back to article Bloke whose drone was blasted out of sky by angry dad loses another court battle for compo

An appeals court has snubbed a drone owner's demand for $1,500 compensation from a furious dad who blew the flying gizmo out of the sky when it hovered over his family. In July 2015, William Merideth, 47, was at home in Hillview, Kentucky, America, when his daughter came in from sunbathing in the garden to say there was a …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Here was I thinking he was a simple knob for buzzing a family with his toy. Now it seems he has gone that extra litigious length to prove he is really a "grand knob of the 1st order".

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Coat

      @Paul Crawford

      Yes, the guy just keeps droning on about his lost property...

      (I'll get my coat. The drone pervs watching outside would probably ogle me otherwise)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, previous articles pretty well let Mr Crawford establish what a low life piece of crap he is. I don't know why he insists on going back to court - to make sure we never forget, perhaps?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Dig that hole a bit deeper

        Seems to be his motto these days.

        How far will he take it? China? Oh, the might build those drones there but I expect that Party Officals would take a very dim view to being buzzed by one.

        I think I'd suggest that he STFU from now on.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Dig that hole a bit deeper

          Shame the shooter can't countersue for spying on his daughter.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Dig that hole a bit deeper

            Trudat.

  2. GrapeBunch

    French air space

    Repeat after me, children: "Très bon est le nob qui n'a pas aucunement jamais de drone."

    Apologies in advance to those who control French air space, or who actually speak French.

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: French air space

      Ah, mon dieu, non, non, non... Quelle horreur...

    2. JimC Silver badge

      Re: French air space

      Dans ce pays-ci il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un drone pour décourager les autres.

    3. barbara.hudson

      Re: French air space

      "Arreter de m'ecourer avec tes maudit drones, je t'en cris un bon en tabarnac et me caliçe des police" works around my part of the woods. Franglais, anyone?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U72QVCgh_Q

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: French air space

        Merde

    4. Bandikoto

      Re: French air space

      Mieux d'être un nob dans le silence, que d'être un nob avec un drone et laisser tout le monde savoir.

    5. GrapeBunch

      Re: French air space

      Five reg-tards helped me with my French, there, for which I thank you. Invisible to you all, El Reg itself has joined in the noble effort by serving me ads in French. So make that six, er, six. And all because I noticed that "nob" is "bon" spelled backwards.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a colostomy bag...

    If you come into someone's yard & mount a camera on a pole so you can watch a child sunbathing, do you REALLY think the property owner isn't going to come out with a chainsaw to cut down the pole, a cricket bat to beat the shit out of the camera, & then offer to smash in your skull if you do it again?

    You flew a drone over his house so you could film his underage daughter, the courts aren't going to be sympathetic to your irrational demand to be compensated for the damaged goods.

    If you had tried that shit on the other side of the pond, would they have slapped you with an ASBO by now with cries of "think of the children!"?

    Keep on appealing the case against you, I hope you go bankrupt from the legal fees.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What a colostomy bag...

      "chainsaw to cut down the pole, a cricket bat to beat the shit out of the camera, & then offer to smash in your skull if you do it again?"

      I say, old chap, do the colonials actually have cricket bats to hand?

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Cricket bats

        many do, at least in the SF Bay area, one place cricket is actually played. And then there are all the items that look a lot like bats with Greek letters on them in fraternity houses all over the U.S. (for "ceremonial" purposes)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Cricket bats

          Not to mention baseball bats (which are nigh-ubiquitous in America) can inflict comparable damage, especially the aluminum ones. Their ubiquity and legality make them a preferred gang weapon when less-lethal force is required.

          1. thegroucho
            Joke

            Re: Cricket bats

            You will find they make them from aluminum in the colonies, not aluminium.

            Trolling of course!

            1. gcla72
              Joke

              Re: Cricket bats

              Mine is transparent aluminum. I put it down somewhere and now I can't find it.

            2. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: Cricket bats

              "You will find they make them from aluminum in the colonies, not aluminium."

              Yep, always good for a laugh at colonial ignorance to get them to name some heavy metals, Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Iridium, etc. and then throw in Aluminium...

              1. Patched Out
                Joke

                Re: Cricket bats

                Those silly Brits. Always adding extra syllables when the minimum will do.

                1. Stevie Silver badge

                  Re: always adding extra syllables

                  Okay, Patched Out: Crickt Bats.

                  Satsfied?

                  1. Toni the terrible

                    Re: always adding extra syllables

                    Does anyone recall Clickety Ba?

                    1. Glenturret Single Malt

                      Re: always adding extra syllables

                      Clicky Ba, was it not? In the Hotspur or one of its stablemates, Since it was around 60 years ago, I cannot remember the name of the (Oriental?) character who wielded this amazing instrument of war.

