Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 3, 2013

April Fools joke?




This morning as I was deciding on my day's activities, I heard an interesting article on the local TV channel that announced a breakthrough in the ability to communicate with gorillas.

Of course, I was interested and I immediately went to the TV room and watched as two highly intelligent newscasters delivered a news story about this amazing accomplishment. After the news was announced the news station had a couple other articles that were given and we finally got back to the gorilla communication story.

The video showed a doctor of anthropology, I think, making unintelligible groans and grunts, with an audio meter measuring the sound of the doctor and the gorilla answering, with the doctor interpreting. Wow! What an accomplishment.

I then decided to go to Hardees and take this amazing news to the local committee on government spending and actions, and share with these very knowledgeable individuals the good news. On the way, I had to stop at the newspaper box and get the local news. Lo and behold, we had another amazing story being announced by the local County Board and some of its members.

A few days ago, I had read an article concerning the use of drones within the airspace of Jefferson County, and now we have an article announcing the Sheriff's use of a 24-inch dish with two propellers being used to spy on the citizens of this community.

The ordinance in the newspaper a few days ago referenced a "drone" that was capable of carrying a "12 guage shotgun" and a camera and was capable of transiting this county's airspace. For the board's information, the airport on the east side of the county has a "controlled zone" from the surface up to 10,000 feet and a five mile radius of the airport. That's almost half the county. Also, if my information is correct, the rest of the county is Federal airspace from 500 feet up.

First of all, if the sheriff has a need of a "drone at the 24-inch size" to assist in his need to enforce the law in our county, I am in agreement. This is not a County Board area of responsibility, unless you can show me in the Illinois Statutes that this is authorized by the statutes. A transiting drone would be Interstate Commerce responsibility and carrying a camera without judicial approval would be a violation of the First Amendment.

Do you all believe we should start a Civil Defense Force to look out for those dreaded drones? Maybe we should mount spotters on top of the courthouse. Would this cause additional courthouse renovation?

Don't you Board Members think you should be more concerned with the excessive spending and the accountability of funds as we face some very serious budget problems in the next few months?

In closing, today is April Fools Day and the gorilla story was a April Fools joke, according to the TV channel. I hope the drone ordinance was also an April Fools joke.

Ted Buck

Mt. Vernon