back to article Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

A father of two girls didn't take too kindly to a camera-equipped quadrocopter hovering over his house and snooping on his kids – so he blasted it out of the sky. Now he's facing charges of first-degree criminal mischief and wanton endangerment. William Merideth, 47, was relaxing at his home in Hillview, Kentucky, US, on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I sort of agree

    While I'm not big on the whole gun thing, it does seem an invasion of privacy if a drone has a camera and is filming you. Especially if down low. At best, it's just dangerous, should it fall on someone.

    Perhaps the garden hose is a better option, if they fly that low.

    Anon, because, drones!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I sort of agree

      While I'm not big on the whole gun thing

      Same here. I'm about as far from the "cold dead hands" mob as you could find but I did feel some sympathy for this bloke. When I use my quad it stays over my house and doesn't even point at my neighbour's place. I make sure of that.

      Much as I'd love to fly it for fun there isn't a suitable flying area anywhere near me that isn't also a public place so the quad stays in the man cave. There's little enough privacy as it is without me making it worse.

      1. John Lilburne

        Re: I sort of agree

        Just paint Google on the side of it and you'll be good to go.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: I sort of agree

          "Just paint Google on the side of it and you'll be good to go."

          Or Amazon. That way you could drop a packaged brick on him and claim it was a delivery.

    2. Turtle

      Re: I sort of agree

      Personally, I don't "sort of agree"; I admire people like that.

      If he gets anything more than a very nominal fine, I will consider it a miscarriage of justice. And I think there should be a fine because discharging a firearm is always risky and people ought to have some consideration of consequences in mind before firing. But if he thinks that destroying the drone is worth paying the fine then I have no problem with his actions.

    3. Phuq Witt
      Unhappy

      Re: I sort of agree

      I sort of agree too... with his right to privacy and to put out of action anything that invades said privacy and his property.

      On the other hand the guy sounds like a bit of a dick.

      His admirable concern for his daughters' well-being is negated a bit by his setting the example that it's OK to let off a shotgun at something that annoys you –and the fact he also seemingly struts around his garden, wearing a gun... sorry a "40mm Glock"... which he threatens people with. Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick, in my eyes.

      Dirty Harry Syndrome, anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I sort of agree

        Is it ok to shoot down a hot air balloon flying over his garden? People don't have a right to privacy from viewers in a public place, if you don't want people to legitimately see you from the air then put up a gazebo.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: I sort of agree

          Bullshit. If some pervert was sat in the tree in it garden videotaping my girls his sorry ass would be arrested and detained until the police arrive and he would be off to jail. Using a pervcopter to achieve the same should result in the same. There are many people out there using these sensibly and then there are idiots who fly them by airports or over private areas. We just start practicing with the fire hoses when we see one. I hope this guy gets nothing more than a telling off. The four perverts should be charged with voyerism or whatever the local statue would be. A hot air balloon is not the same, now if someone was flying one 20 ft above our land and filming my kids, damn right words will be had.

        2. Tim Jenkins

          Re: I sort of agree

          "Is it ok to shoot down a hot air balloon flying over his garden?"

          and, more importantly in El Reg forums, how would one go about this? Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?

          1. Joe User
            Devil

            Re: I sort of agree

            "and, more importantly in El Reg forums, how would one go about this? Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?"

            Potato gun, using flaming tennis balls for ammunition (for that medieval touch).

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: Tim Jenkins Re: I sort of agree

            ".....Drone with large pin?" How about a drone with a spraycan of paint, fly it up to intercept the pervcopter and spray out its camera. Or just a jammer - the minute the drone is over your land you flip the switch, jam it, and watch it fly off uselessly into the distance. Then again, blasting it out of the sky does sound more fun.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Tim Jenkins I sort of agree

              "How about a drone with a spraycan of paint, fly it up to intercept the pervcopter and spray out its camera."

              I like the cut of your jib sir, but I have to take issue with the spray paint solution as that would require in inordinate amount of skill to achieve.

            2. Mpeler
              Mushroom

              Re: Tim Jenkins I sort of agree

              How about a megawatt laser vaporizing the obnoxious (peeping-tom) drone?

              "Y'all done shot our drone... what'ya done thet for?"

              "Drone? What drone?"

              And there'd not be a thing they could do about it, as the drone will have "reached maximum entropy" beforehand...

              (hopefully a megawatt laser would have this much backsplatter :) )

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: I sort of agree

            Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?

            Ballista? Giant CO2 fire extinguisher?

            1. Martin Budden Bronze badge

              Re: I sort of agree

              Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?

              Fireworks?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I sort of agree

        "On the other hand the guy sounds like a bit of a dick."

        Dicks all round AFAICS.

        1. breakfast
          Joke

          @Doctor Syntax

          Well, maybe you shouldn't be flying your drone through the men's showers?

      3. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

        Re: GUN NUT!

        "Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick, in my eyes"

        ^that

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: GUN NUT!

          Huh? Such a gun nut that he misidentified his own gun? As the bootnote points out 40mm would be rather impressive, about twice the diameter of a 12 gauge. A quick inspection of Glock's website shows over a half dozen different models that are .40 caliber or 10 mm. Either he has a model 40 as mentioned in the bootnote or he meant .40 caliber but it seems he's not quite sure.

          1. Brian Souder 1

            Re: GUN NUT!

            That is assuming the reporter had a clue and did not make an assumption. Especially the ones that are trying to paint him as a nut.

            1. Florida1920

              Re: GUN NUT!

              He may have said "Glock 40" and the reporter mistakenly filled in the blanks. I call my Glock a "45" (it's .45 ACP caliber) not a "21," which is its model number. It would make some bodacious (obligatory red-neck word) holes in a drone. Of course, that would be the result of 13 accidental discharges, not a deliberate attempt to protect my privacy.

              I wonder that the drone operator didn't see the guy coming out with the shotgun and divert his toy elsewhere.

              1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

                Re: GUN NUT!

                I wonder that the drone operator didn't see the guy coming out with the shotgun and divert his toy elsewhere.

                Of course, that's it.

                Droner1: Hey cuz, what's that the naybor went and got?

                Droner2: Whayy dat looks like a shotgun. Maybe you should fly 'er over der to get a better look jus' a be shure.

                Droner1: Ok. Hey it looks like he's pointin' it at the drone, doesn't it.

                BLAM!

                Droner2: Yup, it shoo did fo' a second der.

        2. Yugguy

          Re: GUN NUT!

          Is he any different than the hordes of British sububanites who loudly say "I took the AUDI" rather than "I took the car"?

      4. GavinC

        Re: I sort of agree

        It's worth pointing out that Americans tend to be a lot more literal when speaking than us Brits. You'll often hear an American saying "I'm off to the 7-11 to buy Coca-Cola", rather than the British "I'm off to the shops". So I wouldn't read too much into him referencing the type of gun he's carrying, it's just the way they tend to speak.

        1. Phuq Witt
          Facepalm

          Latterly Literally Generally

          "...It's worth pointing out that Americans tend to be a lot more literal when speaking than us Brits. You'll often hear an American saying "I'm off to the 7-11 to buy Coca-Cola", rather than the British "I'm off to the shops"..."

          Ain't that the truth!

          Nothing like following a 'recipe' [whether for food or to build something] on an American website and then, half-way through getting to the bit that says:

          "Next, you'll need a quart of Old Hoosegaw's Pickle Rubbings and an ounce of Stanton's Hard Sides Cleaner –available from any general store..."

          to reinforce your suspicion that most Merkins don't actually know the rest of the world exists.

          1. Turtle

            @Phuq Witt Re: The Rest Of The World

            "Nothing like following a 'recipe' [whether for food or to build something] on an American website and then, half-way through getting to the bit that says: 'Next, you'll need a quart of Old Hoosegaw's Pickle Rubbings and an ounce of Stanton's Hard Sides Cleaner –available from any general store...' to reinforce your suspicion that most Merkins don't actually know the rest of the world exists."

            Yuppers. Because if the website had recipes without regionally-specific brands and ingredients, then everyone in the world could use it since - as you correctly assume - everyone in the world speaks English and can use the website in the first place.

            Or maybe not. Actually, now that I think about it, I begin to suspect that you don't know that, in fact, most of the world does not speak English and that your idea of "knowing the rest of the world exists" means knowing that English is spoken throughout the English-speaking world, and there is no world worth knowing anywhere else.

            It would be good if you were actually better than the people you think you're better than.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I sort of agree

        "Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick in my eyes."

        I think you need to get the dicks out of your eyes so you can see where this is completely ok and the thing to do. In addition that is really not the point of the story at all in anyway anyhow so again remove the dick, or your just a dickeyed-dickhead...

        Hes protecting his family. The end. If you think its excessive then don't date his daughters or fly your drone over his house. I would do the same thing to protect my family from whatever it was the dumbsharts flying the drone were trying to do...

      6. BillG
        Thumb Up

        Re: I sort of agree

        When I started reading the article I wasn't sure how I felt. But when I read that the guy had two daughters out on the back deck (read the full WDRB article), well, I applauded his actions. Better to shoot the drone than have photos of his girls show up on the internet, or worse, wind up a target.

        Children tend to change your POV on things. Daughters revolutionize your world, bringing fear where it never existed before. No wonder the guy has a shotgun - he has TWO daughters to protect.

        Also, he was not charged with a gun violation, he was charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. And the drone was only 10 feet in the air and peeking at the neighbor's daughters, too. Ian needs to make some corrections to his article.

        It doesn't show much for the intelligence of the four drone operators that they approached the guy and angrily asked if he shot down their drone ("Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?"), then walked up on him. You know the guy's armed, you know he's willing to fire to protect his family. WTF were they thinking???

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: I sort of agree

          @BillG Thanks for the WDRB link. It seems they have an update which has the drone owner showing the tracked flight path on his iPad. The owner of the drone says it was at 272 feet (~83 m) above the shooters property. Now I don't know what kind of medals the shooter has won shooting trap or skeet but it's one heck of a shot to knock down something from that distance with a single shell of No. 8 bird shot.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: I sort of agree

            "it's one heck of a shot to knock down something from that distance with a single shell of No. 8 bird shot."

            It really wouldn't. Normal range of a shotgun is about 40M for practical uses like killing things. At 80M the spread of shot would be pretty wide, so accuracy is not such an issue, but it would still be quite capable of causing damage. It probably only needs a single pellet to hit to take out a relatively fragile drone...

      7. Turtle

        @Phuq Witt Re: I sort of agree

        "His admirable concern for his daughters' well-being is negated a bit by his setting the example that it's OK to let off a shotgun at something that annoys you"

        So your position is that his concern for his daughters is admirable but that fact that he's willing to actually do something about it is negative? Apparently his concern should extend to wringing his hands and, possibly, shouting invective at the drone? Or would that also be too much for your liking?