                2. Louis Schreurs BEng

                  Re: Cricket bats

                  the minimium will do nicely

                  1. Stevie Silver badge

                    Re: the minimium will do nicely

                    If that were true there would be no scallop-backed cricket bats.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cricket bats

              "You will find they make them from aluminum in the colonies"

              Which 'colonies' are you referring to?

              In New Zealend, any decent cricket bat would be made of proper willow as it should, but other lightweight metal products tend to be made of 'aluminium'. No idea what this 'aluminum' stuff is.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Cricket bats

            And aluminum supplies a rewarding "clank", a wooden bat on skull just sounds like you're banging cocoanuts.

            1. Captain DaFt

              Re: Cricket bats

              "just sounds like you're banging cocoanuts"

              Aaand that's another addition to my list of fetishes I want no part of! ☺

              1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

                Re: Cricket bats

                I think Kid Creole already beat you to it...

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Cricket bats

              "And aluminum supplies a rewarding "clank", a wooden bat on skull just sounds like you're banging cocoanuts."

              Depends. Some really prefer the wooden CRACK of the wood bat, and of course the pro leagues insist on wood for difficulty reasons.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Cricket bats

                Alumin(i)um bats don't "clank", they "ping". I totally agree, friends don't let friends use alumin(i)um bats. It's just not done.

          3. dbannon

            Re: Cricket bats

            Gad ! No gentleman would use an aluminium (or aluminum) bat.

            1. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Cricket bats

              Ah. memories of Dennis Lillee

        2. Number6

          Re: Cricket bats

          many do, at least in the SF Bay area, one place cricket is actually played.

          Yes, I've seen cricket in progress on the local school playing field at weekends. I think most, if not all, of those playing are of Indian (or near neighbour) descent, which might explain it. There are quite a few people from the sub-continent in the Bay Area so they have enough interest to make teams. Probably less so in Kentucky.

      2. Old Used Programmer

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        Where this took place...no. He'd probably use either a baseball bat or a "clue by 4".

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What a colostomy bag...

          I think you'll find it's not baseball bats or clue-by-4s where folks seem to like settling disputes this way ... they actually prefer axe handles. Or pool[0] cues.

          [0] Yes, I play snooker & billiards ... The boneheads who think physical force is the answer to everything have rarely heard of either more enlightened game.

      3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        Mostly aluminum baseball bats, they will do wonders on the skull.

      4. Jonah Hirsh
        WTF?

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        Yes, the colonials DO have access to the Internet, and cricket bats are there for the purchasing if needed.

      5. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        "I say, old chap, do the colonials actually have cricket bats to hand?"

        Amazon makes any piece of sporting equipment, no matter how exotic, just a click away.

      6. Chemical Bob

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        "I say, old chap, do the colonials actually have cricket bats to hand?"

        We have plenty of ax handles...

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: What a colostomy bag...

      I don't know if any one has been charged with this. But in the US there is a vague law that says taking pics of children's crotch for sexual gratification is illegal and puts you on the sex offenders list.

    3. Red Bren
      Childcatcher

      Re: What a colostomy bag...

      AC, could you cite where it says his daughters were under-age? I've re-read this latest article, the original El Reg article, and the WDRB story, and nowhere does it say mention under-age daughters. It's perfectly feasible that his daughters are in their twenties.

      What the drone's owner was doing was out of order. There's no need to invoke "Think of the children".

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        @Red Bren

        Do you have children? Doesn't matter, this is beside the point, I do believe if our drone mastabator had been looking at the marksmen's wife it would have resulted in the same result.

        Just think about your feelings regarding personal space and privacy...

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          @chivo243 --mRe: What a colostomy bag...

          I'm not sure why the downvote but I quire agree with you. Age doesn't matter in reality. A Peeping Tom is a Peeping Tom. Age nor sex matters. If their snooping.. they should get what they deserve.

        2. Red Bren
          Happy

          Re: What a colostomy bag...

          @chivo243

          Speaking as a parent, I have no more authority on this matter than a non-parent. The point I'm making is that the drone pilot was in the wrong, regardless of whether his target was the kids, the wife, the dad or the house. Which I think is the point you're making. So shall we agree to agree?

      2. RJChurchill

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        It didn't mention the girl was 16 in this article. But for less time to ask the Reg readers about the age you could google the incident and find out for yourself she was 16 and thus was under age.

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

        "VanMeter has a 16-year-old daughter who lays out at their pool. She says a drone hovering with a camera is creepy and weird."

      3. Rob Gr

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        I love the irony of someone who chooses the child-catcher as his profile image posting this.

