Drones not needed

To the Journal editor:

The front page article in the Sept. 7 Mining Journal concerning establishment of a drone research and “testing” area over the First Congressional district of northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula was very disturbing to me as well as I’m sure, many other citizens of upper Michigan.

Drones are only good for two things: surveillance of property or people, and destruction of property or people. They violate innocent citizen’s rights to privacy and threaten personal liberty every time they fly over private property, in what amounts to a warrantless search of private property.

Further, what is being proposed would be a program run by a collaboration of big government and major corporations. This is much worse than big brother; this is big fascism.

The usual justifications for such a program are being troweled out, like our corporate/government coalition will make the public safer from criminals (fear mongering), it will help us identify remote areas ripe for resource extraction, it will create some exponentially exaggerated number of jobs.

The citizens of the First Congressional District and in fact all Americans need to wake up and realize how dangerous to our freedom and privacy this technology has become. Once unleashed, abuses will be very difficult to control.

The recent revelations about the NSA’s abuse of power has sensitized many of us again to the truth that absolute power corrupts absolutely. People like Ms. Kulju may be willing to sacrifice their Constitutional rights for power and money, but the rest of us who place value on our privacy need to make our voices heard. This is a very slippery slope and just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

The citizens of the 1st Congressional District need to initiate a ballot initiative to declare our counties a drone-free zone. Here is an issue that both sides of the political spectrum (libertarians and progressives) can finally agree on. The passage of such a measure would send a powerful no answer to the proponents of the idea of drones over every house.

If Alpena County citizens want these drones flying over their neighborhoods, businesses, farms and recreational wild lands, then they can opt out of the drone-free zone and see how that works for them.

Scott Emerson

Chocolay Township