        And he was not 'letting off a shotgun at something" - he was taking a shot at something very specific.

        "and the fact he also seemingly struts around his garden, wearing a gun...which he threatens people with"

        The story doesn't say that. The story *does* say that the four drone operators came over to his house to confront him. It is very possible that he got his pistol on his way out to meet these creeps. As for "threatening people" I consider these four guys coming over to confront him - unaccompanied by police - to be, in itself, somewhat threatening too. I'd have done exactly the same thing were I in his place.

        "Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick, in my eyes."

        People who have more than one of a thing often refer to them specifically as opposed to generically. For example, I might refer to "my ES-345" or "my Blueshawk" or "my Strat" as opposed to "a guitar". That someone should refer with specificity to a particular item from amongst a group of similar items that they possess, be it cars, computers, cameras, golf clubs, musical instruments, software plug-ins, or firearms, is entirely unremarkable. To you, a gun is a gun and somehow you assume that makes you morally superior to him because he differentiates between them - because you don't approve of them ion the first place. And the only reason you have made this into some sort of matter of judgement is because you are predisposed to condemning him and have no qualms about manufacturing spurious "reasons" out of thin air.

        1. Kevin 6

          Re: @Turtle @Phuq Witt I sort of agree

          Agree

          I would have done the same. Well outside shooting it down with a gun I would a got it wet, and dismantled it trashing the transmitter 1st ;)

          But as for dealing with the 4 guys yes you have to show you are armed with something to deter people. Trust me I see it all the time with multiple people vs 1 unarmed guy they are more likely to get physically violent when they are in the majority, and have minimal chance for injury.

          I bet if the guy didn't have a gun on hand they would have beat the living crap out of him possibly damaging him for life.

      8. Bakana

        Re: I sort of agree

        Make that Mis-Identifying his Gun.

        I'm pretty sure Glock doesn't Make a 40 MM Pistol.

        For a very simple reason: That's an Anti Aircraft Calibre.

        You see them in old War movies.

        One or Two barrels a couple Yards long, 5 man team to Fire them.

        Sometimes called Ack, Ack or Pom Pom Guns.

        The Bullet is a bit larger than the average salt shaker and can weigh between 2 to 4 Pounds.

        Cram That round into a Pistol and you're going to need Both Hands to lift it and probably break your arm if you pulled the trigger.

        Anyone who owns a gun ought to At Least know the Calibre and correct name for it.

        ...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I sort of agree

      "As El Reg's global editor and resident weapons expert has pointed out, shooting down a drone with a shotgun is difficult at the best of times. The short range of the weapon and maneuverability of the drone makes it a tough score"

      I have no issue shooting clays that are much smaller than a drone and much faster moving with a shotgun. I would say a drone would be a relatively easy target for a shotgun at up to about 50M distance.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I sort of agree

        "I have no issue shooting clays that are much smaller than a drone and much faster moving with a shotgun."

        The main difference is that a clay is quite unlikely to suddenly change speed, direction or altitude so it's a bit easier to "lead" and predict where it will be so your shot can arrive in the right place at the right time. Don't get me wring, I'm not impugning your marksmanship in any way, I'm just pointing out that there's not really a comparison between a fixed trajectory object and a "piloted" one.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: I sort of agree

          "The main difference is that a clay is quite unlikely to suddenly change speed, direction or altitude"

          Clays are very fast moving though. The average drone isn't usually too fast or random in it's flight (unless maybe the owner was expecting incoming fire!)....drones also often hover - making them even easier than a clay - particularly when the camera is in use....

    5. Steve Evans

      Re: I sort of agree

      I feel the urge to build a much larger drone, with a trawler net hung beneath it to hoover lesser drones from the sky... Kind of like the Stromberg's submarine swallowing Liparus, although more maneuverable and with less water.

      The lesser drones can then be imprisoned in bamboo cages with their cameras fixed pointing at a random note.

      (Because firing a 12 bore from a UK back garden would get an armed response team kicking the door down!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I sort of agree

        Upvoted for drone trawler!

        I was leaning toward building a 'cone of silence' directional wireless frequency fuzzer - drone mysteriously falls from the sky* and the operator deals with the consequences/broke drone. I promise only to use it in self -defense ;)

        *you could work it so while preventing control of the drone, guide the drone's fall by giving control back to operators here and there to ensure a hard surface landing.

        Anon because drone... bzzzzz

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I sort of agree

        The lesser drones can then be imprisoned in bamboo cages with their cameras fixed pointing at a random note.

        A random note? To let the owners know their drones had been CAPTCHA'd?

  2. David Roberts
    FAIL

    Stupid?

    Assuming thst the report is reasonably accurate, here were a group of four people who thought

    (1) It was acceptable to fly a drone over other people's houses.

    (2) When someone shot (and they should have heard the loud bang) the drone down they thought it was a good idea to storm round mob handed to have words with the guy who had just used the gun (i.e. armed and on his own property).

    So he was also wearing another gun. Still stupid to go up against a shotgun. I understand that they are used for riot control as well as shooting birds. So not the brightest in the neighbourhood.

    Should make a good test case.

    1. ian 22

      Re: Stupid?

      Good on him. There have been multiple reports of idiot drone operators interfering with emergency aircraft, they need this lad to come round and lend a hand.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah...

    I'm sorry but what the heck was the person flying the drone doing in the first place? Flying low through peoples gardens with a camera attached?

    Were these guys trying to also film inside these peoples homes?

    Who do they think they are? Not surprised the guy shot it down. If someone flew their camera equipped drone into my garden without my permission I too would bring the sucker down. Probably with my pressurized jet washer as it packs quite a punch.. I was able to knock my neighbour clean off his feet onto his butt with it because he wouldn't stop asking questions about it and its capabilities.. he got his answer... was pretty funny though..

    When you think about it, it is a lot like trespassing as at the end of the day it is private property and the people living in said property have the right to privacy in their own garden/house.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Yeah...

      I notice in the photographs that the guy's garden is overlooked by a solid wall of huge, climbable trees that could easily hide surveillance cameras. I assume you wouldn't object if he cut them all down because, as you say, he has a right to privacy in his own garden?

      1. Just Enough

        Re: Yeah...

        I don't there's really a need for privacy from the trees themselves. However, if someone put cameras in them pointing at his property then, yes, I wouldn't object if he removed the cameras. Cutting down the trees would be, I think he'd appreciate, counter productive.

        1. Fink-Nottle

          Re: Yeah...

          The guy said he didn't know if the drone was actually recording imagery when he short it down. That seems analogous to removing a neighbour's trees as a precaution against the possibility of surveillance. I'm sure that kind of thing happens, we just never hear about it because there's not a drone involved.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yeah...

            "The guy said he didn't know if the drone was actually recording imagery when he short it down."

            Regardless, someone was watching the feed to fly the thing. You don't need to record the feed to note down access points, valuables in sight through the window etc.

            "That seems analogous to removing a neighbour's trees as a precaution against the possibility of surveillance."

            The trees aren't providing the possibility of surveillance, a camera mounted in the trees would be. The trees themselves actually complement privacy much like a wall complements privacy but could still have a camera mounted on it. The camera, whether recording or not is the potential invasion of privacy.

            1. Fink-Nottle

              Re: Yeah...

              > Regardless, someone was watching the feed to fly the thing. You don't need to record the feed to note down access points, valuables in sight through the window etc.

              A drone flies with the aid of a forward facing camera. There's no guarantee a drone hovering directly over a garden actually has sight of that garden. Certainly, if the drone operator had the garden-in-question under surveillance, he would surely have taken evasive action when an angry man with a shotgun appeared in camera.

              I'm a firm believer in the Hanlon's razor. From the video report it looks as if this guy's property backs onto a park or open ground (in addition to surveilance-ready trees). I'd be inclined to speculate that the drone operators misjudged distances were under the impression they were hovering over open ground.

              > The trees aren't providing the possibility of surveillance, a camera mounted in the trees would be.

              No, trees offer a platform for surveillance in just the same way a drone does. The shooter had no proof of surveillance when he shot down the drone. He might as well chop down a tree as a precaution that 'they' might mount a camera in it.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Yeah...

      "I'm sorry but what the heck was the person flying the drone doing in the first place? Flying low through peoples gardens with a camera attached?"

      Interesting, do you have some information that confirms that there was indeed a camera on this drone? I dont remember it being confirmed in the article...

      So lets look at the *FACTS*

      * It wasn't on his property it was over it (Interesting does my property extend into space vertically? How much of the ground under my house do I own?)

      * He shot it down without knowing what it was doing, if it had a camera or who owned it.

      * He fired a shotgun into the air in an urban area without knowing where the debris would land.

      Ariel photography has been popular for a long time, its not illegal (In fact I know people who in the late 80s went door to door selling pictures they had taken of people houses from the air)

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: Yeah...

        1) it was hovering over it, at low altitude, not passing over it. Right to privacy?

        2) it had done the same thing over a number of other local houses first. It was violating their right to privacy too.

        3) he fired bird shot at it. By the time that comes down it doesn't present a risk of injury to people in the street.

        4) it was a suburban area, not a packed urban one.

        I'm tending to side with the shooter here, and that's not something I'd normally do.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Yeah...

          "Right to privacy?"

          What right to privacy? They were outside. You can potentially see someone outdoors from a plane, drone, neighbouring building, looking over a fence, etc. etc.

          1. Steve Todd
            FAIL

            Re: Yeah...

            The drone was looking under eves and similar areas which wouldn't be visible to the above. Photographing someone on their private property, from within the property boundaries and without permission is definitely covered by U.S. Case law.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Yeah...

              > The drone was looking under eves

              Really? I'm a bit incredulous about that claim ... unless Eve was his daughter's name.

              Are you sure the guys who came to claim the 'drone' didn't look look suspiciously Arabic too?

            2. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: Yeah...

              "Photographing someone on their private property, from within the property boundaries and without permission"

              The drone was apparently ~ 30m above the property, so not on the property, or within any conventional boundaries, so unless it was restricted airspace presumably it was perfectly legal.

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Yeah...

          "he fired bird shot at it. By the time that comes down it doesn't present a risk of injury to people in the street."

          Fair point but I selected the word debris on purpose because the shot wasn't the only thing falling out the sky was it?

      2. Speltier

        Re: Yeah...

        There is an airspace height that is your property, varying by location, country, and is usually kind of vague. You do not own a sector of the Universe extending from the core of the planet out to "infinity" (not even sovereign nations own that much, otherwise countries could not spy on each other from "space").

        So, how much do you own, and if the perp trespasses can you blast him out of the sky?

        Since airplanes can fly overhead, and Google can snap your pix from "up there", there is obviously some ceiling value where the airspace becomes public. The police think that they can spy from anywhere "outside your property" but it isn't clear what the airspace is-- obviously a few feet is unreasonable or there would be police drones hovering outside people's windows and dropping into open atriums to buzz around.