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: What a colostomy bag...

      "If you come into someone's yard & mount a camera on a pole so you can watch a child sunbathing, do you REALLY think the property owner isn't going to come out with a chainsaw to cut down the pole, a cricket bat to beat the shit out of the camera, & then offer to smash in your skull if you do it again?"

      Sure, but I would also expect them to be arrested for assault and criminal damage and the court to order them to pay to fix said damage. They should have called to police to address the original issue...

      1. VulcanV5

        Call out the cops . . .

        @ TheVogon: You certainly have some odd notions about the role of the police:

        "Sure, but I would also expect them to be arrested for assault and criminal damage and the court to order them to pay to fix said damage. They should have called to police to address the original issue..."

        They should also have been prepared to wait for, let's say, two to six weeks whilst the police were busy dealing with other unambiguous crimes, after which time a nice community relations officer would've dropped by to say that, amazingly enough, we can't find anything in Law which stops you from blasting to smithereens the means whereby a possible paedophile gets off on viewing under-age children to their inevitable distress.

      2. PatientOne

        Re: What a colostomy bag...

        "Sure, but I would also expect them to be arrested for assault and criminal damage and the court to order them to pay to fix said damage. They should have called to police to address the original issue..."

        1) What assault? The previous comment was 'then OFFER to', which might be interpreted as a threat.

        2) Original poster stated: 'come into someone's yard' to 'mount a camera on a pole': That's trespass, probably criminal trespass (damage to the property when mounting the camera, or erecting the pole) and so the land owner has the right to remove said item, and yes, that removal can include destruction of said items - they were abandonned on private property, and the person doing so may well be fined for the cost of removing said items.

        As for the drone: It was over private property. American law does vary from state to state but I believe they do uphold the right of a landowner to protect their property against intrusion, so shooting the drone down would be within his right. The owner of said drone would have no right to compensation: Either the drone was under control and the trespass was deliberate or it was not and so the drone was a danger to people and property and needed bringing down for safety.

        Calling the police is usually the best option, yes, but sometimes direct action is required. This is what the courts are for: To judge if the action taken was justified and they have twice now said 'yes'.

  4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    It's too bad

    It's too bad that the companies that sell the systems that shoot a net about 100 feet to snag drones charge an arm & a leg. Perhaps some enterprising back ally Chinese company can flood the market with sub-$100 ones. That would allow personal air space protection without running up against the laws US towns usually have about discharging firearms inside town limits, or the hunting regs that prohibit discharging firearms within certain proximities to buildings.

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: It's too bad

      I think they use a shotgun cartridge to throw the net. Far easier would be to get a cheap drone yourself and kamikaze it into the opposition !!!

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: It's too bad

        "... get a cheap drone yourself and kamikaze it into the opposition !!!"

        It could be marketed as the 'Predator' drone, perhaps.

        1. Number6

          Re: It's too bad

          You could train a hawk to do it for you (although I believe this was a wild one): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhDG_WBIQgc

        2. Toni the terrible

          Re: It's too bad

          Using a Hellfire missile to remove the intruding drone maybe

    2. Blank Reg

      Re: It's too bad

      I expect you'll be able to take it down with a transmitter spewing garbage at the appropriate WiFi frequencies and attached to a high gain directional antenna. Most drones will just land if they lose connection for too long. That will put it in range of your melee weapon of choice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's too bad

        Any reasonably advanced drone (ie one with GPS) will return to home if it loses connection to the controller. Best stick with the shotgun...

    3. barbara.hudson

      Re: It's too bad

      Kite and string. Reel 'em in, boys.

    4. IsJustabloke Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's too bad

      I think a fisherman's bait catapult would do just as nicely and is considerably cheaper.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's too bad

      I just use my catapult. Swivel the turn table base to point in the right direction, winch back the throwing arm, fill the bowl with squirrels, & launch them at the drone.

      Even if I miss & the drone escapes the first volley, I get to rid my yard of squirrels.

      I'm thinking of upgrading the launch strength of the catapult & switching to either Chav's or MP's, whichever is more disposable & least likely to generate a fuss from my neighbors...

  5. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Guns...

    Mr. Merideth has caused me to think better of the Second Amendment.

    The thing is, given the ability of the drone operator to hide very easily, what action can be taken against this kind of voyeuristic harassment which doesn't involve shooting the thing down? We can't all be expected to keep multiple wideband receivers and triangulation equipment.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Guns...

      or maybe Frickin' Lasers to take out the cameras

      The drone owner shouldn't be spying on little girls anyway. After all, what kind of world is it when a (presumed) teenage girl can't sunbathe in her back yard...

      [so why am I thinking of Bathsheba at the moment?]

