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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

Anonymous Coward

I sort of agree

While I'm not big on the whole gun thing, it does seem an invasion of privacy if a drone has a camera and is filming you. Especially if down low. At best, it's just dangerous, should it fall on someone.

Perhaps the garden hose is a better option, if they fly that low.

Anon, because, drones!

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Black Helicopters

Re: I sort of agree

While I'm not big on the whole gun thing

Same here. I'm about as far from the "cold dead hands" mob as you could find but I did feel some sympathy for this bloke. When I use my quad it stays over my house and doesn't even point at my neighbour's place. I make sure of that.

Much as I'd love to fly it for fun there isn't a suitable flying area anywhere near me that isn't also a public place so the quad stays in the man cave. There's little enough privacy as it is without me making it worse.

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Re: I sort of agree

Just paint Google on the side of it and you'll be good to go.

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Re: I sort of agree

Personally, I don't "sort of agree"; I admire people like that.

If he gets anything more than a very nominal fine, I will consider it a miscarriage of justice. And I think there should be a fine because discharging a firearm is always risky and people ought to have some consideration of consequences in mind before firing. But if he thinks that destroying the drone is worth paying the fine then I have no problem with his actions.

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Unhappy

Re: I sort of agree

I sort of agree too... with his right to privacy and to put out of action anything that invades said privacy and his property.

On the other hand the guy sounds like a bit of a dick.

His admirable concern for his daughters' well-being is negated a bit by his setting the example that it's OK to let off a shotgun at something that annoys you –and the fact he also seemingly struts around his garden, wearing a gun... sorry a "40mm Glock"... which he threatens people with. Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick, in my eyes.

Dirty Harry Syndrome, anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I sort of agree

Is it ok to shoot down a hot air balloon flying over his garden? People don't have a right to privacy from viewers in a public place, if you don't want people to legitimately see you from the air then put up a gazebo.

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Re: I sort of agree

Bullshit. If some pervert was sat in the tree in it garden videotaping my girls his sorry ass would be arrested and detained until the police arrive and he would be off to jail. Using a pervcopter to achieve the same should result in the same. There are many people out there using these sensibly and then there are idiots who fly them by airports or over private areas. We just start practicing with the fire hoses when we see one. I hope this guy gets nothing more than a telling off. The four perverts should be charged with voyerism or whatever the local statue would be. A hot air balloon is not the same, now if someone was flying one 20 ft above our land and filming my kids, damn right words will be had.

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Re: I sort of agree

"On the other hand the guy sounds like a bit of a dick."

Dicks all round AFAICS.

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Re: GUN NUT!

"Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick, in my eyes"

^that

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Re: I sort of agree

"Is it ok to shoot down a hot air balloon flying over his garden?"

and, more importantly in El Reg forums, how would one go about this? Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I sort of agree

"As El Reg's global editor and resident weapons expert has pointed out, shooting down a drone with a shotgun is difficult at the best of times. The short range of the weapon and maneuverability of the drone makes it a tough score"

I have no issue shooting clays that are much smaller than a drone and much faster moving with a shotgun. I would say a drone would be a relatively easy target for a shotgun at up to about 50M distance.

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Re: I sort of agree

"Just paint Google on the side of it and you'll be good to go."

Or Amazon. That way you could drop a packaged brick on him and claim it was a delivery.

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Joke

@Doctor Syntax

Well, maybe you shouldn't be flying your drone through the men's showers?

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Re: I sort of agree

I feel the urge to build a much larger drone, with a trawler net hung beneath it to hoover lesser drones from the sky... Kind of like the Stromberg's submarine swallowing Liparus, although more maneuverable and with less water.

The lesser drones can then be imprisoned in bamboo cages with their cameras fixed pointing at a random note.

(Because firing a 12 bore from a UK back garden would get an armed response team kicking the door down!)

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Re: GUN NUT!

Huh? Such a gun nut that he misidentified his own gun? As the bootnote points out 40mm would be rather impressive, about twice the diameter of a 12 gauge. A quick inspection of Glock's website shows over a half dozen different models that are .40 caliber or 10 mm. Either he has a model 40 as mentioned in the bootnote or he meant .40 caliber but it seems he's not quite sure.

