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YOU’LL HAVE TO PRY MY JOY STICK OUT OF MY COLD, DEAD HANDS

So, with the United States Air Force and the CIA deploying drones in Afghanistan from the comfort of a command center in Las Vegas, Nevada, around 10,000 miles away, how soon will it be before regular people can get their hands on remote-controlled flying guns? Predator Drones are unmanned aircraft armed with sensors, cameras and deadly accurate missiles. Lots of people will want one or two of their own. After all, in America you have people collecting all sorts of non-sporting guns, like semi-automatic pistols and machine guns and the like whose only purpose is combat.

When this technology gets a little more compact, maybe we’ll have deer hunters targeting Bambi’s mother from the comfort of their living rooms instead of traipsing around the damp woods hoping they catch a glimpse of these elusive animals, never mind getting a clean shot off. With the advanced capabilities of predator technology, the guy will be eating venison in no time. That moose head he always dreamed of hanging in the den? Hell, you don’t have to be within 1,000 miles of Maine or Canada to bag one of those bad boys. Just set the coordinates on the drone and it will find you one, your eye in the sky for big game hunts.

And of course outlaws will get their hands on the latest weapons, they always do. This way they could knock off a liquor store from a mile away. Just hook up a speaker to the drone, tell the clerk to put all the money in the sack on the wing and nobody gets blown up. And tape a bottle of your best bourbon to the nose cone while you’re at it, sport. Or they could send up a drone above a crowded street and just mug everybody all at once while they sit in a Starbucks miles away from the crime scene, sipping a latte’ and munching a bran muffin, just one more customer playing one more video game on his laptop. The people in the street? They’d be putting their wallets and jewelry in the drone’s handy loot pouch, scared to death of being blasted by a tiny but potent laser-guided missile.

Drones will come in handy in a lot of ways, even for the non-gun enthusiasts and ordinary law abiding citizens. Given the fact that technology has always been made smaller and more portable, people will be able to carry around their own little pocket-sized drones like a blackberry or an i-Pod. This way when a mugger threatens you with his remote control drone, you can counter with your own little heat-seeking missile drone and blow his right out of the sky. While this may be problematic for older citizens, the Gen X And Generation Next people have been preparing themselves for personal drones their entire lives. After spending thousands and thousands of hours a year playing mind-numbing computer games, there’s not much they can’t do with computers and game controllers of any size.

And the beauty of all this is that there are no laws against anybody owning a mini-predator drone. There are no regulations of any sort, no waiting period to buy one or pesky criminal background checks or anything like that to prevent you from being the first one on your block to own the new i-Pred from Apple! Your neighbor with that blaring stereo will think twice before he cranks up the volume knob to 11 in his backyard. That guy in the candy store who’s always short changing you? Call him him Honest Al from now on! And just maybe Mrs. Fenster will teach her dog not to bark all night long if she doesn’t want to find a small pile of charred bones and singed hair where Fluffy used to be.

Who knows, maybe pistols and shotguns will go the way of bows and arrows? With a deadly accurate little Predator Drone, you don’t even have to be a good shot, or even in the same neighborhood as your target.  Also, there’s no smoke, no loud bangs, no nasty recoils. A cop gets a 911 call that a bank is being held up, there’s no need to race across town in the old cruiser at breakneck speed endangering innocent bystanders. Just send the Police Drone over to the bank and let the bank robbers think things over for a while. Give them the choice of either surrendering peaceably or having the drone hone in on their right nostril with a mini-stinger missile. Tell them you’ll be there in about twenty minutes or so to either handcuff them or hose their brains off the marble floor. Then the cops can finish their lunch, maybe hand out a couple of parking tickets on the way over and collar the would-be robbers at their leisure.

We have seen the future of weaponry and it is a geek joystick. It will soon be miniaturized and mass produced and available at gun stores and electronics outlets nationwide. And just like in the computer games, the shooter doesn’t get to see the real violence up close. It will be onscreen, and thus sort of unreal, virtual if you will. Just like the CIA geeks in Vegas blowing up cars and houses full of people in Afghanistan, the death and destruction will be impersonal and far removed, seen only in video images. Of course on the business end of the Predator Drones the death will be just as real as ever, the blood just as red and the stink of burning flesh just as pungent. The killers just won’t have to witness their handiwork. Isn’t that progress?

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