      (pellet and BB guns would work, too, but with somewhat limited range)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guns...

        "maybe Frickin' Lasers to take out the cameras"

        Aiming a narrow laser beam at a small target (camera lens) might be a challenge, though the reward would make it worth the effort.

        Would a bit of sufficiently powerful sufficiently directional RFI be sufficient, perhaps?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Guns...

          A high-candlepower utility light should be more than sufficient, and they make them in a portable handheld configuration. Wide cone of light so it works shotgun-style: hard to miss.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Guns...

            A high-candlepower utility light should be more than sufficient, and they make them in a portable handheld configuration. Wide cone of light so it works shotgun-style: hard to miss.

            That has a further advantage: long distance dispersion. The last thing you want is people point skywards with powerful lasers - there's other stuff flying there that could be harmed. Even if a bright light doesn't affect the thing directly, it'll be much harder filming when it has to look into some high candela sources.

            It also makes it easier to hit with buckshot :)

        2. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Guns...

          To answer your question AC "sufficiently powerful sufficiently directional RFI" would be ehem....sufficient. :) PP

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Guns...

        @ bombastic bob

        Upvoted for Bathsheba reference and absence of superfluous upper case. But pointing lasers into the sky? There are too many idiots doing that already as has been pointed out in these pages

      3. Blank Reg

        Re: Guns...

        "(pellet and BB guns would work, too, but with somewhat limited range"

        There are 50 caliber air rifles that can take down a deer, they will easily take out a drone if your aim is good enough. But you'll still get busted for discharging a firearm within city limits.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Guns...

          Do air rifles have a power limit before they are classed as a firearm in the US as here in the UK? IIRC 12ft/lbs and over is firearms territory in the UK.

          What would be handy is the old Crossman .22 pump action air rifle a friend of mine had. It had a sliding breech that you could pop 4-5 pellets in and 20 pumps would cause a nice wide spread of pellets in the side of something with one shot.

          1. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: Guns...

            In most cities pellet guns are banned.

          2. kain preacher Silver badge

            Re: Guns...

            They make high power pellet guns in countries were guns are banned. I have one the has the same power as .22 ans it uses scub gas.

      4. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Guns...

        Sweet Azathoth's Nuclear Nebulosity, Boggs has put me in the position of upvoting Bombastic Bob. Shooting's too good for that litigious dronetard.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Guns...

      Seems like there'd be plenty of non-firearm options...lethal to the drone, but not to innocent bystanders.

      One of those high-pressure hose adapters would be a simple, inexpensive choice if the drone is flying low enough. A blast of water probably wouldn't do the camera or electronics any favors.

      Another option would be to shoot ice cubes at it with a slingshot. Biodegradable ammo rounds are on the cutting edge of environmental friendliness.

      I've seen lots of youtube vids of people setting things on fire with ridiculously powerful lasers. Drones are made of meltable, flammable plastic. If the laser is energetic enough, you wouldn't have to hit the camera lens to do damage. If you're in your yard, you can use mains power, so no need for huge batteries or capacitors.

      I wonder -- is it possible to create a short-range directed energy weapon using something like the magnetron from an old microwave? Hmmm...

      1. Big John Silver badge

        Re: Guns...

        > "...plenty of non-firearm options..."

        Not cheaply, whereas many folks (in the US anyway) have access to existing shotguns. And that option has a very high rate of successful kills in skilled hands. An additional benefit is the definite erasure of the itinerant drone as a viable mechanism.

        In a perfect world we would have something to stop drones that's safe and quiet and eco-friendly, but this is the real world. Hot lead (or steel) is the go-to solution for dealing with the problem expeditiously.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Guns...

        A shotgun loaded with birdshot isn't lethal to anyone if it is aimed up in the sky at a drone. If you're going to go around shooting guns up in the sky like cowboys and terrorists love to do, that's the safest option by far. No damage to people or property, and so long as you are using non-toxic shot (i.e. not lead) then it won't kill birds that accidentally eat it, or harm pets who eat those birds.

        I suppose you could use a load of rock salt too, but then the drone would have to be really close.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guns...

          Not just cowboys and terrorists - it's an inner city New Years Eve tradition in some locations. Not always without some damage on the way back down - or, given the accuracy of a drunken gunman - in the way up.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Guns...

          "A shotgun loaded with birdshot isn't lethal to anyone if it is aimed up in the sky at a drone. If you're going to go around shooting guns up in the sky like cowboys and terrorists love to do, that's the safest option by far. No damage to people or property, "

          What goes up, must come down. Unless it exceeds escape velocity. which seems unlikely...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guns...microwaves

        I did once do an experiment with a magnetron which we abruptly terminated when we noticed that a Mk 8 Avo at the end of the lab had its needle hard up against the stop. I have still not worked out how this could happen, but it did.