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Re: GUN NUT!

That is assuming the reporter had a clue and did not make an assumption. Especially the ones that are trying to paint him as a nut.

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Re: GUN NUT!

Is he any different than the hordes of British sububanites who loudly say "I took the AUDI" rather than "I took the car"?

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Re: I sort of agree

It's worth pointing out that Americans tend to be a lot more literal when speaking than us Brits. You'll often hear an American saying "I'm off to the 7-11 to buy Coca-Cola", rather than the British "I'm off to the shops". So I wouldn't read too much into him referencing the type of gun he's carrying, it's just the way they tend to speak.

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Facepalm

Latterly Literally Generally

"...It's worth pointing out that Americans tend to be a lot more literal when speaking than us Brits. You'll often hear an American saying "I'm off to the 7-11 to buy Coca-Cola", rather than the British "I'm off to the shops"..."

Ain't that the truth!

Nothing like following a 'recipe' [whether for food or to build something] on an American website and then, half-way through getting to the bit that says:

"Next, you'll need a quart of Old Hoosegaw's Pickle Rubbings and an ounce of Stanton's Hard Sides Cleaner –available from any general store..."

to reinforce your suspicion that most Merkins don't actually know the rest of the world exists.

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Re: GUN NUT!

He may have said "Glock 40" and the reporter mistakenly filled in the blanks. I call my Glock a "45" (it's .45 ACP caliber) not a "21," which is its model number. It would make some bodacious (obligatory red-neck word) holes in a drone. Of course, that would be the result of 13 accidental discharges, not a deliberate attempt to protect my privacy.

I wonder that the drone operator didn't see the guy coming out with the shotgun and divert his toy elsewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I sort of agree

"Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick in my eyes."

I think you need to get the dicks out of your eyes so you can see where this is completely ok and the thing to do. In addition that is really not the point of the story at all in anyway anyhow so again remove the dick, or your just a dickeyed-dickhead...

Hes protecting his family. The end. If you think its excessive then don't date his daughters or fly your drone over his house. I would do the same thing to protect my family from whatever it was the dumbsharts flying the drone were trying to do...

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Re: GUN NUT!

I wonder that the drone operator didn't see the guy coming out with the shotgun and divert his toy elsewhere.

Of course, that's it.

Droner1: Hey cuz, what's that the naybor went and got?

Droner2: Whayy dat looks like a shotgun. Maybe you should fly 'er over der to get a better look jus' a be shure.

Droner1: Ok. Hey it looks like he's pointin' it at the drone, doesn't it.

BLAM!

Droner2: Yup, it shoo did fo' a second der.

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Thumb Up

Re: I sort of agree

When I started reading the article I wasn't sure how I felt. But when I read that the guy had two daughters out on the back deck (read the full WDRB article), well, I applauded his actions. Better to shoot the drone than have photos of his girls show up on the internet, or worse, wind up a target.

Children tend to change your POV on things. Daughters revolutionize your world, bringing fear where it never existed before. No wonder the guy has a shotgun - he has TWO daughters to protect.

Also, he was not charged with a gun violation, he was charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. And the drone was only 10 feet in the air and peeking at the neighbor's daughters, too. Ian needs to make some corrections to his article.

It doesn't show much for the intelligence of the four drone operators that they approached the guy and angrily asked if he shot down their drone ("Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?"), then walked up on him. You know the guy's armed, you know he's willing to fire to protect his family. WTF were they thinking???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I sort of agree

Upvoted for drone trawler!

I was leaning toward building a 'cone of silence' directional wireless frequency fuzzer - drone mysteriously falls from the sky* and the operator deals with the consequences/broke drone. I promise only to use it in self -defense ;)

*you could work it so while preventing control of the drone, guide the drone's fall by giving control back to operators here and there to ensure a hard surface landing.