        Might be a while before case law catches up. You can't win, make the ceiling 100M and a big honking drone with gimbal mount image stabilized 1000mm will be hovering up there looking at your pores while you engage in the early stages of meatbag fabrication...

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Yeah...

          I was joking about my property extending into space - I didnt (and still don't) know how much of the area above and below my house is mine.

          I don't think the wife is going to like it but from now on I'm definitely referring to it as Meatbag fabrication... Awesome!

      3. Someone Else Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @d3vy -- Re: Yeah...

        * It wasn't on his property it was over it (Interesting does my property extend into space vertically? How much of the ground under my house do I own?)

        Good question. IIRC from my real estate class (for the state of Illinois, USA) that a property owner owns the plot of land, and the earth underneath the plot of land down to the core of the earth, and the airspace above the plot of land . The land owner may lease the rights (e.g. mineral rights, clearances, etc.) to 3rd parties. A drone that is hovering in the landowner's airspace can well be said to be trespassing.

        Now, my class was about a decade ago, and things may have changed in IL. Laws may be different in other states, so YMMV. That said, good on Mr. Meredith for drawing a line in the sand (figuratively...I guess he drew it in the air) over which flight kiddies (and certain intrusive American Corporations) will cross at their own peril.

        1. Phuq Witt
          Holmes

          Core Values

          "...IIRC from my real estate class (for the state of Illinois, USA) that a property owner owns the plot of land, and the earth underneath the plot of land down to the core of the earth..."

          That would be a bugger to work out as, obviously by the time you reach the Earth's core your plot of land would have to have diminished in size to a single point. Now who's the smart boy or girl who's going to work out a formula for calculating the decrease in size of your plot of land as a function of subterranean depth?

        2. CommodorePet

          Re: @d3vy -- Yeah...

          Here in California, the mineral and oil/petroleum rights to the land under your property were sold decades before the land was parcelled out for individual houses. I forget the exact depth, but there is a very definite edge to what is yours.

      4. Steve Knox
        Headmaster

        Re: Yeah...

        Ariel photography has been popular for a long time, its not illegal

        Potentially true, but you might get a visit from Disney's copyright lawyers, or get sent to the doghouse by the spouse, depending on which Ariel you're talking about photographing...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yeah...

          I once had a girlfriend called Ariel. No one ever arrested me for taking pictures of her.

    3. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Yeah...

      > I'm sorry but what the heck was the person flying the drone doing in the first place? Flying low through peoples gardens with a camera attached?

      Ars Technica states that the drone had been hovering at 200 ft for around 20 seconds when it was shot down. The pertinent question is, what the heck was the shooter doing?

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    He should go free...

    I believe that with a 6-foot tall (~2m) privacy fence there is an expectation of privacy. It it's was within range of the shotgun (50 yards/50m maybe?) then yes, it's too low. Then there's the idiots who decided to go hassle the guy with the gun... They did do the right thing (for some value of right) by calling the cops instead of trying to deal with him. But this also gives the courts a chance to intervene and lay out the interpretation of the law.

    If he loses, then I guess we can expect these intrusions at the will of the owner without regard for our safety or privacy.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: He should go free...

      I expect him to lose and for one very simple reason.

      In the UK, anyone engaging in shooting activities is legally obliged to ensure that any shots fired do not leave the boundaries of the land over which you have permission to shoot, nor that you endanger another individual. Shooting over someone else's land even form your own land is considered akin to trespassing on their land (or more specific, armed trespass since you're carrying a firearm - armed trespass being a criminal matter, not civil like regular trespass).

      I doubt America has such a law, however it seems probable that some or all of the shot will have landed outside of his back garden. It may have landed in his neighbour's back garden. He would not have able to see if there was anybody in that garden because of the aforementioned two metre privacy fence (which is opaque in BOTH directions!).

      Therefore he will be bang to rights for reckless endangerment.

      How peeved would you be if you or your child were peppered with buckshot because the guy next door decided to take potshots at a drone?

      1. itzman

        Re: He should go free...

        "it seems probable that some or all of the shot will have landed outside of his back garden"

        Not if he shot straight up, as he claimed.

        Shotguns dont have much carry at all.

        200m maybe at 45 degrees.

        if he had a reasonably large garden, very unlikely a high angle shot would have gone anywhere else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: He should go free...

          Also, birdshot decelerates quickly and generally won't hurt anything on the way down... no more than small hail. Less dangerous than drones, for sure.

          The cops charged the guy with firing a gun inside city limits - which would be justified in a clear self-defense situation - not with shooting the drone. Perhaps the drone operators will face charges as well, if the cops can find a law they broke. If not, expect a new law.

        2. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: He should go free...

          "Not if he shot straight up, as he claimed."

          Well he's not going to claim anything else... he's been charged with wanton endangerment - he's not going to say anything to the media that might prejudice his position!

          Watching the videos, he doesn't have a huge back yard. Bigger than a lot of Brit's, but it looked like his neighbour's fence was only a couple of metres away. Unless his shot was absolutely vertical, some shot will almost certainly drift across one boundary or another.

          Turns out he used bird shot, which shouldn't cause too much problem if it's only falling under gravity and has no appreciable x-component, which it won't if it was a largely vertical shot, not shooting towards his boundary or anything.

          "Nonsense. Please get some perspective. While I agree Guns should be controlled, I'm also against this tendency to interpret the risk associated with every action is determined by the media's attitude towards the tool/thing used while the action is taken."

          He's been charged with wanton endangerment. By the Police, not the media. May not go anywhere, but clearly there's a basic case to be examined.

      2. SuccessCase

        Re: He should go free...

        "Therefore he will be bang to rights for reckless endangerment."

        Nonsense. Please get some perspective. While I agree Guns should be controlled, I'm also against this tendency to interpret the risk associated with every action is determined by the media's attitude towards the tool/thing used while the action is taken. If you fire a shotgun up into the air, the chance of injury of anyone else is as close to zero as you can get. The only way you could get hurt by buckshot is if you are looking up into the air with your eyes open just at the moment a bit of buckshot falls down into your eye. If shot coming down in a neighbours garden is reckless endangerment, firing rockets up into the air on fireworks night where the chance of going off course, or substantial plastic rocket cap, or a partially unexploded or burning/smouldering material coming down from what is essentially an imprecise ballistic explosive/incendiary device, is many, many times greater - yet few of us are bothered by that.

        1. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: He should go free...

          Not to mention that staring into the sky without a blink reflex puts your eyes in danger of excretory masses falling from cloacas of the feathered dinosauria that frequent the skies.

        2. Bakana

          Re: He should go free...

          I believe that most of those "Harmless Activities" you referred to (The Various types of Fireworks) actually ARE Illegal in most cities in the USA.

          Because, contrary to what you stated, people have Died or been maimed for life by just those sorts of activities.

          And, in most states, if you fire a weapon even into the Air, you CAN be charged with Reckless Endangerment because, Guess What? People get Killed every Year by shots "Fired Into the Air".

          Most of the Killers are never Identified, but when a Shooter IS Identified as having "Fired int the Air", most jurisdictions DO tend to take it seriously.

          .

      3. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: He should go free...

        "In the UK, anyone engaging in shooting activities is legally obliged to ensure that any shots fired do not leave the boundaries of the land over which you have permission to shoot, nor that you endanger another individual."

        Ha ha. That's the UK. or "Hobbiton" as it's know to the rest of the world.

        e.g. In France "hunters" are allowed to chase and kill virtually anything they please, on any property.

        Even public land.

        1. Just Enough
          FAIL

          Re: He should go free...

          "e.g. In France "hunters" are allowed to chase and kill virtually anything they please, on any property."

          Bollocks. This is a myth. I suggest you go re-read the restrictions of "Loi Verdeille".

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: He should go free...

            'Bollocks. This is a myth. I suggest you go re-read the restrictions of "Loi Verdeille".'

            Hunters can go anywhere if an animal is said to be "blessé mortellement".

            And you only have to go walking anywhere in France to cross a bunch of drunken hunters ready to fire a warning shot your way whilst they are enjoying their post-drink wandering with a loaded weapon.

            Why do you think French garde du chasse carry sidearms and not rifles/shotguns? It's not to protect themselves from 4 legged animals....

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: He should go free...

          "That's the UK. or "Hobbiton" as it's know to the rest of the world."

          "the rest of the world" meaning the colonies only? The average American's grasp of global geography presumably not able to differentiate between the UK and New Zealand...

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: He should go free...

            only? The average American's grasp of global geography presumably not able to differentiate between the UK and New Zealand...

            As is the tenuous grasp of how law is made in the U.S. by UK Reg readers. Gun restrictions are enacted by States, not by "America".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He should go free...

              As is the tenuous grasp of how law is made in the U.S. by UK Reg readers. Gun restrictions are enacted by States, not by "America".

              Apart from, y'know, the federal ones. Which are few compared to State/County/City ordinances, but exist nonetheless.

              And laws like wanton endangerment are not firearm restrictions anyway. They're catch-alls that can apply to anything from making explosives in your back garden to firing guns into the air to doing something else stupid.

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: Apart from, y'know, the federal ones.

                But the context of the discussion was about the carrying and use of the gun in his garden, a matter which is firmly ensconced in the local and state firearms laws.

                The reason there is so much successful resistance to "gun control" is, in large part, because it is being attempted at the Federal level. This is also at the heart of attempts to curtail the Affordable Healthcare Act.

                A war was once fought using the Federal usurpation of States' rights as the battle cry. Some are still fighting that war.

            2. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: He should go free...

              "Gun restrictions are enacted by States, not by "America"."

              Clearly that's part of your gun problem then. You won't ever get rid of them and return to a civilised situation without proper universal control of guns.

              See http://www.humanosphere.org/science/2014/03/visualizing-gun-deaths-comparing-the-u-s-to-rest-of-the-world/ for some illustrations of just how far behind the rest of the civilised world the USA is.

              Here in the UK you can have guns, but they have to be licenced, registered and stored in a locked steel cabinet when not in use, and the Police visit and check all registered guns are all accounted for and securely stored at least once a year...

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Stop

                Re: TheVogon Re: He should go free...

                ".....Here in the UK you can have guns, but they have to be licenced, registered and stored in a locked steel cabinet when not in use, and the Police visit and check all registered guns are all accounted for and securely stored at least once a year..." And it has had zero effect on the levels of UK gun crime. Indeed, banning legal handguns just removed handguns from law-abiding citizens, it didn't bother the criminals one bit as they didn't care about laws (kinda why they are criminals in the first place - duh!).

        3. Jediben

          Re: He should go free...

          But when it comes to keeping illegals out of a tunnel you suddenly aren't so keen to chase anything, eh Jacques?

