Have drones gone too far?
Have drones gone too far? At left is the South Lawn of the White House (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Have drones gone too far?
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A small drone flying low to the ground crashed onto the White House grounds. It triggered a major emergency response. And it raised fresh questions about security at the presidential mansion. A man later came forward to say he was responsible and didn't mean to fly it over the complex.

The man contacted the Secret Service after reports of the crash spread. The man told the agency that he had been flying the drone recreationally. The man is a Washington resident. He is cooperating with investigators.

Although President Barack Obama was not at home, the security breach prompted a lockdown of the entire complex. Officials first needed to examine the drone. The White House later said it did not pose a threat.

The drone crashed on the southeast side of the White House grounds. The incident occurred just after 3 a.m. Monday.

Secret Service agents are interviewing other people to corroborate the man's story. They don't currently have any reason to doubt the man's story, an official said.

The device was described as a two-foot-long quadcopter. It's a commercially available unmanned aircraft. It is lifted by four propellers. Many small quadcopters are essentially sophisticated toys. They can also be useful for commercial operations like aerial photography and inspections. Often weighing only a few pounds, they sell for as little as a few hundred dollars or less. Many were popular Christmas gifts last year.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were traveling in India. Their daughters, Sasha and Malia, may have been at home. White House officials declined to comment on the daughters' whereabouts Monday. But ahead of the president's trip, aides had said the daughters would remain in Washington.

"The early indications are that it does not pose any sort of ongoing threat to anybody at the White House," said presidential spokesman Josh Earnest.

Still, the incident was likely to reinvigorate a long-running public debate about the use of commercial drones in U.S. skies, as well as White House security. The Secret Service is still recovering after a string of breaches. They raised questions about whether the president is adequately protected.

Inexpensive drones have prompted growing fears about potential collisions with traditional aircraft. Technological advances have also made it easier to equip drones with advanced capabilities such as cameras. That's raised privacy issues. It also raises concerns that such devices could carry weapons.

Industry experts said that to carry and fire a weapon, a drone would need more engines and more propellers than most commercially manufactured quadcopters.

Critical thinking challenge: Give two reasons why the drone did not pose a threat to the president.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/have-drones-gone-too-far/

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COMMENTS (233)
  • Sam-Arm
    1/29/2015 - 02:11 p.m.

    The drone did not pose a threat to the president for two main reasons. One is that the droneWasn't equipped with a camera or weaon. Also the president wasn't in Washington. He was in India.

  • Brenna-Arm
    1/29/2015 - 02:12 p.m.

    First of all, the drone did not pose a threat to the president because he was traveling in India at the time. Also, industry experts said that to carry and fire a weapon, a drone would need more engines and more propellers than most commercially manufactured quad copters. If the drone was carrying weapons though, it could have posed a threat to the president's daughters, Sasha and Malia.

  • AustinL-Arm
    1/29/2015 - 02:14 p.m.

    I think it's very unfortunate that drones have gone from fun little hobbies to dangerous things. In my opinion if something is able to kill or harm the leader of our country its not a appropriate thing to be used. I understand the dangers however, drones can be fun to use and go out of range at a certain point. I can't really pick a side on if drones should be banned but I still think there a threat and a fun thing.

  • Natalee-Arm
    1/29/2015 - 02:15 p.m.

    I think that the drones could cause a future threat to any member of the white house, because it could have a bomb attached and if someone gets mad or is just stupid the could keep disguise them as drones an be really deadly. This could become the new terrorism! The reason this one posed no threat was because it was to small to carry a weapon and fire it, also the person who accidentally flew it admitted honesty as far as we know. so I guess it is up to you! Drones deadly? or fun?

  • LandonH-Jac
    1/29/2015 - 02:18 p.m.

    I want a drone. They seem cool. but I think they are over reacting to the drone thing. Its not really that big of a deal

  • JesseL-Jac
    1/29/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    I think that the drones are cool and fun when you use them , but people should respect other people's privacy because people should be able to feel save at home. The companies that make these drones should also include guide lines for people to use them correctly .

  • Seth-Arm
    1/29/2015 - 02:24 p.m.

    there are some reasons why the drone didn't pose as a threat, but here are 2. 1) the president wasn't home. 2) to carry and fire a weapon the drone would need more propellers and engines.

  • SelinO-Jac
    1/29/2015 - 02:58 p.m.

    I honestly think that they are taking the drone thing way too far. It obviously was an accident so I don't think they really have to interview other people that were around.

  • BradleyP-Jac
    1/29/2015 - 02:59 p.m.

    I agree with you Luke. There is no reason to fly a drone near the white house. I think he should get some kind of punishment for his actions.

  • McKennaS1-Jac
    1/29/2015 - 03:04 p.m.

    I think no one should have been flying a drone near the White House. The drones are cool, but you still shouldn't fly it around that area because the president or the secret service would think it is a type of threat towards the president and the first lady and maybe even their daughters because the article said that maybe their daughters were home while the president and the first lady were in India.

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