        However, a magnetron with a narrow beam would be a rather effective anti-personnel weapon capable of permanently blinding, so I wouldn't want to let one loose given the intelligence of the public at large.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Guns...microwaves

          "I have still not worked out how this could happen, but it did."

          Put a standard light bulb n a microwave oven. Similar cause / effect ...

      4. Jonah Hirsh

        Re: Guns...

        In answer to your question, yes, it's already been done. One is in production and marketed to law enforcement for exactly this purpose.

        New rifle shoots drones out of the sky without firing a single bullet ...

        http://bgr.com/2015/10/16/drone-defender-rifle-radio-wave-gun/

        Oct 16, 2015 ... One would need to be quite the marksman to shoot a drone out of the sky with a ... a device it calls the DroneDefender, which it says is “the first portable, ... Beyond that, military, governments and law enforcement are targeted by spy drones on .... Which would then be followed by the handheld EMP cannon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guns...

          New rifle shoots drones out of the sky without firing a single bullet ...

          http://bgr.com/2015/10/16/drone-defender-rifle-radio-wave-gun/

          Just watch out for any abruptly changing pitch of an Airbus higher up - best check the range on that thing first :)

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guns...

        "Seems like there'd be plenty of non-firearm options...lethal to the drone, but not to innocent bystanders."

        There is a fairly serious slingshot (with a forearm brace to allow steady aim) that, with steel ball bearings as the ammo, will kill marauding squirrels, I bet that would damage a drone nicely. Silent, easy to use with some practice, and no firearms charges.....

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Guns...

          For forearm-braced slingshot ("catapult" to you brits), see: "Wrist Rocket". These things can get up to around 100ft/lb (135J). Probably illegal in Blighty.

          I'll stick to my 12 gauge for drones, though.

    3. barbara.hudson

      Re: Guns...

      Many of them are recording video on an sd card. Take the card out and watch the video of the flight from start to ... well ... termination.

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    I had my Glock on me

    As you do.

    1. Anonymous IV
      Coat

      Re: I had my Glock on me

      "How are things in Glocka Morra?"

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I had my Glock on me

      Yeah, that struck me as a little odd too. Must be a rough area if one feels the need to wander around the house armed. And not least, the need to specify what it was by brand, not just "gun" or "handgun"

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: I had my Glock on me

        I suspect if you had just shot down some knob-end's toy you might be wary of a visit by said knob-end and some of his "hard when in a group" friends.

        Personally I think America's gun laws are damn stupid, but when in Rome do as the Romans do...

  7. EveryTime Silver badge

    People are talking about technical means to bring down the drone.

    This guy did use technology to bring down the phone. Commodity, off-the-shelf, extensively characterized and tested technology.

    It might seem old-fashioned, but firearms use technology is far in advance of advance of other items. Over hundreds of years millions of people have thought about and worked on making them better.

    No flaky nets with short range and unpredictable aerodynamic. No question about the power output of a laser. No endless discussions about jamming frequencies, modulation and encoding. Just reliable chemical energy predictably converted to kinetic energy, with 99% predictable aerodynamic braking.

    The discussion really shouldn't be about the technology used to bring down the drone, it should be about the legality of flying it over property, using a camera where human observers wouldn't normally be, and when bringing down such a drone is OK.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      "The discussion really shouldn't be about the technology used to bring down the drone, it should be about... when bringing down such a drone is OK."

      The problem is that the former is an important consideration for the latter. Merideth wasn't arrested for shooting a drone, he was simply arrested for shooting because firing guns in populated areas is generally considered a bad idea. As it happens he was cleared of the charge because the court decided the shooting was justified and not a danger to others - in this case. But the discussion of technology is an attempt to answer the question - what about other situations where it wouldn't be safe or acceptable to use a gun? If someone can come up with a safer and legaler solution to take out drones in places where use of firearms isn't acceptable, that's something worth looking at even if guns are overall better tested and more reliable.

  8. kain preacher Silver badge

    Un fortunate jamming device are illegal to posses and use in the US.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only

      if you're caught using one.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Only

        But the "only if you're caught" defense also applies to firing shotguns in city limits. In fact, in most places the punishment for jamming communication is probably worse than firing the gun in city limits.

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: Only

          In the US its $1000 fine the first time.

        2. Number6

          Re: Only

          Shotguns make more noise than a jammer and so it is much easier to detect their use.

          Put a decent directional antenna on the jammer and point it upwards towards the drone and you'll probably not be detectable at ground level outside your own property.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Only

            "Put a decent directional antenna on the jammer and point it upwards towards the drone and you'll probably not be detectable at ground level outside your own property."

