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Bomb Robot Takes Down Dallas Gunman, but Raises Enforcement Questions

jonny5

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The use of a bomb-disposal robot to trigger an explosive to kill the Dallas gunman has also triggered questions on what tactics are or aren't permissible by law enforcement:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/science/dallas-bomb-robot.html


How far should police be allowed to go to deal with a clear and present danger?

IMHO, they were justified - and it helps that no bystanders were killed by the bomb explosion. On the other hand, if the police were to have used a bomb or some other highly unconventional method, and it resulted in significant casualties among bystanders, then I think we'd all probably criticize the police for going off the yellow brick road.

When everything turns out okay, then you face less questions. When something goes awry, then everybody's going to Monday-Morning-Quarterback you.


It sort of reminds me of the waterboarding debate - suppose you waterboarded some guy, but it turns out that doing so saved a whole bunch of lives?

I think this is over the line. There has to be a way to take someone down without killing them. Especially when you have them trapped. SWAT has armor, tactics, special weapons. This seems like excessive force.
 

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Highly dangerous situation, police figure out how to stop the threat that they believe required lethal force to stop...

I don't see the problem here.
 

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I think this is over the line. There has to be a way to take someone down without killing them. Especially when you have them trapped. SWAT has armor, tactics, special weapons. This seems like excessive force.

It was expedient, economical, and for the most part funny as hell.

Why waste a trial on that sack of ****.

I hope it was painful as he felt himself being torn apart.
 

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North Dakota is one of the first states to have law enforcement use drones in apprehending criminals. They may only use non-lethal methods such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray.

I think in the near future drones will be used by law enforcement throughout the country. It would give police more options and not endanger police.
 

Northern Light

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What I find weird is that there was no warning that the police even had this technology or these methods. We only found out once they used it. That strikes me as a little bit dangerous to freedom. What other tech do they have that we don't know about? Is the idea to keep the public in the dark in case there's ever major civil unrest, so that they can have the upper hand? I don't get it... somewhere like China, I would expect this. Somewhere like our Republic, I would expect to be informed that the police are doing these R&D projects.

A good example of this is stingray technology. We know the police are using it due to info leaks... but the police refuse to tell us which districts have it, who is using it, for how long, or what is done with the information obtained.

We have to be careful about how we cheer on this use of a robot. It looks good and handy in this one instance, but that kind of approval will be abused by the State.

There are plenty of conventional ways to take out a gunman that still prevent loss of life. They are tried and true tested methods. We don't need the military-industrial complex spending billions on our police forces because we are obsessed with futurism and control.
 

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The use of a bomb-disposal robot to trigger an explosive to kill the Dallas gunman has also triggered questions on what tactics are or aren't permissible by law enforcement:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/09/science/dallas-bomb-robot.html


How far should police be allowed to go to deal with a clear and present danger?

IMHO, they were justified - and it helps that no bystanders were killed by the bomb explosion. On the other hand, if the police were to have used a bomb or some other highly unconventional method, and it resulted in significant casualties among bystanders, then I think we'd all probably criticize the police for going off the yellow brick road.

When everything turns out okay, then you face less questions. When something goes awry, then everybody's going to Monday-Morning-Quarterback you.


It sort of reminds me of the waterboarding debate - suppose you waterboarded some guy, but it turns out that doing so saved a whole bunch of lives?

1. I find it's use acceptable. It was novel approach.
2. Folks will now know of the possibility and would attempt shooting the robot's package. A drone swooping in at a fast rate of speed, well that is another story.
3. But Chief David Brown's statement that they had "no choice" is pure bs.
 

SheWolf

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I would like to see some footage of the explosion this actually caused. Until then, I think this sounds like a very risky tactic. I am worried about the police blowing up, killing, or injuring innocent people in the collateral damage. If there is a serious risk of that, I would not support this as a solution.
 

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I would like to see some footage of the explosion this actually caused. Until then, I think this sounds like a very risky tactic. I am worried about the police blowing up, killing, or injuring innocent people in the collateral damage. If there is a serious risk of that, I would not support this as a solution.
A cordoned off parking garage in the middle of the night?
No risk to innocent people.

Collateral damage? Of course. Just as there is and would be collateral damage from all the gun shots in such a situation.
 

Roadvirus

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sanman

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As long as this is used as an absolute last possible option and they can guarantee no innocents will get hurt, i don't see the problem with this.

I assume the explosives they are using are basically the size of cherry bombs and not, say C-4

The Dallas police used C4 to kill the gunman:

Dallas Shooting: Police Use Of Bomb-Bearing Robot To Neutralize Sniper...

"The robot used was the Remotec, Model F-5, claw and arm extension with an explosive device of C4 plus “Det” cord," they added, noting the weight of the charge was one pound.
 
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matchlight

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Probably could have killed him with an airstrike and no collateral damage, alone in the garage. But that would have been rather messy. Kudos for creative problem solving. Of course the bomb was totally legit.

