When you think of no-fly zones, Iraq may come to mind. Perhaps you may think of protecting the
White House. But did you know that
Ferguson, Missouri had its own no-fly zone?
Back in August, when there were large street protests after
police shot and killed 18-year old Michael Brown, the FAA imposed a no-fly zone
over Ferguson. As with so many things
the government does, it was done in the name of safety.
But as is the case so often, it actually involves the safety
of government officials, even if it is just a matter of protecting their
Police claimed at the time that shots had been fired at a
police helicopter. While that was
unsubstantiated, the police could have just chosen not to fly their helicopters
Here is where the big problem comes in. Commercial airlines were still flying
over the area. The restriction didn’t
apply to commercial planes or police.
The FAA restriction was applied to the media. Audio recordings present evidence that local authorities can
confirm that the primary reason for the FAA restriction was to keep away the
media filming the protests.
It really makes you wonder what the government doesn’t want
you to see. Regardless of what you
think happened with Michael Brown, the militarized police state came out in
full force against the protesters there.
Politicians and other government officials generally don’t
like to relinquish power. They
don’t like protests and they don’t like coverage of protests. They don’t want other people to see
what is going on.
This FAA no-fly zone that only applied to the media is more
proof that government officials seek secrecy and power. It also shows that they understand that
they rely on the consent of the people because they didn’t want public opinion
outside of Ferguson going against them.
Imagine if things really got out of control and protesters
ended up dead from police shootings.
If the media is flying overhead in helicopters filming everything, then
the videos will tell the story.
Government officials and police officers – particularly
corrupt and abusive police officers – generally don’t like video cameras. Government officials always say that if
you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t fear an invasion of your
privacy. But it seems many
government officials have something to hide then.
If the Ferguson police have nothing to hide, why would they
want to ban the media from flying overhead?
While police departments have become more militarized, I
believe there have always been police officers who are good and bad and in
between. You can read far more
stories now about police corruption and wrongdoing because of the internet and
cell phones. These things happened
in the past too, but people didn’t have cell phones to record the events.
Despite the NSA and other government agencies using
technology against us, I believe that technology is generally on the side of
liberty. The majority of adult
Americans have smartphones that can be instantly used as a camera or video
camera. It is the best weapon you
can ask for against police abuse and corruption.
Government officials don’t like to be seen in a negative
light. They know they can’t
survive without the consent of the people. This is why they attempted to shut out the media in Ferguson.
This may have been unlawful and unconstitutional, but
technology cannot be stopped. The
FAA, or any other government agency, won’t be able to take away everyone’s