            Apart from the obvious "litter" that starts to accumulate on and around your property.

          2. Patched Out
            Holmes

            Re: Only

            All of these alternate solutions pre-suppose that the homeowner had time to go out and procure or build such an alternate weapon for taking out the drone. My impression from the narrative is that the daughter came in complaining about the drone, he grabbed what he had on hand, went outside and took care of the problem when the drone re-entered his property.

  9. Long John Baldrick

    Cricket bats and rock salt

    Cricket is also played in the Philadelphia area. Haverford college has a cricket team and there is the Merion Cricket Club practically across the street(but only after grass court tennis season).

    Rock salt is another favorite for non-lethal force and would probably also take out a drone and certainly deters intruders, especially if doped with formic acid salts.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely this could have been avoided.....

    A little common courtesy goes a long way.

    I've got a drone that I use to get video of the kids playing in the pool etc. While I try to keep the drone within my property (I'm on 1 acre) it does occasionally end up flying over the fence line and *could* see into my neighbour's yard but I have spoken to neighbours on all sides, explained what I use it for, showed them the lights on the drone (so they can tell which way the camera is facing), don't use it if they are doing anything in their own yard and given them the option to review and delete any footage I take with it. I've also offered them use of it (with me flying it....) should they want any footage of their own place.

    None of them have any problems at all.

    It's amazing what a little actual conversation with your neighbours can achieve......

    AC because - well you're all a bunch of drone haters :-)

    1. billse10

      Re: Surely this could have been avoided.....

      "AC because - well you're all a bunch of drone haters :-)"

      not fair ... i just hate idiots. Like the guy who thinks it's fine to fly his camera drone over other people's property then actually gets upset when someone "modifies" the drone so it can no longer take pictures.

      Maybe the method of modification was a little extreme (from a UK perspective), but the principle seems just fine. As you've shown, talking to the neighbours and getting consent before doing this would possibly have been a far more productive course than reaching for the lawyers after the event.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Surely this could have been avoided.....

      Quote: It's amazing what a little actual conversation with your neighbours can achieve......

      What is this sourcery?

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Surely this could have been avoided.....

        TALK to your neighbors? Clearly you have never been to Suburbia!!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Surely this could have been avoided.....

        Quote: It's amazing what a little actual conversation with your neighbours can achieve......

        What is this sourcery?

        Hypnosis :)

    3. Patched Out

      Re: Surely this could have been avoided.....

      You sound like a responsible drone operator and I would not mind you operating your drone if I were your neighbor.

      Unfortunately, there are always the few irresponsible operators out there. I don't pity them if their drone is subject to extreme perdition.

  11. Richard Scratcher

    Airspace

    "A court case in 1946 established that homeowners can control up to 83 feet above their property..."

    I thought 83 feet seemed an odd value to settle on, until it dawned on me that it's the same as 25.2984 metres.

    1. Number6

      Re: Airspace

      Like the signs on roads that warn that a specific violation is subject to a minimum $381 fine.

      1. tony trolle

        Re: Airspace, $381

        its more, it went up to $446 in most areas years ago, Signs only get replaced when knocked out.

        The fine is $100 really, its all the all the add-ons like "penalty assessment" and "surcharge" and the $1 hanging around, night court fee

        <edit> found it

        Base fine: $100

        Penalty assessment: $260 (260% of base)

        State criminal surcharge: $20 (20% of base)

        Court security fee: $30 (flat)

        conviction assessment: $35 (flat, $30/35)

        Night court fee: $1 (flat)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Airspace, $381

          What - no tax?

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Airspace

      83 feet = 180.7098 Linguine = 2.7443 Double-decker-buses... still doesn't make sense...

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Airspace

      Read 'United States v. Causby', although I wonder how they did record the lowest-flying planes were exactly at 83 feet.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Airspace

      "I thought 83 feet seemed an odd value to settle on, until it dawned on me that it's the same as 25.2984 metres."

      Ah, you're one of those new fangled hipster metric people. My eureka moment was when I realised it was a simple approximation of 5.0303 rods, possibly a rounding error from exactly 5 rods :-)

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Airspace

        The odd 83 foot number probably has a biblical precedent.

        And lo, did the Lord give Mordechai dominion over his fields, even unto 50 cubits into the skies, then said unto him "This I give to you and your progeny, even over the claims of the FAA" (Flying Arch Angels). And the Judges said it was good."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Airspace

        it's 14.86 smoots, if that helps

    5. roytrubshaw
      Coat

      Re: Airspace

      "I thought 83 feet seemed an odd value to settle on, until it dawned on me that it's the same as 25.2984 metres."

