More Useful Than a Gun?

It occurred to me this morning that a drone or two with a tear gas grenade might have been able to change the situation in Vegas faster than a SWAT team ultimately did. Fly one or two through the shot out windows, and at least it might stun and delay the shooter long enough to save lives and give the police better odds on entry. Might also make the dirt bag off himself ahead of schedule.

Too late now, but maybe something police should consider for future high-profile, target rich venues. Drones are cheap and relatively easy to fly these days. My club now has a cadre of drone pilots who spend the weekends using our ample open space to practice.

Police departments wouldn’t have too much trouble training officers on drones. Keep a few on standby and ready to go, or actively in the air. I would have issues with drones being armed with lethal force, but I’m OK with less-than-lethal force like tear gas or a flash bang. The problem with something like this is that it just gave a new template to the next whack job looking to go out with his name becoming a household word, and people hanging on learning every detail of his life.

12 thoughts on “More Useful Than a Gun?”

  1. I work with drone tech (military, not the stuff you buy online) and that’s not going to work for a couple of reasons technical – at least not to the level of assurance that you would require for domestic use. Additionally there are about two dozen federal regulations that would have to change, and even a few laws. Sub-lethal is a misnomer when you’re aiming a semi-controlled multi-pound projectile at a small target on Floor 32 (or Floor 3).

    Here the police had trouble finding the guy but were able to get in once they did. It’s a hotel, not Ft. Knox. I’ve stayed at Mandalay several times and it’s conceivable that finding a shooter against the backdrop of that hotel in the dark would be quite hard. Some reports say it was a fire alarm (smoke from the guns) that clued in his location. We’ll know more in a few days.

    Overall “drones” are good observers. Even assuming the technical issues to do what you suggest are resolved, you probably don’t want to crack open that door CONUS-side, because it will never close.

  2. It took them 75 minutes to get to this guy. I can’t believe no one was able to figure out where he was sooner. I imagine having a drone might have sped that up some, they could launch it into the air and then fly around looking for flashes without risk of being shot.

      1. I was listening to the feed last night, the 11:20 time is pretty accurate for when the room was breached.

  3. Drones with weapons and artificial intelligence, what could possibly go wrong?

    1. Piloted drones. I’d call them RC quad copters, but the piloted drones these days mostly fly themselves. The pilot just tells it where it go. Fly by wire.

  4. “Police departments wouldn’t have too much trouble training officers on drones.”

    You underestimate the trainability of today’s cops. A $500 DJI phantom can become a million dollars in the bid buy process and training.

  5. Duct taping that extra trauma plate to the back doesn’t look so silly now, does it?

  6. Las Vegas Metro has at least one fancy new helicopter. If nothing else, the several million candlepower searchlight they carry should seriously interfere with his aiming. As the airport is like 800 meters from the hotel it just shouldn’t have been that hard.

    Having a guy with a rifle in the helicopter would seem preferential, but really bright lights are pretty damn effective at dazzling people without having to hover right in front of the window.

    1. Until, of course, the guy with the machine gun (or reasonable facsimile thereof) gets pissed off at you and decides to shoot at the big bright light upsetting his aim.

    2. Not sure it would be good to put a several tons of unarmored flying metal and fuel in line of sight of what most people assumed was a nest of machine guns. If “they” took down a flying helicopter on the Vegas strip you’d be looking at Michael-Bay-level of damage on the ground and to the people it landed on.

      I don’t think there was any technology that could have stopped this once it started. It took people to find him, and people to make him stop.

      Next time you are in a big city at night, imagine trying to find a shooter 32 floors up in the dark. Ugh. Some situations just suck.

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