        4. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: He should go free...

          "e.g. In France "hunters" are allowed to chase and kill virtually anything they please, on any property."

          Wrong. Punishment for hunting on private land in France without permission is up to 1 year in prison and a €15,000 fine.

          Some hunting clubs will organise communal associations (ACCA - Association Communale de Chasse Agréée), whereby any member can hunt across any land within the commune (as opposed to the UK for instance where an individual deals with landowners on an individual basis to get permission to shoot).

          This does not by any means cover all land in France, nor does it happen in all parts of France. They may have limited rights to chase a wounded animal for the coup de gras (though they should probably have practiced their fieldcraft a bit more, got a bit closer and done the job properly with the first shot), but that doesn't mean they have the right to chase across any land they like.

          Land owners are under no compunction to participate in an ACCA and can ban shooters from their land.

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: He should go free...

            rh587

            "Wrong. Punishment for hunting on private land in France without permission is up to 1 year in prison and a €15,000 fine."

            ~

            ~

            "They may have limited rights to chase a wounded animal for the coup de gras "

            You said it yourself:

            In effect hunters can come onto your land under the pretext of chasing an already wounded animal.

            Thereby giving them access to virtually any land they so please.

            And if you argue with them? Well maybe you'll end up as one of the +50 accidents that happen every year.

        5. Turtle

          @Dr_N Re: He should go free...

          "In France 'hunters' are allowed to chase and kill virtually anything they please, on any property."

          If, as you imply, hunters actually are allowed to chase and kill drone operators - and also, hopefully, Google Street View Car drivers, then they've hit on an ideal measure for insuring at least some bit of people's personal privacy!

      4. James Dore
        Thumb Up

        Re: He should go free...

        In the source article on Ars Technica [1], he is quoted as saying he used No.8 bird shot in his shotgun:

        "Now, if I’d have had a .22 rifle, I should have gone to jail for that. The diameter of those things are going to come down with enough force to hurt somebody. Number 8 birdshot is not. Number 8 is the size of a pinhead. The bottom line is that it's a right to privacy issue and defending my property issue. It would have been no different had he been standing in my backyard. As Americans, we have a right to defend our rights and property."

        - So he selected ammunition specifically to avoid injury when it came down. Seems like a reasonable response.

        [1] http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2015/07/kentucky-man-shoots-down-drone-hovering-over-his-backyard/

      5. Brian Souder 1

        Re: He should go free...

        It would depend on the type of shell. They range from small bird shot to slugs. It said he was a skilled shooter. It could easily been contained within his yard. Was it still dangerous - yes. Every bullet has a lawyer attached. The neighbor did not seem upset though. In fact, she was saying they did it to her as well. I wonder if there are any laws they could use to investigate if these guys were recording any of the spying activities. It is kinda obvious when 4 guys are sitting around watching a drone fly over people in their back yards. There is probably some recorded footage.

        http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/07/29/kentucky-man-shoots-down-drone-hovering-over-daughters-on-back-deck/

        Merideth’s neighbor, Kim VanMeter, said she has a 16-year-old daughter who lies out in the backyard and the drone hovered over their house, “stayed for a few moments and then she finally waved and it took off.” VanMeter added that the idea of “a drone hovering with a camera is creepy and weird.”

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should go free...

      "Then there's the idiots who decided to go hassle the guy with the gun"

      Ah so you think gun ownership means that your actions cannot be questioned without involving the police/being similarly armed...

      I think I might be starting to see why people dislike americans (Note this is not intended to be offensive, I like Americans what I don't like is 'murica)

      1. Yugguy

        Re: He should go free...

        You have every "right" to go and question the owner of a gun.

        But when he blows your brains out, that right will not save your life.

        I wouldn't go and argue with an armed man. That would be idiotic.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should go free...

      "I believe that with a 6-foot tall (~2m) privacy fence there is an expectation of privacy. "

      I have a six foot "privacy" fence it my garden. I can easily see over it and into neighbor's gardens by simply standing on my patio, which is four feet off the ground.

      The "Privacy" in "privacy fence" means people on the ground looking into your property. If you want to block the view from above, use a large tent.

      I believe US courts have ruled to the effect of "yes, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy - if you're on your own property, in a covered structure, with the curtains closed."

      What if instead of a drone, it's a neighbor's teenager in a treehouse? they can see into your garden.

      You can't force the neighbor's to cut down the trees.

      A TV news helicopter hovering over the road at 1000ft is quite within their rights to film something happening in your back yard (such as a police chase), just as they are able to fly over your property without you trying to shoot them down with a shotgun/rifle/AA battery/SAM.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: He should go free...

      "If he loses, then I guess we can expect these intrusions at the will of the owner without regard for our safety or privacy."

      Are there no FAA regulations on flying model aircraft over populated areas, especially out of line-of-site?

      The El Reg SPB are still in limbo waiting for the FAA to give clearance to launch a model aircraft from a launch pad at ~30,000' in the middle of nowhere, well away from people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He should go free...

        If it's for recreational purposes, the only FAA regs I've heard about are the same as the Model Aircraft guidelines:

        •Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles

        •Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times

        •Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations

        •Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying

        •Don't fly near people or stadiums

        •Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs

        •Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

        Numbers 2, 5, and 7 are the only ones that sound like they might be relevant here. Course, if it wasn't actually recreational, then the FAA would like to have a word with them about their unlicensed aircraft.

        http://www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft/

        http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=76240

  5. frank ly

    How about ....

    A shoulder mounted microwave gun with wideband modulation? (Or whatever is needed.)

    1. Tridac

      Re: How about ....

      An old avionics X band radar should do that quite well at short range, or you could build a directed EMP box. Either would fry any unshielded sensitve electronics on the drone and be undetectable as well, thus avoiding arrest.

      Typical US, brute force approach, even if it does sortof get the job done :-)...

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: How about ....

        An old avionics X band radar should do that quite well at short range, or you could build a directed EMP box. Either would fry any unshielded sensitve electronics on the drone and be undetectable as well, thus avoiding arrest.

        Typical US, brute force approach, even if it does sortof get the job done :-)...

        Model, please, or confess to bullshitting.

        1. Tridac

          Re: How about ....

          No BS. Something like an old Ecko or Bendix weather radar. Iirc, around 25-50Kw pulse power, as used in a lot of older aircraft and appear regularly on fleabay. More modern airborne weather radars are probably a lot more power and at X band, the antenna size is manageable as well. You would not want to be standing on axis close to the antenna if you value your eyesight, or reproductive kit, even on the older models. You don't have to look very far on the web to find instructions. Here's one that looks like it uses a microwave oven magnetron:-

          http://fear-of-lightning.wonderhowto.com/how-to/making-electromagnetic-weapons-directed-microwave-energy-0133231/

          Thinking about it a bit more, you don't even need to do anything that complex, just jamming the telemetry link should drive the device out of control.

          The US military have been experimenting with this stuff for years. Much higher power, but they have devices that will fry / disable missiles (for example) at quite a range...

    2. OldTimer1955

      Re: How about ....

      It was suggested to me that for low and slow drones a fishing rod and line with a small weight (rather than a hook) is sufficient: cast and entangle. Sort of like a walking stick in the spokes.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    40mm Glock

    40 caliber surely. You wouldn't want to mess with anyone capable of carrying a 40mm gun.

    1. Interceptor

      Re: 40mm Glock

      You don't do your gardening with your trusty Bofors AA gun on hand?

      1. tony2heads
        Mushroom

        Re: 40mm Glock

        Bofors!

        Serious gardening needs railguns

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: 40mm Glock

          "Serious gardening needs railguns"

          My word! Are those really triffids in your garden?!?

      2. Brian Souder 1

        Re: Bofors AA gun

        I wonder how quick you could get the weeding done with that.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: 40mm Glock

        A 40mm Glock would truly enter into the realms of a hand "cannon"...

        For anyone that doesn't know, calibers are expressed either in mm or in inches.

        A 40 is actually a 0.40" = 10mm. Although a 10mm should never be confused with a 0.40" because it is a much more powerfull caliber.

        The original 10mm was deemed too powefull for the majority of cops, they found it uncomfortable to shoot. So the .40 was invented to replace it, although the diameter is the same, the charge is much weaker, a 0.40 still packs a punch though...

        Anyway I agree with this guy, the drone had no right to be in his backyard. This drone shit will soon have to be vorrectly regulated by laws before it gets way out of hand.

        If that drone had lost power and dropped on someone's head and killed them would the owners be liable for the death. Especially when they intentionally flew it over someone elses property.

        1. Ol'Peculier

          Re: 40mm Glock

          If that drone had lost power and dropped on someone's head and killed them would the owners be liable for the death. Especially when they intentionally flew it over someone elses property.

          So, if the drone fell on somebody after being shot down, would the bloke with the gun be liable?

          1. Elmer Phud

            Re: 40mm Glock

            Yes

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: 40mm Glock

            "So, if the drone fell on somebody after being shot down, would the bloke with the gun be liable?"

            s/drone/bits of drone/

        2. Trollslayer Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: 40mm Glock

          Maybe if fires bullets sideways.

    3. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: 40mm Glock

      Most likely a Glock MODEL 40 which is a 10mm calibre weapon

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 40mm Glock

        Indeed. Otherwise the recoil would have placed him in his neighbour's garden!

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: 40mm Glock

        just read one WDRB websites article and ironically the guy was held at the (wait for it)

        Bullitt County Detention Center.....

        The article reads as though the drone pilots were indeed looking into peoples property. The pilots stated that they wanted to photograph a friends house, so why didn't they take off next to the friends house instead of flying over everyones back yard. It would be interesting to see the film, if it so happens that they were filming people next to their pools then things might heat up yet again, especially if this guys daughter appear on the film.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 40mm Glock

      I've got a 40mm diameter gun and it's equipped with a 50mm Stahelm, Woof! Woof!

      Anyway better go, if word gets out I'm missing, five hundred girls will kill themselves. And I wouldn't want them on my conscience, not when they ought to be on my *face*! Hello? Cancel the state funeral, tell the king to stop blubbing, Flash is not dead! I simply ran out of juice! And before five hundred girls all go 'oh, what's the point in living any more?' I'm talking about petrol! Woof! Send someone along to pick me up. General Melchett's driver will do, she hangs round with a big knob so she'll be used to a fellow like me. Woof!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 40mm Glock

        I'm shocked. A register reader has just down thumbed a Blackadder Captain Flashheart quote. What is the world coming to!

        This is a slippery slope. There will be hating on Thunderbirds and the Clangers next.

        1. P. Lee
          Trollface

          Re: 40mm Glock

          Its the automated down-voting troll-fairy

        2. VinceH Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: 40mm Glock

          "This is a slippery slope. There will be hating on Thunderbirds and the Clangers next."

          Have you seen the new Thunderbirds?