      I think it was rounded up from 82' 6" and we are looking at a height of 5 rods (poles or perches)*

      (*I have waited 50 years to use "rod, pole or perch" in a sentence)

      Edit: Dammit! @JohnBrown got in before me!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All "visiting" drones are fair play

    Fly in

    Maybe not fly out....

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    So the drone operator was buzzing the same premise for a second time? What for?

    IMHO the operator of the Glock piece was within his rights.

    You keep your drone over your property, and that is where it belongs, you don't go snooping around other people's properties...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does it count as a fire arm?

    magnets coils of wire, long plastic tube. mains electricity.... preferably 3 phase.. and steel ball bearings

    does that count as a firearm?

    if not home made rail gun it is . quiet, no explosives.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: does it count as a fire arm?

      Actually, a railgun runs the current through the projectile to magnetize it. What you describe is more a coilgun.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: does it count as a fire arm?

        I feel schooled. A coil gun is what i was thinking about and when you get bored of shooting down drones you can put the coils in a donut and make a tokamak to try to produce your own energy ;-)

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: does it count as a fire arm?

      Yes I counts alternative gun and requires shit load of paper work. ATF has a collection of alternative guns that does not use gun powder. Suchas spud guns,

  15. stevenotinit
    Coat

    For anyone interested, the drone owner's defense with his video

    http://www.wdrb.com/story/29670583/update-drone-owner-disputes-suspects-claims-produces-video-claiming-to-show-flight-path

    (not sticking up for the guy at all, just being helpful)

  16. xehpuk

    Boomerang

    Should work fine on drones, reasonable range. If the drone is out of range then you would have no case taking it down anyway.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Boomerang

      I actually owned one once. Trouble is that there's actually a technique for throwing it that limits your angles.

      1. Pat Att

        Re: Boomerang

        "I actually owned one [a boomerang] once."

        There's a joke there somewhere.

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    may be legal?

    "Un fortunate jamming device are illegal to posses and use in the US."

    Possess? I think you can possess any kind of radio device you want, as long as you don't use it. Use? The blanket "it's illegal to use" is usually talking about cellular band jammers. The rules for these bands remote controls use? Typically fcc rules say devices must tolerate interference, and must not intentionally generate interfeference. But in most bands, there's also a power limit where if you are below that limit, your device can do whatever it wants. It's entirely possible you could jam a drone if it got close enough AND stay fully within FCC regulations.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to break out the "Spudzooka"

    This does not count as a firearm legally - there may be a fallout hazard though !

  19. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Weirdly different approach to the law

    In the USA people think it is O.K. to fly drones over other peoples houses.

    Others (quite reasonably IMHO) feel that they have the right to shoot down a drone apparently flying over your property with intent to spy. Of course, shotgun.

    Owners of drones feel that it is quite reasonable to go round mob handed to sort out the S.O.B.

    Carrying a Glock suddenly seems to be a normal every day precaution any sensible person would take. After all lethal force seems to be an acceptable part of normal society.

    Cue extensive and expensive legal battle.

    In the UK it is illegal to fly drones over other people's property.

  20. jake Silver badge

    12 gauge Browning w/modified choke & goose loads.

    Works for me. jake 4, drones 0 ... No lawsuits, yet. I'm sure ElReg's San Francisco office will be the first to let you know if I'm ever hauled up to face The Beak here in Sonoma County.

    Daft thing is, when drone operators ask nicely, I allow them onto the property. I just need to know that they know what the local rules are ... The first one I shot down was chasing my laying hens. The second was chasing a colt around his paddock. The third was hanging out around the pool where a dozenish soccer moms were doing their mon/wed/fri morning synchronized swimming exercise class[0]. The forth was preemptive, I just don't trust the bastards.

    [0] Don't think sync-swim is a workout? Try it! I did, damn near killed me ;-)

  21. Jorsss

    What was conveniently left out, is that the drone guy was making a video of the adjacent house, to be put on a real estate website. At the request of the owner of course. Also the judge in the first ruling ignored the gps data of the drone that supposedly proved he didn't hover the drone above the garden of mr trigger happy.

    Anyway, IMO Boggs should have informed the neighbourhood before using his drone and Merideth could have asked what he was doing instead going to war. Also this is just a sad sensationalist article that leaves out a lot of information.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      If that's true, why didn't this emerge in the original trial? And where's the reputable news article stating this (like from an actual newspaper)? Also, it wouldn't make sense to film from the house next door. The best procedure would be to start from the front of the house (out on the street--public property), fly OVER the house, then turn around to look at the back.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem with drones is that they are potential killers! Imagine how a toddler would fare if one crashed into their head! Batteries fail as could the operator and the potential damages for injury or death caused by uninsured flight operators could be millions.