Anon because drone... bzzzzz

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@Phuq Witt Re: I sort of agree

"His admirable concern for his daughters' well-being is negated a bit by his setting the example that it's OK to let off a shotgun at something that annoys you"

So your position is that his concern for his daughters is admirable but that fact that he's willing to actually do something about it is negative? Apparently his concern should extend to wringing his hands and, possibly, shouting invective at the drone? Or would that also be too much for your liking?

And he was not 'letting off a shotgun at something" - he was taking a shot at something very specific.

"and the fact he also seemingly struts around his garden, wearing a gun...which he threatens people with"

The story doesn't say that. The story *does* say that the four drone operators came over to his house to confront him. It is very possible that he got his pistol on his way out to meet these creeps. As for "threatening people" I consider these four guys coming over to confront him - unaccompanied by police - to be, in itself, somewhat threatening too. I'd have done exactly the same thing were I in his place.

"Actually the fact that he makes the point of brand identifying the gun and its calibre, rather than just referring to 'my handgun' or 'my pistol' kind of confirms he's a dick, in my eyes."

People who have more than one of a thing often refer to them specifically as opposed to generically. For example, I might refer to "my ES-345" or "my Blueshawk" or "my Strat" as opposed to "a guitar". That someone should refer with specificity to a particular item from amongst a group of similar items that they possess, be it cars, computers, cameras, golf clubs, musical instruments, software plug-ins, or firearms, is entirely unremarkable. To you, a gun is a gun and somehow you assume that makes you morally superior to him because he differentiates between them - because you don't approve of them ion the first place. And the only reason you have made this into some sort of matter of judgement is because you are predisposed to condemning him and have no qualms about manufacturing spurious "reasons" out of thin air.

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Devil

Re: I sort of agree

"and, more importantly in El Reg forums, how would one go about this? Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?"

Potato gun, using flaming tennis balls for ammunition (for that medieval touch).

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Re: I sort of agree

@BillG Thanks for the WDRB link. It seems they have an update which has the drone owner showing the tracked flight path on his iPad. The owner of the drone says it was at 272 feet (~83 m) above the shooters property. Now I don't know what kind of medals the shooter has won shooting trap or skeet but it's one heck of a shot to knock down something from that distance with a single shell of No. 8 bird shot.

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Re: I sort of agree

"I have no issue shooting clays that are much smaller than a drone and much faster moving with a shotgun."

The main difference is that a clay is quite unlikely to suddenly change speed, direction or altitude so it's a bit easier to "lead" and predict where it will be so your shot can arrive in the right place at the right time. Don't get me wring, I'm not impugning your marksmanship in any way, I'm just pointing out that there's not really a comparison between a fixed trajectory object and a "piloted" one.

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Re: @Turtle @Phuq Witt I sort of agree

Agree

I would have done the same. Well outside shooting it down with a gun I would a got it wet, and dismantled it trashing the transmitter 1st ;)

But as for dealing with the 4 guys yes you have to show you are armed with something to deter people. Trust me I see it all the time with multiple people vs 1 unarmed guy they are more likely to get physically violent when they are in the majority, and have minimal chance for injury.

I bet if the guy didn't have a gun on hand they would have beat the living crap out of him possibly damaging him for life.

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@Phuq Witt Re: The Rest Of The World

"Nothing like following a 'recipe' [whether for food or to build something] on an American website and then, half-way through getting to the bit that says: 'Next, you'll need a quart of Old Hoosegaw's Pickle Rubbings and an ounce of Stanton's Hard Sides Cleaner –available from any general store...' to reinforce your suspicion that most Merkins don't actually know the rest of the world exists."

Yuppers. Because if the website had recipes without regionally-specific brands and ingredients, then everyone in the world could use it since - as you correctly assume - everyone in the world speaks English and can use the website in the first place.

Or maybe not. Actually, now that I think about it, I begin to suspect that you don't know that, in fact, most of the world does not speak English and that your idea of "knowing the rest of the world exists" means knowing that English is spoken throughout the English-speaking world, and there is no world worth knowing anywhere else.

It would be good if you were actually better than the people you think you're better than.