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's time

    ... for antidrone drones.

    And +1 for using projectile weapons in anger, espically if "liberal" whining and manufactured outrage is increased by doing so.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Go

      Re: It's time

      Begun, these Drone Wars have...

    2. auburnman

      Re: It's time

      Net Gun. Job done.

      1. P. Lee
        Terminator

        Re: It's time

        LOIC should work nicely. If it auto-lands you get yourself a nice new drone.

  8. Kharkov
    Big Brother

    Let the arms race begin...

    I'm not a gun fan myself but I can sympathize with the guy who had put up a 2mtr fence to get some privacy. Discharging a gun inside the city limits can be problematic though, because you're never sure where the bullet will end up if you miss (and sometimes even if you hit - pass through, minimal loss of velocity etc) but I'd think a shotgun would have been ok in that regard.

    So how about this? No, you can't shoot things with guns but you CAN use your own small, fast, maneuverable drone which will, on command, and only over your own property, to a maximum height of... let's say 100 meters?, carry stuff to be dropped over the intruding drone, thereby fouling the blades and causing it to drop to the floor.

    Just press a button or have a web-cam or something scanning for intruders and when people get nosy, bring the vehicle of their nosiness down with a bump. After that, it's finders-keepers, losers... have to cough up to get their drone back...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Let the arms race begin...

      I don't know much about guns, but I imagine that a typical shotgun charge has a lot of small round shot in it, so the risk of that coming down far away elsewhere under gravity and remaining momentum is a whole lot smaller than a bullet.

      Any commentards with more knowledge willing to add to this?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Let the arms race begin...

        Shot can't keep a ballistic trajectory (shotguns are smoothbore), which is the key reason bullets fired up are still deadly coming back down (because their spin from the rifling stabilizes their flight). They'll tumble instead and fall to the ground with about the force of a comparably-sized pebble dropped from the shot's apex (1-200 feet, I think). Meaning, at worst, it can be annoying but it shouldn't be lethal.

        1. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: Let the arms race begin...

          "They'll tumble instead and fall to the ground with about the force of a comparably-sized pebble dropped from the shot's apex (1-200 feet, I think). Meaning, at worst, it can be annoying but it shouldn't be lethal."

          Yes and no. Depending on the angle at which it was fired, it may still be travelling horizontally with some force - even if it's vertical speed is only the acceleration due to gravity from the apex.

          At best it bounces off, at worst it could break the skin. If it hits a small child or a vulnerable area (e.g. your eyes) the results could be more severe. Of course this guy wouldn't know if anyone was "downrange" if he was shooting over a 2-metre privacy fence...

        2. itzman

          Re: Let the arms race begin...

          Bit more than that. I've heard pellets rustling through the leaves about 150m from where someone was shooting.

          I reckon top range is 200m, but once over 50 m is definitely sub lethal and at 100m unlikely top even sting.

          Unless you are loaded with other than birdshot.

          1. Charles Manning

            Re: Let the arms race begin...

            It all depends on the shot you're using...

            If this guy just picked up his home defence shotgun loaded with slugs or OO buckshot (9 balls) he would be lucky to hit a drone, but the projectiles travel a reasonable range.

            If he had lighter bird shot in there, the pellets don't fly as far. 7 or 8 (typically used for skeet) does not make it past about 300m or so but have lost their ability to cause any damage long before then.

            The ideal anti-drone shotgun load would probably be some sort of "chain shot" using nylon and rubber balls. Absolutely zero danger to people when they come down, but would cause a lovely tangle on the props.

            1. Boothy

              Re: Let the arms race begin...

              He apparently loaded bird shot, specifically because he was using it in a built up area.

      2. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: Let the arms race begin...

        "I don't know much about guns, but I imagine that a typical shotgun charge has a lot of small round shot in it, so the risk of that coming down far away elsewhere under gravity and remaining momentum is a whole lot smaller than a bullet."

        A lot less than a bullet, and being spherical, the shot has an awful ballistic co-efficient and bleeds it's energy very quickly.

        Depending on the weight of shot and the powder load (26/28/32g) as well as the range, it could break the skin or worse if you caught one in the eye.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Let the arms race begin...

      "Discharging a gun inside the city limits can be problematic though, because you're never sure where the bullet will end up if you miss (and sometimes even if you hit - pass through, minimal loss of velocity etc) but I'd think a shotgun would have been ok in that regard."

      Shotgun = lots of little balls of shot, not one big bullet (assuming he wasn't shooting solid slug, and I'd be amazed if he hit a drone with solid slug!).

      Pro: those pellets bleed energy quickly and won't go more than 300yds.

      Cons: Lots of them means it's a statistical certainty not all of them will hit the drone - that's the point, you fire a pattern of shot and effectively get more than one attempt per cartridge.

      This means shot WILL have landed downrange - not very far, but probably on someone else's property. That's reckless endangerment.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Let the arms race begin...

        This means shot WILL have landed downrange - not very far, but probably on someone else's property. That's reckless endangerment.

        Only if said neighbours decide to press charges. As the drone was had probably flown over their property they might side with him on this.

        I guess that there will soon be areas of the US proclaiming themselves to be Drone Free and allowing their residents to shoot them down on sight.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let the arms race begin...

      Mythbusters did a test on this, go watch the results before forming an opinion

    4. P. Lee
      Linux

      Re: Let the arms race begin...

      > finders-keepers, losers

      Hmm, down Amazon's drone, see if its carrying anything you want and send it back up again.

      Better yet, train a falcon (or a penguin) to pick off the payload.

  9. ShadowDragon8685
    Meh

    Meh. I'm of two minds on this.

    On the one hand, I'm a firm supporter of gun ownership, gun use, and especially home defense.

    On the other, I'm also a firm believer that you are responsible for the privacy you wish to enjoy. If it can be seen by someone who is not trespassing, you have no right to complain. (ex. if you walk around naked in front of bay windows, you have no right to complain if people stop and enjoy an eyeful.)

    In this case, I have to ask the question: how high above a property's ground-level boundariesl does their jurisdiction extend? Does the height of the tallest permanent structure on that land matter? (I think it should, to cover, for example, skyscrapers.)

    Does a person have jurisdiction over the airspace above their home at all? And if that is indeed the case, how much will that jurisdiction be abrogated in the name of public passage? For example, in the US, most homes' property lines actually extend out into the middle of the street, but you can't, say, go and erect a fence crossing the sidewalk and your half of the street. Whether or not you own the land (and hence are technically responsible for it, particularly for clearing it of snow and ice in winteritme,) you aren't allowed to, say, put up traffic cones to reserve the curbside parking area for yourself, nor are you permitted to prevent others from traversing the sidewalk.

    Ultimately, I think people are just going to have to accept that elevated persons (or their agents, IE, their drones in this case,) can look onto their property, and they're going to have to treat the air space like they treat the sidewalk; either put up a big fence (in this case, a dome?) or just do without and accept that anything that can be seen from an elevated point of view is still something that's in plain sight, and hence, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    That said, the drone operators definitely should not have been flying low and/or slow enough that some hick with a shotgun could take it down. They were in fuckin' Kentucky! Folks 'round those parts tend to be good shots.

    WRT the question of how high above someone's property their jurisdiction ends, I dunno. Perhaps 25m above the height of the highest part of the tallest permanent structure on the land. You definitely shouldn't have to tolerate someone buzzing your tower with a drone, but at the same time, you shouldn't have the right to go full paranoid arsehole and shoot down anything that crosses the property line.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I'm not sure "height" is the requirement. Most cities do regulate how high a privacy fence can be however.

      Where the gray (grey) area is with multistory housing. If you're looking in a window, say across the street with binoculars, you can be arrested for being a Peeping Tom. I'm assuming from what I've read, that this is problem with the drones.. fly along slowly and photograph the inside of apartments, etc. I would think this principle could be applied even on a single floor unit.

      If I put up a privacy fence, I have an expectation of privacy from the "normal" view. Drones violate that "normal" viewing.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Actually, a homeowner normally DOES possess air rights to the space immediately above their homes, up to a certain height where it's government-regulated airspace instead (where airplanes fly). I know this because my neighborhood signed an eminent domain settlement giving the Navy an easement allowing the jets of a nearby airbase to fly over our neighborhood in exchange for compensation. They wouldn't do this unless the homeowners actually owned the space over their houses.

      1. Boothy

        Quote: "Actually, a homeowner normally DOES possess air rights to the space..."

        If that's the case across the USA, then I guess the drone itself was trespassing, and so was effectively 'asking for it'.

        1. Boothy

          I did a bit of quick googling, as far as I can see, in the USA, normal private property owns all rights to the immediate airspace above the property, up to 500 feet.

          So anything entering that airspace without permission, is trespassing.

        2. Irony Deficient

          US airspace rights

          Boothy, yes, it’s US-wide due to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Causby (1946). This part of that decision could be relevant in this instance:

          While the owner does not in any physical manner occupy that stratum of airspace [below 500 feet (152.4 m)] or make use of it in the conventional sense, he does use it in somewhat the same sense that space left between buildings for the purpose of light and air is used. The superadjacent airspace at this low altitude [83 feet (25.3 m) in this case] is so close to the land that continuous invasions of it affect the use of the surface of the land itself. We think that the landowner, as an incident to his ownership, has a claim to it and that invasions of it are in the same category as invasions of the surface.
          State governments can (and do) regulate airspace below 500 feet.

  10. Gambler
    Thumb Up

    Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

    The thing about "rights" is that you do not have ther right to intrude in other peoples yards, especially i there is a 6 FOOT fence that clearly screams "I want my privacy!!!". The charge of discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood, well that is hard to argue about. If you operate your drone in such a manner that someone finds issue with it, you should have your expensive MANTOY confiscated and possibly charged with illegal survalence of other people or something along those lines. Learn how to jam such devices instead of going cowboy on them. Hint they are suseptible to uhf disturbances and the best way to do this by a wait for it-Citizens Band hand held radio or another RC toy. I understand the frustration of being charged for the greatly aimed shotgun blast, unless you own your own ranch you cannot do that( the spent shot has to land somewhere) and neighborhoods have those rules for a reason. Drones are no excuse for bad behavior and you should be held responsible for thier use or misuse. Good job standing your ground on the open carry. Nice to see proper application of laws and good supervision by honest police. Good job cops for not trampling a homeownwers rights to his property. Shame on you who own the drone; you got what you had coming!!!

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

      I'm sorry, at what point did the drone's operators intrude in this person's yard?

      Putting up a tall fence does not make your property magically invisible. It blocks line of sight by virtue of being a solid object. But you can't claim that nobody flying overhead is in the wrong if they happen to observe what's going on there, just as you can't claim that somebody is in the wrong if you put up no privacy fence and someone observes what's going on in your yard under those circumstances.