An attack from the air would not be all that far-fetched in some situations, for example if the killer were in a high place that was shielded from any rifle fire from the ground. Some snipers are trained to fire from a hovering helicopter. There are also some very small air-to-ground missiles these days, although I doubt police forces have access to the kind of helicopters that fire them. The U.S. military may have begun to use these small missiles to kill jihadists, and the blast is limited enough to allow them to be used even in built-up areas. Five pounds or so of high explosive still makes a very large bang, though. About the only valid police use of these things I can imagine is against a vehicle traveling in a fairly open area and known to contain one or more terrorists who were fleeing from some sort of mass murder and known to be very heavily armed or rigged with explosives, so that trying to capture them was impractical and letting them get away was unthinkable.
 

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I wonder if this could pave the way for other police uses of robots to disable hostile threats - maybe not with explosives, but say releasing tear-gas, or administering electric shock, or something else.
 

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I would like to see some footage of the explosion this actually caused. Until then, I think this sounds like a very risky tactic. I am worried about the police blowing up, killing, or injuring innocent people in the collateral damage. If there is a serious risk of that, I would not support this as a solution.

I hope they eventually release any footage they have. Not because I have doubts about the tactic, but I want to see the look on the scumbag's face.

The fact that they neutralized the threat, and there was no collateral damage, kinda demonstrates the positive potential for this tactic. I would like to see robots developed specifically for this purpose.
 

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nota bene

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I hope they eventually release any footage they have. Not because I have doubts about the tactic, but I want to see the look on the scumbag's face.

The fact that they neutralized the threat, and there was no collateral damage, kinda demonstrates the positive potential for this tactic. I would like to see robots developed specifically for this purpose.

From the (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram:

Dallas Police Chief David Brown defended his department's decision. "Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger," he said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings applauded Brown for making "the right call" and said he would have no qualms about resorting to the same strategy in the future. "When there's no other way, I think this is a good example," he said. "The key thing is to keep our police out of harm's way."
Killer robot used by Dallas police opens ethical debate | The Star-Telegram
 

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Ya, this is what militarizing our police force looks like. Congrats.
 

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Ya, this is what militarizing our police force looks like. Congrats.

It was a robot used typically to remotely detonate suspicious packages, not a T1 Terminator or even a remotely piloted mini tank.

Those robots have been around for some time.

They most likely jury rigged a small amount of C4 plastique to the end of its arm and set it off in his vicinity

The concussion alone is enough to kill someone as it breaks small blood vessel's in the lungs causing the person to essentially drown in their own blood

The guy was terrorist racist scum, I have no sympathy for him.
 

PoS

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North Dakota is one of the first states to have law enforcement use drones in apprehending criminals. They may only use non-lethal methods such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray.

I think in the near future drones will be used by law enforcement throughout the country. It would give police more options and not endanger police.

Yup, piss off a cop in the future and you'll get a drone strike.
 

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jonny5

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It was expedient, economical, and for the most part funny as hell.

Why waste a trial on that sack of ****.

I hope it was painful as he felt himself being torn apart.

Because we dont believe in cruel and unusual punishment. We DO believe in due process and justice.
 

Blue_State

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It was a robot used typically to remotely detonate suspicious packages, not a T1 Terminator or even a remotely piloted mini tank.

Those robots have been around for some time.

They most likely jury rigged a small amount of C4 plastique to the end of its arm and set it off in his vicinity

The concussion alone is enough to kill someone as it breaks small blood vessel's in the lungs causing the person to essentially drown in their own blood

The guy was terrorist racist scum, I have no sympathy for him.

You are right, and I don't have any sympathy for him either.

My point is, why does our protect and serve police force look like this? I personally don't think they should have these tools, but I know a lot of people think it is great.

I am happy their tools were used in a good way, and the outcome was positive.
 

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C4 is ~1.2x more powerful (faster shock wave) than TNT.

I imagine in this case EO technicians would fashion the C4 to deliver a lethal shock wave in a constrained area.

Micah Xavier Johnson probably died of blast overpressure (BOP) injuries.
 

jonny5

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Simpleχity;1066062114 said:
C4 is ~1.2x more powerful (faster shock wave) than TNT.

I imagine in this case EO technicians would fashion the C4 to deliver a lethal shock wave in a constrained area.

Micah Xavier Johnson probably died of blast overpressure (BOP) injuries.

On one show this weekend, they said his body was in many unrecognizable pieces.
 

tres borrachos

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I think the use of the robot was appropriate here if the shooter made clear that he would not surrender.

I trust the Police Chief, who strikes me as a very thoughtful man. He said there was no further negotiating with Johnson, and he has his other officers' safety to consider. This appears to have been the right decision.
 

Fenton

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Simpleχity;1066062114 said:
C4 is ~1.2x more powerful (faster shock wave) than TNT.

I imagine in this case EO technicians would fashion the C4 to deliver a lethal shock wave in a constrained area.

Micah Xavier Johnson probably died of blast overpressure (BOP) injuries.

Yep, only RDX has a faster velocity, 8750 m/s and C4 is 90% RDX

The shockwave alone is enough to rupture capillaries in the lungs causing the victim fo drown in his own blood

Here's hoping he survived the initial blast
 
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