pass" for armed police at UK airports is a 30% hit rate, when given indefniite time to aim and are allowed to use anything onhand to steady the shot.)

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Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

Surely the concern is from the possibility of being hit by a 200kg drone falling on you (rather than a shotgun pellet or two).........

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Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

However, even the terminal velocity is such that if a falling bullet hits you on your head you will be either dead or very lucky indeed.

That'll be one of those "busted" myths. The Mythbusters shot bullets vertically into the air and measured the force on impact when they came down again[1]. Sting a bit? Possibly. Kill you? Not a chance.

All the "bullet fell out of the air and killed someone" stories must involve bullets that were fired on a parabolic trajectory (i.e. not straight up) and retained a significant proportion of their original forward momentum on impact (i.e. it's always someone, as you put it, "quite far away").

[1] Derive terminal velocity (bullet stationary in vertical airstream), calculate force of bullet of mass X impacting at that speed. Simple. Fire bullets vertically and ensure that falling bullets penetrate soft ground the same amount as bullets given the calculated terminal velocity to prove results.

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Headmaster

Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

The only relevant thing to deceleration is air resistance - without it the bullet would come down at exactly the same velocity as the one it left the barrel with.

False. Terminal velocity of a 00 pellet is much lower than the 1400fps muzzle velocity of a 12ga shotgun. It would be so even in a vacuum.

However, even the terminal velocity is such that if a falling bullet hits you on your head you will be either dead or very lucky indeed.

For bullets, yes. I'm not so sure about shot. Following a certain famous formula, the energy (which equates lethality) depends partially upon the mass of the object. Even a .223 round (the smallest bullet the sentry in your example could possibly have been using) has a great deal more mass than a buckshot pellet. Also, due to better aerodynamics, a conical bullet would probably fall significantly faster than a spherical pellet.

To put all this in perspective, if you got hit by a penny falling at terminal velocity you'd likely need a couple stitches and have a headache for a few days. I would suspect that falling buckshot would result in slightly more significant injuries (it would be falling faster but has less mass), but you'd be exceedingly unlikely to catch more than one. Even when fired from a gun a single pellet of buckshot is rarely fatal, and when they are it's because they've hit a major artery.

All that said, it'd be exceedingly unpleasant to be on the receiving end of falling buckshot.

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Happy

Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

I've been on the receiving end of falling birdshot, and I can tell you it hurts about as much as rain. Sounds quite like it too, although you might get a bit of a burn if it's trapped against your skin.

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Re: Not to worry about the falling bits

> Surely the concern is from the possibility of being hit by a 200kg drone falling on you

I should imagine the concern is more about that 200Kg drone firing back at you...

Vic.

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Why drones?

Why not give people permits to shoot down mosquitoes?

There will be something to shoot at, it will be a true test of skill, it will be marginally useful if it works, and a lot of science and technology will be required to ascertain the kills, meaning that the town could attract some quality, educated people instead of just good ol'boys. Who knows, it could lead to an explosion in development and turn the town into a large city and a technology powerhouse.

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Mushroom

@Anomalous Cowshed - Re: Why drones?

Wrote :- "Why not give people permits to shoot down mosquitoes? There will be something to shoot at, it will be a true test of skill, it will be marginally useful"

Monty Python already did that :- www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKlkD-D20OI

Icon of their technique.

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Joke

Shhhh!

I'm a-huntin' dwones!

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I hope some fool shoots one down...

...and goes to prison for 5 years. We'll see how they like that punishment. The FAA has already warned these clowns what is in store if they shoot at a drone or a normal aircraft.

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Re: I hope some fool shoots one down...

If you can shoot a drone down from 800 feet up with a standard shotgun, I think you deserve less imprisonment and more a bloody medal.

And the drone manufacturers would need a kick up the backside.

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Re: I hope some fool shoots one down...

shoot at a drone or a normal aircraft.

No, Dougal, let's go through this one more time: those are small (pointing at drone, obviously), and those are very far away (you should be able figure which I'm pointing at now, hopefully).

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Facepalm

Re: BornToWin Re: I hope some fool shoots one down...

I think someone needs sarc tags on announcements.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BornToWin I hope some fool shoots one down...sarc tags on announcements

But...that would take all the fun out of it. Just like London in the olden days (OK, the 60s in my case) a major source of public entertainment is watching people dig holes.

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Anonymous Coward

"This is a very symbolic ordinance," said Steel. "Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way."

Do they not get the news in backwoods America? "heading that way"... Really...

Can one of you Americans call them up and tell them you're already way past "heading that way", so they don't go making themselves look silly to the world with statements like that again.

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Mushroom

It's the 21st century equivalent of a nuclear-free-zone ordinance...

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Coat

Hey! When was the last time somewhere that was declared a nuclear-free zone got nuked?

See? It makes a real difference.

People said that the tiger repellant I sprayed on my car was pointless, but I haven't seen any tigers hanging around it since I did that.