      Now, if the drone was hovering around rooftop level, then yeah, they should have been yelled at for that, but calling the cops and having the cops slap the cuffs on them - or slap a fine on them - is an appropriate response, not shooting the drone down. That's only acceptable if the drone is actually shooting AT you, same as if the guy was physically present with a camcorder.

      1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

        Having read the original article, it seems the drone was operating at BELOW roof height (approx 10 feet), and stopping at intervals to ogle sunbathing girls, including HIS daughters!

        See http://www.wdrb.com/story/29650818/hillview-man-arrested-for-shooting-down-drone-cites-right-to-privacy

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

          Yep, shoot it down, no fecking peeping tom is gonna look at my daughters sunbathing, less he marries 'em first.

          Seriously, the guy made his point (point blank) and I bet drone-boy will be a lot more careful in future.

          And, I do see a potential market for drone jamming tools on the horizon.

      2. Adam JC

        Re: Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

        So what you're saying, is that if your two 16 year old daughters are sunbathing in your garden and suddenly a drone flies over the fence at lower than roof level (Presumably with a camera attached), you'd be perfectly okay with this? I think anyone in the same boat would be pretty miffed. Admittedly, shooting it out of the sky is a tad overkill but certainly whip a pressure washer out or throw something at it!

        1. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

          "So what you're saying, is that if your two 16 year old daughters are sunbathing in your garden and suddenly a drone flies over the fence at lower than roof level (Presumably with a camera attached), you'd be perfectly okay with this?"

          But would you also be okay with your neighbour shooting at it, perhaps unaware that your daughters are sunbathing (because of the privacy fence) and injuring or even blinding them when they get peppered with shot?

          Droneboy wasn't in the right here, but the shooter could rightly be facing reckless endangerment charges.

          1. Adam JC

            Re: Na Na Nana Na(not a coward-forgot password)

            I didn't say I'd be okay with my neighbour shooting it, I said I would have whipped a pressure washer out or threw something at it. I live in England, where if you tried something like this, you'd almost certainly be arrested on the spot. Then again, nobody in England would attempt this as firearms aren't handed out like sweets here, you actually have to go through rigorous assessments and psychological evaluation before being allowed to own one!

      3. Dan Paul

        Re: Na Na Nana Na @ShadowDragon8685 PRIVATE AIRSPACE!

        The drone pilot got what he deserved, the home owner has a right to privacy in his own yard. Let alone that I believe you have private airspace over your own property.

        It is quite illegal in many states to point ANY surveillance camera on to anothers private property. The drone had a camera. The homeowner was concerned that the drone was "perving" on his daughters.

        Most states have "Peeping Tom" laws as well. I say the drone pilot was guilty of BOTH infractions as well as criminal trespass. The gun owner was within his rights to shoot the drone down as it was just a "proxy" for a Peeping Tom.

        Hell, we have hail here that frequently gets to the size of baseballs here and that's way more dangerous than No. 8 Birdshot. The homeowner shouldn't get charged with ANYTHING, even the offense of discharging a firearm within city limits which all towns have. He was defending his property and daughters against a potential pervert.

        I am claiming private airspace rights up to 400 feet above my property so NO DRONES will overfly the boundaries of my property line.

        1. Boothy

          Re: Na Na Nana Na @ShadowDragon8685 PRIVATE AIRSPACE!

          The airspace above a private property is owned by the property owner (up to a point, where it becomes public airspace).

          Any aircraft, or drone etc. that is flying below the public airspace is technically trespassing, irrespective of their reason.

          So when they flew the drone over the persons garden/yard, they were breaking the law.

        2. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: Na Na Nana Na @ShadowDragon8685 PRIVATE AIRSPACE!

          I'm sorry, I don't buy that.

          Technology should not be restricted by laws, laws should adjust to accommodate technology.

          Drones are, quite simply, the way of the future, just like cameras were.

          People just need to get with the fact that folks' cameras are gonna be buzzing around doing stuff, and they might be seen, incidentally or intentionally, and if they don't like that, then they need to take steps to block the view of those drones, just as they took steps to block the view of Joe Blow walking by with a camera. Now Joe Blows' camera has wings, they need to adapt.

          Privacy is something you have a reasonable expectation to when you're within four walls and under a ceiling you have control over, or which deal in delicate times where you expect it (IE, a public restroom, or clothier's fitting room.) When out in the yard, not so much.

          Now, the drone guys were being arseholes and no mistake, they definitely should not have been buzzing over people's houses, but that was not a shooting offense. They definitely should have been much higher and/or over the street or sidewalk.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the Google Maps cars...

    There was a big outcry when they started filming everywhere, and people's faces are now usually blurred out, even if they are caught outside of their own properties.

    Now we have drones and every moron can intrude other people's privacy and put the filmed material online. (Quite comparable to Google Glass and similar technology)

    In many countries it's not allowed to film persons of no public interest whatsoever and publish the material without their consent. Now how many drone owners will walk the flight path afterwards and get consent of everybody caught on camera?

    There really ought to be some clearly defined rules as to where and how to use drones. Maybe even a license to operate them. I know it sounds a bit over the top, but soon we'll see accidents involving drones with humans, property (oops, did not see that window coming!), cars, maybe even private small aircraft.

    <tinfoil mode>

    Maybe $government has no interest in regulating it too early though. The filmed and published material might be of use.

    </tinfoil mode>

    I can sympathise with the guy. I'm not pro guns at all, but if he used it on his property without remotely endangering anybody and managed to take out a flying drone, it really can't have been far away. Quite skilled that dude.

  12. davtom

    I don't know all the details of this, but:

    (1) The drone operators probably were breaking some laws when they commanded their drone to fly over somebody else's property, especially if the drone was not in sight of the operators at the time; but

    (2) Discharging a firearm to disable the drone would seem to be an act that has ample potential to be dangerous. The flight path of the drone after being shot could not possibly be controlled and it could easily cause damage to property and/or injury.

    Also, it would seem that the gun owner threatened the operators with shooting them. In Britain, that would rightly get you locked up. I don't understand why or how that's acceptable in America.

    Both parties were in the wrong IMO.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      "Also, it would seem that the gun owner threatened the operators with shooting them. In Britain, that would rightly get you locked up. I don't understand why or how that's acceptable in America."

      Slightly different. He effectively stated that if they came onto his land looking for a fight he would shoot them, putting the fight to an end.

      Castle Doctrine is alive and well in the US.

      Simply threatening to shoot them would not be acceptable. Stating that he would defend himself with his firearm if they approached him is a bit different.

      He's still in the wrong though, as his action in shooting down the drone probably constituted reckless endangerment since he could not have known if there were people downrange, beyond his opaque privacy fence.

    2. euclid

      "Discharging a firearm to disable the drone would seem to be an act that has ample potential to be dangerous. The flight path of the drone after being shot could not possibly be controlled and it could easily cause damage to property and/or injury."

      Right. A damaged quad could crash anywhere in battery range and poses a significant risk of injury, damage and fire.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        "A damaged quad could crash anywhere in battery range and poses a significant risk of injury, damage and fire."

        This is the real issue here. Regardless of what method used (lead shot, nylon and rubber chain shot, water, radio interference), there is a strong possibility of the incapacitated drone falling uncontrolled from a significant height. The "uncontrolled" aspect means there is a risk of injury or damage to property, regardless of how "safe" the method of bringing it down is. Liability is then going to spread far and wide without clear laws on this.

        Note: I don't really defend either party here. The drone operators behaved badly, but so did the man with the gun. However, my wife would insist on me finding a way to bring down a drone hovering over the garden, and I'd e classed as "useless" if I didn't - regardless of how little I would care in most situations.

    3. phil8192

      Firing a shotgun loaded with bird shot or similar size pellets into the air is pretty harmless. The shot pellets are unlikely to cause injury, even falling directly onto a person's uncovered head, and certainly don't have enough kinetic energy remaining to cause property damage.

      I'm assuming Mr. Merideth's shotgun was loaded with bird shot, but the article doesn't reveal this detail.

  13. itzman

    Hard to hit with a shotgun?

    With respect, shotguns were designed to hit fast moving highly manoeuvrable objects at moderate range.

    And be reasonably safe at so doing - the kinetic energy of the pellets drops away fast over 100m or so.

    They are the weapon of choice for anti-drone flak operations.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Hard to hit with a shotgun?

      "With respect, shotguns were designed to hit fast moving highly manoeuvrable objects at moderate range."

      Agreed. I don't know what shotgun owners get up to stateside, but in the UK the most popular sport is probably clay-pigeon shooting (skeet shooting if you're left-pondian), and if you're any good at that a moving drone at a reasonably low height wouldn't be a problem as they're much slower.

      As far as endangerment of his neighbours goes, I've always got the impression that on a clay-pigeon shoot, no-one's too bothered about who's the other side of the hedge at the end of the field, as if you're firing almost straight up, standard shot will have lost pretty much all of its kinetic energy by the time it hits the ground.

      Had he been using a rifle though, there certainly would be a case for a serious endangerment charge. For example, you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of a .303 bullet even at 2 miles or so, and that's with a flat trajectory when fired at a paper target and missing the range butts. I dread to think how far it would go if fired up in the air, and it would certainly "sting a bit" if it hit someone when it came down again.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Hard to hit with a shotgun?

        "As far as endangerment of his neighbours goes, I've always got the impression that on a clay-pigeon shoot, no-one's too bothered about who's the other side of the hedge at the end of the field, as if you're firing almost straight up, standard shot will have lost pretty much all of its kinetic energy by the time it hits the ground."

        Is it the norm to actually have homes on the opposite side of shooting ranges over there?

        1. TitterYeNot

          Re: Hard to hit with a shotgun?

          "Is it the norm to actually have homes on the opposite side of shooting ranges over there?"

          If you're firing a shotgun up at clay-pigeons in a big field, quite possibly (we don't have the acreage luxury that comes with being a continent unfortunately.)

          My only experiences of firing .303 rounds on a range involved having a few hundred square miles of MOD land behind the butts. So no homes, just a few dead tanks etc.

      2. Soap Distant

        Re: Hard to hit with a shotgun?

        @TitterYeNot

        "As far as endangerment of his neighbours goes, I've always got the impression that on a clay-pigeon shoot, no-one's too bothered about who's the other side of the hedge at the end of the field, as if you're firing almost straight up, standard shot will have lost pretty much all of its kinetic energy by the time it hits the ground."

        Every clay shoot I've been to in the UK has a safety officer who ensures to the best of their ability that no gun will be discharged within 300yards of of a public highway or other land. The types of ammunition are restricted at clay shoots so that the range is limited. Shot size and charge are limited, admittedly some idiots may fail to observe these restrictions. If this guy used size 8 shot, it's like pinheads and would feel at worst like light rain if it landed on you.