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Pirate

Re: Tim Jenkins Re: I sort of agree

".....Drone with large pin?" How about a drone with a spraycan of paint, fly it up to intercept the pervcopter and spray out its camera. Or just a jammer - the minute the drone is over your land you flip the switch, jam it, and watch it fly off uselessly into the distance. Then again, blasting it out of the sky does sound more fun.

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Re: I sort of agree

Make that Mis-Identifying his Gun.

I'm pretty sure Glock doesn't Make a 40 MM Pistol.

For a very simple reason: That's an Anti Aircraft Calibre.

You see them in old War movies.

One or Two barrels a couple Yards long, 5 man team to Fire them.

Sometimes called Ack, Ack or Pom Pom Guns.

The Bullet is a bit larger than the average salt shaker and can weigh between 2 to 4 Pounds.

Cram That round into a Pistol and you're going to need Both Hands to lift it and probably break your arm if you pulled the trigger.

Anyone who owns a gun ought to At Least know the Calibre and correct name for it.

...

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Re: I sort of agree

"it's one heck of a shot to knock down something from that distance with a single shell of No. 8 bird shot."

It really wouldn't. Normal range of a shotgun is about 40M for practical uses like killing things. At 80M the spread of shot would be pretty wide, so accuracy is not such an issue, but it would still be quite capable of causing damage. It probably only needs a single pellet to hit to take out a relatively fragile drone...

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Re: I sort of agree

"The main difference is that a clay is quite unlikely to suddenly change speed, direction or altitude"

Clays are very fast moving though. The average drone isn't usually too fast or random in it's flight (unless maybe the owner was expecting incoming fire!)....drones also often hover - making them even easier than a clay - particularly when the camera is in use....

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Thumb Up

Re: Tim Jenkins I sort of agree

"How about a drone with a spraycan of paint, fly it up to intercept the pervcopter and spray out its camera."

I like the cut of your jib sir, but I have to take issue with the spray paint solution as that would require in inordinate amount of skill to achieve.

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Mushroom

Re: Tim Jenkins I sort of agree

How about a megawatt laser vaporizing the obnoxious (peeping-tom) drone?

"Y'all done shot our drone... what'ya done thet for?"

"Drone? What drone?"

And there'd not be a thing they could do about it, as the drone will have "reached maximum entropy" beforehand...

(hopefully a megawatt laser would have this much backsplatter :) )

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Re: I sort of agree

The lesser drones can then be imprisoned in bamboo cages with their cameras fixed pointing at a random note.

A random note? To let the owners know their drones had been CAPTCHA'd?

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Re: I sort of agree

Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?

Ballista? Giant CO2 fire extinguisher?

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Re: I sort of agree

Heatseeker? Punt gun? Drone with large pin?

Fireworks?

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FAIL

Stupid?

Assuming thst the report is reasonably accurate, here were a group of four people who thought

(1) It was acceptable to fly a drone over other people's houses.

(2) When someone shot (and they should have heard the loud bang) the drone down they thought it was a good idea to storm round mob handed to have words with the guy who had just used the gun (i.e. armed and on his own property).

So he was also wearing another gun. Still stupid to go up against a shotgun. I understand that they are used for riot control as well as shooting birds. So not the brightest in the neighbourhood.

Should make a good test case.

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Re: Stupid?

Good on him. There have been multiple reports of idiot drone operators interfering with emergency aircraft, they need this lad to come round and lend a hand.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah...

I'm sorry but what the heck was the person flying the drone doing in the first place? Flying low through peoples gardens with a camera attached?

Were these guys trying to also film inside these peoples homes?

Who do they think they are? Not surprised the guy shot it down. If someone flew their camera equipped drone into my garden without my permission I too would bring the sucker down. Probably with my pressurized jet washer as it packs quite a punch.. I was able to knock my neighbour clean off his feet onto his butt with it because he wouldn't stop asking questions about it and its capabilities.. he got his answer... was pretty funny though..

When you think about it, it is a lot like trespassing as at the end of the day it is private property and the people living in said property have the right to privacy in their own garden/house.

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Re: Yeah...

