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 reputation.
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 over protesters.
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 smartphones.