        What's astonishing is that it broke the drone at 83m (did someone say?) That's an Olympian shot with size 8 and a seriously fragile drone! I'd be mightily impressed if I could even chip a clay target at that range!

        Anyway, what kind of bollock-headed rude twat flies a drone over someone else's property? Really? Not sure they got everything they deserved.

        SD

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Hard to hit with a shotgun?

          From what I've read, it was only 3 meters, not 83, so almost point-blank (which I think is < 1m).

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And the drone owners?

    Were they charged with FAA flying offences? I don't know about the States, but I'm sure they have something in their regulations essentially similar to 'must be higher than 500ft above built-up areas' and I feel sure that 500ft vertical is well out of shotgun range.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: And the drone owners?

      It would certainly be worth the shooter's time filing charges against them. Even if he gets fined for shooting it down, a larger fine for them would send the message that their behaviour wasn't acceptable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the drone owners?

      Posted this above, but the FAA regulations for drones is the same as other model aircraft for personal use:

      •Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles

      •Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times

      •Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations

      •Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying

      •Don't fly near people or stadiums

      •Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs

      •Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

      http://www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft/

      If they had actually been flying the drone above 500ft, then the FAA would want to talk to them, but there are still other points there that they're likely afoul of.

  15. codejunky Silver badge

    Good on him

    And of course good shot. Hopefully the fine will be almost nothing and the warning to drone operators invading peoples privacy will be public. This guy shot the drone for flying low and holding steady as it invaded peoples privacy and entered their property space.

    Also while people have suggested knocking the drone out with a pressure washer or other methods it should be noted that a violent confrontation was defused by the open carry Glock. Instead of a violent altercation the cops arrived to a dispute of invaded property and discharging a gun within city limits (but on private property).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good on him

      Yup. I suspect if more and more drones are used to invade privacy there will eventually be a rise in people training in clay pigeon shooting.

      I suspect that the first person who comes up with a defender drone or another means to reliably down a drone will have quite a winner on their hands, provided they have the usual caveats in the operating manual. I'd buy one, I hate the f*cking idiots who have no respect for someone else's privacy. I want my kids to grow up in peace.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Good on him

      "Hopefully the fine will be almost nothing and the warning to drone operators invading peoples privacy will be public."

      The fine for shooting down the drone, maybe.

      The sanction for recklessly endangering neighbours I hope is more severe.

      Not sure which I would object to more - being snooped on or being (and having my family and property) peppered with shot by neighbours...

    3. Jediben

      Re: Good on him

      There is no evidence of any possibility of a violent confrontation from the report. The lack of violence can not be attributed to the presence of a hand gun. There is nothing to suggest that either party intended to be violent, bar the declaration that should the home owner's property boundary be breached would lead to the further discharge of a firearm.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Good on him

        @ Jediben

        "There is no evidence of any possibility of a violent confrontation from the report. The lack of violence can not be attributed to the presence of a hand gun."

        ok

        "The lack of violence can not be attributed to the presence of a hand gun."

        ah

        "There is nothing to suggest that either party intended to be violent"

        hmm

        "bar the declaration that should the home owner's property boundary be breached would lead to the further discharge of a firearm."

        ALARM BELLS!

        On this comments section I have read one comparing him to dirty harry and one asking if he shot someone on halloween. Various have commented how stupid it was to shoot it and I think someone even suggested throwing something at it (coz that wont come down will it?). And the safe and effective method used for the violation of his property gains this kind of criticism. So reading a potential violent altercation is not difficult from the following text-

        "They asked me, 'Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?' and I said, 'Yes I am,'" he said. "I had my 40mm Glock* on me and they started toward me and I told them, 'If you cross my sidewalk, there's gonna be another shooting.'"

        If some people are gonna assume him a homicidal maniac or just some dick, I am going to give him reasonable doubt based on an average guy protecting his home and not wanting a situation to get out of hand.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good on him

      "violent confrontation was defused by the open carry Glock"

      Maybe. In this case. But what if the drone operators were open-carry nuts all carrying handguns?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Good on him

        @AC

        "Maybe. In this case. But what if the drone operators were open-carry nuts all carrying handguns?"

        I wonder where you stand on this calling them open-carry nuts. I am guessing you would have no problem if they decided to knock 7 bells out of each other or if the guys controlling the drone figured their numbers and the group mentality escalated the confrontation against the 1 guy? But because nothing happened because he defused the situation with a clear warning against any non-legal trouble you consider him an open carry gun nut. Hmm.

        Most people are not suicidal nor homicidal. You appear to be suggesting they are.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good on him

          1. It's Kentucky, it wouldn't be too surprising if they did have their guns on them. Especially if they were going to confront a guy that just fired his own gun off.

          2. The other AC was presenting a hypothetical, not actually stating that they were gun nuts.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Good on him

            @AC

            "The other AC was presenting a hypothetical, not actually stating that they were gun nuts."

            I have no problem with a hypothetical except he labels them open carry nuts with pistols. Owning a gun != nuts. Open carry of a gun != nuts. In the UK this is a distinction which seems to require great intelligence on the part of the listener as people have some crazy ideas about gun owners and users of guns. But the AC didnt offer what expectation he would have if they all open carry. It seemed to imply that if they did all open carry then they would all be nuts and that doesnt imply anything good.

  16. auburnman

    The shooter just needs to spin this right to walk free: This was a home invasion, just so happens to be the first unmanned variant thereof we have heard about. Since a drone has spinning blades he should easily be able to claim self-defence if it was within range to be brought down by a shotgun. How high the drone was will come down to his word vs. theirs unless the camera footage survived. I was expecting something like this to happen way back when animal rights groups in the UK said they'd start using drones to monitor farmers livestock.

    I'm no gun fan, but the new wave of drone owners need to learn some acceptable limits and fast.

    1. Boothy

      He shot it with bird shot, which has quite a limited effective range,

      In the US, 500 feet above your property is considered private airspace, if the drone was above 500 feet, it would have been out of range of the bird shot, so the fact it was shot down over his property, means it must have been under 500 feet to be in range, and so therefore was trespassing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This was a home invasion"

      in case you didn't read the article, this was OUTSIDE.

      1. auburnman

        Outside, but still on his property, harassing his family, lower than rooftop height.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        "in case you didn't read the article, this was OUTSIDE." I think in most common law jurisdictions, "Home" begins at the boundary of the property occupied by the owner/occupier. The garden would be classed as "home", with permission (express or implied) required to enter the property. I have always had the impression that the mailboxes on the edge of the boundary in the USA were recognition of this (thought I could be wrong on that).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for him

    If the drone was flying over and taking pictures / videos over private property without permission I would say that is a privacy violation.

    if it was low and over his property when he shot it down then the only person who would endanger is himself/his family and certainly so if it was at 10 feet and his fence is 6 feet high it would most likely fall on his property.

    Shotguns are close quarters weapons, the pellets lose energy very quickly, fallout from pellets do not hurt, I do a lot of clay shooting and, shooting at overhead targets, I get rained on by my own pellets, rain drops have more impact force than a pellet falling straight down.

    Anon, 'coz.

    1. Joe Harrison

      Re: Good for him

      Things fly over my house without my permission all the time, doesn't mean I can shoot them down.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Good for him

        Birds are generally benign so don't constitute a threat (possible exceptions being a hawk that threatens your pet; if that happens, fending it off and then calling Animal Control would be considered reasonable).

        As for airplanes, they're usually in the government-owned airspace above the space you own (private property extends upward to the edge of commercial airspace).

  18. Lamb0
    Big Brother

    #8 shot

    isn't necessarily a huge public hazard; but it's usually pretty noisy. I predict a slap on the homeowner's wrist from criminal court... and ri¢her attorney$ from the ¢ivil law$uit$.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wait

    Until the drones start shooting back!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqHrTtvFFIs

    1. Lamb0
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Just wait

      In that case law enforcement might request the assistance of nearby radio amateurs for a "fox hunt" if the FCC team isn't readily available. Even my Step-Grandfather (WA6SDD) would have been willing to participate.

      Receivers are cheap, frequencies are well known, antennas are fairly simple to build, and the drone's range is limited; (though rarely transmitting). It also gives "Neighbourhood Watch" a whole new reason to keep their eyes open!

      1. elDog Silver badge

        Re: Just wait

        Fantastic idea! Find out the frequency that is being used to communicate with the drone and jam it.

        Drone bye bye.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Just wait

          Probably not, if they loose signal dont they just retrace their steps to get home?

          What you would really want to do would be to send some kind of shutdown signal prompting a slow descent - perhaps onto your property - but then that might be theft...

          Alternative - send a signal for it to fly somewhere remote (Assuming available) climb to maximum altitude and then shut down.

          Alternative #2 - I like this one. Trigger the return home mechanism but at whatever the maximum speed for these things is...

  20. Breen Whitman

    Maybe this guy is the same who shot a kid to death...on Halloween night...through his closed door when he heard knocking.

    That was deemed justified. And he was a quitted.

  21. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Stand your ground

    Them darn airliners kept overflying my properties so I took it out with my Stinger I got in Walmart. Serves them pinko commies right in thinking they can look at my children.

    It's my right as defined by the constitution, darn it

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It took 4 not 1 idiots to do this?

    Just exactly what were 4 idiots up to flying this cam equipped drone at low altitude around the back yards of a posh suburb? Scouting burglaries, looking to peep? There is more to this story.

    It did not say, but hopefully the thing crashed into his yard, and he confiscated it.

    Other commenter was dead on, if it had Google painted on the side, he would have been in deep doodoo.

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: It took 4 not 1 idiots to do this?

      "Just exactly what were 4 idiots up to flying this cam equipped drone at low altitude around the back yards of a posh suburb? Scouting burglaries, looking to peep? There is more to this story."

      I draw your attention to the $1800 price tag on the drone, odds are that these were residents of the aforementioned "Posh" suburb playing with a new toy that one of them has bought.

      If you think some guys messing about with tech has to have a sinister back story may I suggest that you would do better reading the daily mail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It took 4 not 1 idiots to do this?

        I draw your attention to the $1800 price tag on the drone, odds are that these were residents of the aforementioned "Posh" suburb playing with a new toy that one of them has bought.

        If you think some guys messing about with tech has to have a sinister back story may I suggest that you would do better reading the daily mail.

        On the flip side, if you use a toy that expensive to invade other people's privacy (which is what happened), maybe you need that thing downed to learn a very important lesson. If 4 idiots cannot come up with that observation between them, then personally I don't mind the resulting practical demonstration of consequences. They've been lucky they did so by proxy, using a drone.

  23. kamereon

    Reasonable Expectation to Privacy

    This comes down to definitions and it is a topic that will have to be addressed. In most US states there are rules that define a reasonable expectation to privacy. If someone goes through pains to get up to your window and watch you undress - that's a Peeping Tom and they can be arrested. If, however, you regularly strip down in your living room with the curtains open...someone can photograph you and it would be legal to do so.