I notice in the photographs that the guy's garden is overlooked by a solid wall of huge, climbable trees that could easily hide surveillance cameras. I assume you wouldn't object if he cut them all down because, as you say, he has a right to privacy in his own garden?

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Re: Yeah...

I don't there's really a need for privacy from the trees themselves. However, if someone put cameras in them pointing at his property then, yes, I wouldn't object if he removed the cameras. Cutting down the trees would be, I think he'd appreciate, counter productive.

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Re: Yeah...

The guy said he didn't know if the drone was actually recording imagery when he short it down. That seems analogous to removing a neighbour's trees as a precaution against the possibility of surveillance. I'm sure that kind of thing happens, we just never hear about it because there's not a drone involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah...

"The guy said he didn't know if the drone was actually recording imagery when he short it down."

Regardless, someone was watching the feed to fly the thing. You don't need to record the feed to note down access points, valuables in sight through the window etc.

"That seems analogous to removing a neighbour's trees as a precaution against the possibility of surveillance."

The trees aren't providing the possibility of surveillance, a camera mounted in the trees would be. The trees themselves actually complement privacy much like a wall complements privacy but could still have a camera mounted on it. The camera, whether recording or not is the potential invasion of privacy.

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Re: Yeah...

"I'm sorry but what the heck was the person flying the drone doing in the first place? Flying low through peoples gardens with a camera attached?"

Interesting, do you have some information that confirms that there was indeed a camera on this drone? I dont remember it being confirmed in the article...

So lets look at the *FACTS*

* It wasn't on his property it was over it (Interesting does my property extend into space vertically? How much of the ground under my house do I own?)

* He shot it down without knowing what it was doing, if it had a camera or who owned it.

* He fired a shotgun into the air in an urban area without knowing where the debris would land.

Ariel photography has been popular for a long time, its not illegal (In fact I know people who in the late 80s went door to door selling pictures they had taken of people houses from the air)

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Re: Yeah...

1) it was hovering over it, at low altitude, not passing over it. Right to privacy?

2) it had done the same thing over a number of other local houses first. It was violating their right to privacy too.

3) he fired bird shot at it. By the time that comes down it doesn't present a risk of injury to people in the street.

4) it was a suburban area, not a packed urban one.

I'm tending to side with the shooter here, and that's not something I'd normally do.

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Re: Yeah...

There is an airspace height that is your property, varying by location, country, and is usually kind of vague. You do not own a sector of the Universe extending from the core of the planet out to "infinity" (not even sovereign nations own that much, otherwise countries could not spy on each other from "space").

So, how much do you own, and if the perp trespasses can you blast him out of the sky?

Since airplanes can fly overhead, and Google can snap your pix from "up there", there is obviously some ceiling value where the airspace becomes public. The police think that they can spy from anywhere "outside your property" but it isn't clear what the airspace is-- obviously a few feet is unreasonable or there would be police drones hovering outside people's windows and dropping into open atriums to buzz around.

Might be a while before case law catches up. You can't win, make the ceiling 100M and a big honking drone with gimbal mount image stabilized 1000mm will be hovering up there looking at your pores while you engage in the early stages of meatbag fabrication...

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Re: Yeah...

> Regardless, someone was watching the feed to fly the thing. You don't need to record the feed to note down access points, valuables in sight through the window etc.

A drone flies with the aid of a forward facing camera. There's no guarantee a drone hovering directly over a garden actually has sight of that garden. Certainly, if the drone operator had the garden-in-question under surveillance, he would surely have taken evasive action when an angry man with a shotgun appeared in camera.

I'm a firm believer in the Hanlon's razor. From the video report it looks as if this guy's property backs onto a park or open ground (in addition to surveilance-ready trees). I'd be inclined to speculate that the drone operators misjudged distances were under the impression they were hovering over open ground.

> The trees aren't providing the possibility of surveillance, a camera mounted in the trees would be.

No, trees offer a platform for surveillance in just the same way a drone does. The shooter had no proof of surveillance when he shot down the drone. He might as well chop down a tree as a precaution that 'they' might mount a camera in it.

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