    I can see the potential uses of drones by skilled operators, but as toys - no. There is no need for them. In the UK the model aircraft flying club/association requires all members to be insured, and trained to a degree so that they are sensible and fly in designated model fly zones. They need landowners permission to fly over fields. In spring Buzzing drones flown by idiots can cause sheep to abort lambs! What goes up must come down and where these menace drones/ model aircraft come down can be pure chance if they run out of fuel/ battery or input from the remote!

    Please let us ban their use by all but Necessary and useful reasons. Military use seems reasonable as does any emergency use but toys are not neceassary!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How?

      Oh yes, drones are potential killers, as is basically anything heavy dropped from a great height. I can just about see how you can 'ban' people selling 'toy' drones (after all it's now impossible to buy a green laser.....or drugs....). I don't see how you can ban people selling Arduinos and electric motors, and people sticking them together to make a drone. The technology is out there, the knowledge is out there.

      But as usual, we must think of the children. But why stop at drones, cricket balls are quite heavy and purposely launched at great speed by irresponsible idiots. Don't even get me started on the danger of golf balls. And what about birds? Some are quite heavy and might have a heart attack at any moment. What if a dead duck plummets onto your toddler? Best ban them too.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: How?

        And there are DOCUMENTED cases of actual baseball players sustaining FATAL injuries from line drives. So why aren't baseballs and their bats regulated?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Glock? Pah!

    Small drone 'shot down with $3m Patriot missile'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39277940

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: A Glock? Pah!

      No, pay attention. The drone was taken down with a shotgun. There was a lively debate as to the implications of that in the comments forvthe original Reg story.

      The Glock was for Boggs and his friends (who somehow fell off the stoty this time around).

  24. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Drone and string or Drone and wire

    Get a drone of your own and attach either some string or wire to a quick-break release mechanism, fly over the intruding drone and lower your rotor-stopper of choice into the intruder's lift source.

    Alternatively, use a cheap drone and no quick release so you can (counter)sue the intruder's owner for damaging *your* drone when the pair crash together.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Drone and string or Drone and wire

      Why on earth would anyone do this? A shotgun is cheaper, easier to use and available at any local Walmart.

      Why are people making high-tech suggestions to answer a problem solved months ago by more traditional, mature technology methods?

      I could understand it if Boggs's drone made it safely back to Castle Perv but it was handily shredded.

      It's like three years of university-level CS courses trained people only to replace perfectly good solutions with bright and shiny new ones for the sake of it ... oh, right.

  25. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Ah, the magnificent Boggs and his flying machine.

    Boggs is to the drone hobby what SCO is to Unix.

    I see that all mention of his personal posse is now omitted from the retelling. Shame. The whole story takes on a very different tone when the gang's all there.

  26. astounded1

    If it's below 83 feet and your daughter is sunbathing in the yard, here's a far better strategy, especially if your daughter is under 18: report the drone's owner to police as a serial sex predator and then, on top of that, sue for 1. invasion of privacy. 2. reckless endangerment. 3. criminal trespass.

    In most states in the USA, you can file for damages on $10,000 per count and get it into small claims court where a judge would be very likely to rule against the drone owner.

    The big hurdle is finding out who owns the drone.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I think that's why he didn't bother, since it's a case of "seconds count, cops are minutes away". By the time he called the cops, the voyeurs could easily split leaving no trace.

  27. Herby Silver badge

    On bats and other such implements...

    Yes, people have lots of "impact therapy" implements, and while baseball bats might be the club of choice, people use other implements. The problem is that baseball bats have been described as lethal instruments, and just swinging them around is "assault with a deadly weapon", which is a no-no that might send you to the "big house" in the wrong part of the state.

    On the other hand, other implements (axe handles come to mind) are not classified as such and probably pack similar punch, as well as being available at any well stocked hardware store. Running around intimidating others won't be classified as wielding a deadly weapon, so you are probably going to get no citation in the process.

    You need to be careful when you want to intimidate others with a device that might beat their brains out.

    Just so you know.

    As for shotguns, well, we have a second amendment for such items. The problem with them is that when mixed with intoxicants (legal, or otherwise) doesn't yield a good result, as I found out last week (no, I wasn't involved).

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: On bats and other such implements...

      Doesn't work that way. "Deadly weapon" can be qualified by context. For example, if you're trained in martial arts, your own body can be considered a deadly weapon. A two-pound rock can be considered a deadly weapon when you throw it. An axe handle can be considered a bludgeon; and bludgeons CAN be classed as deadly weapons.

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