    Planes and hot air balloons can fly over your residence without issue, but how about drones? It boils down to intent, but how to legally clarify it so enthusiasts can fly and gun owners don't feel provoked?

  24. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    So what's the best way to down a drone?

    Here in the UK, the firearm option is unavailable*, so what are the alternatives, and how legal are they?

    An earlier commentard suggested a pressure hose, which sounds like fun, though I expect the range is a bit limited, and you would probably get complaints from anybody who was underneath.

    Someone else suggested a defence drone that could drop stuff into the intruder's rotors.

    What about electronic counter-measures? I assume traffic to and from the drone is encrypted to prevent hijacking, but would it be possible to disrupt it in some way? The attraction of this is that it would be much harder to trace the drone's "accident" back to you.

    * Given the amount of willy-waving associated with firearms, I'm not sorry, though I anticipate a shoal of downvotes for saying so.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: So what's the best way to down a drone?

      Modern radio control stuff is a lot more sophisticated than in days of yore. A drone can generally be set up to return to the launch site if it loses comms with the transmitter. This isn't foolproof but it's unlikely that jamming will cause instant loss of aerodynamic control (even if it can't respond directly to the owner).

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: So what's the best way to down a drone?

        A bottle-rocket set up to release party poppers at random height and direction might bring the drone down while staying within the law.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: So what's the best way to down a drone?

      For a low-flying Peeping Tom drone like in this incident, how about a decent-sized throwing net, say 2m diameter? Toss it up, bag the drone, pull it back to earth, and report to the police with the evidence, so to say, in hand?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Danger danger

    Yep the pellets could have fallen from the sky hurting someone or damaging property, just as the drone could have. Charge both and everyone learns what is acceptable in crowded neighbourhoods.

    1. Tempest8008

      Re: Danger danger

      It was #8 birdshot!

      The pellets were tiny and when falling would never get to a speed where they could injure someone or damage property. You'd be in more danger of a bird flying over and crapping in your eye.

      As a father with kids I would take great exception to someone flying a drone over my house without my permission.

      As a father with kids I would take great exception to someone using a gun to shoot down that drone, were I their neighbour.

      I make no pronouncements either way in this case. Both parties were in the wrong as far as I'm concerned (and as you pointed out) and I, for one, will be watching to see how the Courts deal with the issue. As others have noted, this will be an interesting test case.

  26. Kruzman

    He has a pretty good case for firing his weapon in city limit with justification of trespass. since it was casing his yard, house, etc he can treat it the same as any trespasser.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gits exhibiting loathsome behaviour

    Some git in a powered glider flew over the farm a few months ago. I called police and they told me that there was nothing they oould do -- it was an MOT matter. He -- or maybe she, but I don't expect women to exhibit such loathsome behaviour -- never actually flew over the house but the whole episode infruriates me. Do these gits walk around city neighbourhoods with binoculars looking into windows? Privacy laws need to be updated.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Gits exhibiting loathsome behaviour

      If they flew within 500ft of your farm, and the farm isn't within the approach path of a scheduled aerodrome (not a private strip), then report it to the CAA, not the MOT (who won't have a clue).

  28. FuzzyTheBear

    Getting them

    Can we get drone owners for voyeurism when they fly over houses ?

    Im totally for shooting the lot down.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Getting them

      Tresspass, certainly. Voyeurism would depend on its actions during the intrusion.

      As for shooting down, that's something of a gray area. If one could bag, net, or otherwise capture the drone while it's over your property, one could at least argue confiscation and get off. Shooting it down will take more arguing before the judge since the circumstances can result in collateral damage, which is why most localities don't allow discharging within their limits.

  29. Yugguy

    Sod the drone owners

    I havent much sympathy for them. America is HUGE, drive out somewhere into the country and do it. Thats what I'd do even in the UK.

    Would a mobile phone signal jammer work as a none-destructive way of getting rid of a drone?

  30. Roq D. Kasba

    I've spotted a market

    Thin, strong threads hanging loosely between a tree at the end of the garden and the rooftop - fly through them with a rotary wing and they'll immediately get caught all around the propeller shafts making the units pretty much useless and fall from the sky in a nice semi-controlled way. Then you own a drone.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I've spotted a market

      Not unless it's a guarded rotor, in which case it'll deflect off the guard and continue flying.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Treble damages and jail time

    This guy deserves to pay treble damages and spend 6 months in jail for his crime. In addition his right to carry a hand gun permit should be revoked as this guy clearly has mental issues and should not be in possession of any firearms with his state of mind.

  32. phil8192
    Facepalm

    Atta boy, Mr. Merideth.

    Whenever the local phone company, cable television company or electric utility need to go into my back yard to access the utility pole, they ring my doorbell and ask permission first. If the drone operators had a legitimate reason for flying over William Merideth's house, such as taking aerial photos for a real estate listing, they could have politely knocked on his door and that of other residents in the neighborhood in advance, identified themselves, presented credentials, and let them know what they were doing. If they had done that, they'd still have their $1800 toy.

  33. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Within his rights

    I would say he's 100% within his rights. The drone's worth $1,800? Welp, maybe you should not be tresspassing your expensive drone onto other peoples property. I don't have a gun, but fully intend to net and keep any unauthorized drones that fly onto my property (if I'm in a good mood and can see the operator, I'd warn them ONCE to not keep flying it on my property.). As for difficulty of hitting the drone - one commenter commented he used birdshot (which is safe when it falls back out of the sky, unlike a slug or shell.) This also would make it much easier to hit a drone than with a shell -- the shell has one chance to hit or miss the drone, the buckshot or birdshot both scatter, and I assume it'd only take one or two flecks of shot to disable the drone.

  34. stringyfloppy

    Are people expected to know what a drone is, and be able to differentiate it from other things? Are we supposed to be able to tell when it's close enough to the ground above our houses that it might hurt someone (people have been killed by "toy" radio controlled helicopters - it's not that unusual) and we should notify the police?

    These things are basically new, and apparently there are a lot of morons controlling them. I don't own a gun, but I'd take the garden hose to one of these things in a heartbeat of it was over my property. If the jackasses flying it call the police, I'll tell them I had zero idea what it was and thought I was under attack. "A 'drone?' You mean like an alien drone? Yeah, I thought it was something dangerous like that, a drone. I hope there isn't a queen around anywhere..."

    If authorities are going to let people fly these things around like fools, they also have to let us have absolutely no idea what the things are, and do whatever we can think of to knock them out of the sky, just as if it was a Stephen King book. I'm not going to restrain myself just because some dork paid $1,800 for the menacing aircraft he ordered online.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      I'd take the garden hose to one of these things in a heartbeat of it was over my property.

      LOL. If you get the same kind of pressure as we get from Thames Water it would be safe from that whilst flying close enough to cut your hair :).

  35. JB77

    Next time just call the cops :)

    Drones are considered to be aircraft by the FAA. Go here and read why:

    http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=76240

    The homeowner may own some rights to the airspace over his property but the control of the airspace belongs to the FAA. At least here in the USA. This means its illegal to shoot at any aircraft: Drones, Boeing777, police helicopters, Navy jets, blimps, etc. All aircraft are subject to the the control and laws of the FAA regarding flying.

    What will happen to him? He will pay a fine for discharging a weapon unlawfully in public, repay the drone owner for his loss AND the FAA may or may not decide to prosecute him.

    He SHOULD have just called the cops instead of taking the law into his own hands.

    JB

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Next time just call the cops :)

      "What will happen to him? He will pay a fine for discharging a weapon unlawfully in public, repay the drone owner for his loss AND the FAA may or may not decide to prosecute him."

      Regardless of what the FAA says, any object within the confines of one's household property would be considered trespassing. The homeowner could challenge the FAA ruling on the grounds that it breaches his expectation of privacy, also granted by federal law. Since it's a law-vs-law issue, it could easily end up in the federal courts.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, it's true, Americans love to shoot things

    Especially whiney whirring things belonging to douchebags.

  37. JustWondering
    Meh

    Well ...

    I can understand why the police would want to discourage citizens from shooting down drones with cameras on them, in case one of their own was objected to in a similar manner.

  38. R Hugh Sirius

    Kentucky man, Jed Clampett, shoots down drone. One of his missed shots struck oil. Now off they go to Beverly Hills.

  39. Gordon Stewart

    Nutjob?

    "I had my 40mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, 'If you cross my sidewalk, there's gonna be another shooting.'"

    Ah yes, that would be an entirely rational response?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nutjob?

      Ah yes, that would be an entirely rational response?!

      In context it is. The non-rational equivalent would be simply starting to shoot. This guy issued a warning, which is a controlled action indicating a property line that should not be crossed without invitation.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Nutjob?

        In an area where many people own guns, it is indeed a perfectly rational response.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much airspace above your house is considered property?

    We have that for whole Countries... but how about your house?

    How high must you fly before being considered trespassing?

    What if a douchebag was flying a Cessna, taking pictures? Would you shoot it then?

    Honest questions, no pun or sarcasm intended. One day I might fly a drone, or a plane. Or shoot a drone outta my backyard myself.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: How much airspace above your house is considered property?

      In the US, the limit is about 4-500 feet. Above that is considered commercial airspace controlled by the government. That said, the FAA has authority over all aircraft regardless of height. And since UAVs are considered by them to be aircraft, this slips into a legal gray area: regulation of aircraft vs. protected expectations of privacy, both federally regulated.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: How much airspace above your house is considered property?

        "In the US, the limit is about 4-500 feet"

        Nope - in the US it's 83 feet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How much airspace above your house is considered property?

          No, it's 500. I should know because I sold my air rights above a certain height (I think it was 100) to the Navy (because I live near a Navy jet base). I can't sell what I don't own.

          You're trying to cite United States v. Causby, but that ruling stated that while the US could take the airspace above in this case 83 feet, Causby had to be compensated for what essentially amounted to eminent domain. IOW, the air rights were Causby's to begin with but that also meant the government could apply legal avenues to obtain those rights. United States v. Causby also affirmed that airspace above a reasonable height (which at present is marked at 500 feet) belonged to the public and therefore fell under government regulation.

  41. Esme

    Good on 'im!

    I'm a Brit that really doesn't like the idea of citizenry in general being allowed firearms (I'd rather the dickheads in society not also be carrying firearms, ta very) but that said, I'm utterly supportive of the gentleman in shooting down the drone in those circumstances. If I owned a house and some cretin flew a drone over my garden, I'd be straight out there with a hosepipe or net, or anything else that I thought might take it out of the air, and never mind any damage to the drone. Drone operators should respect peoples desire for privacy and avoid flying them near houses. It's disgusting that the gentleman who downed the drone is being charged with anything at all, IMHO.

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