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Coat

English speaking?

As the locals only speak American, I guess they are trying to attract tour groups of English country squires. Maybe they can lay on a bit of fox hunting too?

Tally Ho!

The pink coat, if you could be so kind. No! The Hunting Pink coat! Look, it's the red one, peasant!

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Headmaster

Re: English speaking?

A Pink coat can be any colour, like a Barbour. You can buy blue and white Pink shirts, if the mood takes you. And I imagine most sales are to business people nowadays, rather than "country squires".

Yes, I am a sad killjoy. And?

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Re: English speaking? @ribosome

ribosome, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Are you on the same lines as the fabled sky-blue pink with yellow polka-dots shirt, or what? Seriously, I don't get it.

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Re: English speaking? @ribosome

Thomas Pink is a shirtmaker in London. I didn't know they sold Barbours, but it wouldn't be surprising. You can buy Pink shirts, ties, socks, underwear etc, with no requirement that any of it is pink.

Maybe this is what he's on about. If so, it's well on the unsplit side of side-splitting.

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Missing the point.

Typical backwoods American tongue in cheek humor combined with the entrepreneurial spirit.

Obviously, from the way the law is worded, they don't expect anyone to actually try to shoot down a drone. (Seriously, down an aircraft at 1000 yards with birdshot?)

This is just their way of telling the Federalistas what they think of the way they're running the affairs of state.

Plus, it helps their little burg get national attention, and maybe even raise a little revenue,

Hell, I might just scrape up the $100.00 bucks to buy a permit just to show my support.

ROCK ON, Deertrail, you crazy bastards! You've certainly livened the start of my weekend!

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FAIL

Re: Missing the point.

1000 feet, 333 yards. Still not even a fatal range for a soft target, or even a paper target with the ammo they listed. A slug, maybe.

FYI, Deer Trail is not backwoods. Its an upper-middle class suburb in the foothills of south Denver.

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Re: Captain DaFT Re: Missing the point.

Not quite as daft as he makes out.

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Physics problem

A shotgun has an effective kill range of a soft target of about 300 feet (100 yards) horizontal, 1/3 of that vertical due to gravity.

Drones are not soft targets, they are designed to fly at high altitudes AND are designed to withstand small arms fire. Even if one were 100ft from the ground you would have trouble causing crippling damage to one with a shotgun.

FYI, Deer Trail is not by any means "backwoods", its a rich fart community where people pay big bucks for land to make them fell like they are living in the mountains, when in fact they barely qualify for the foothills.

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Boffin

Yup

The Muzzel velocity of a shotgun is around 1300 ft/sec or 395 m/sec, gravity is 9.8m/s/s, however air resistance is much more difficult to calculate, as it's variable.

You require a projectile velocity of between 140 & 200 ft/sec ( 42 & 61 m/sec) to break the skin.

The effective range of a shotgun, depending on shot type is 25 - 150 yards or 22.5 to 137 meters. The longest ranges are for single slugs.

So, I doubt you would get close to a drone, but you could severely piss off your neighbour's kid by shooting down his radio controlled aircraft.

BTW some drones look a whole lot like toy helicopters.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry Dave, I can't let you do that.

Dave Bowman: What's the problem?

HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?

HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.

HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to shoot me down, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

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Guns, civillians, town limits, depleted uranium, what can possibly go wrong?

Makes note to self: Don't visit Colorado.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guns, civillians, town limits, depleted uranium, what can possibly go wrong?

On the contrary. An American small town with English levels of irony and black humour. It sounds like one of the places in the US where an English person would feel right at home.

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Anonymous Coward

English speaking?

That excludes almost all people living in America, so what's the point?

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Firing back

Of course, if the operators equip the drones with Hellfire missiles (something I beilieve is currently fashionable), then the odds will be more than levelled....

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" I hope some fool shoots one down and goes to prison for 5 years. We'll see how they like that punishment. The FAA has already warned these clowns what is in store if they shoot at a drone or a normal aircraft.

"

The FAA regulates the use of navigable airspace as a public resource, and the navigable airspace is defined to start at 500 feet altitude. Below that height, the airspace is owned by the land owner and the FAA has no regulation over it.

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500 feet altitude

What's the reference datum here? If the navigational airspace starts at 500 feet above sea level, then that's below the local ground level.

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Re: 500 feet altitude

I think that it would be AGL. Airports have runway height ASL posted so that pilots can calibrate their altimeters for local AGL reference.

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Good Idea, Small Problem: Ordinances, Ordnance, Suitable Targets.

"There is, however, one small problem. No one has ever seen a government drone flying over the town. 'This is a very symbolic ordinance,' said Steel. '"Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way'."

Obviously if Deer Trail wants to actually do something about surveillance other than simply engage in publicity stunts that make themselves look like drooling inbred hilljacks, they need to expand their little ordinance to permit people to attack Google Streetview Cars with Improvised Explosive Devices (or RPG's if obtainable).

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