Ohio man charged with shooting police robot that entered his bedroom

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(NaturalNews) It’s not a zombie apocalypse but it could be the next best  – or worst – thing, depending on your point of view, but one thing is for  certain: The robots are coming, and with them new laws that will undoubtedly be  utilized to protect them.

According to the Chillicothe Gazette, a  Gannett-owned Ohio newspaper, a 62-year-old man, Michael Blevins, who was  heavily inebriated was recently arrested for shooting (but not killing) a police robot following a six-hour stand-off.

The report said that  officers in the town of Waverly initially responded to a complaint that shots  had been fired inside a bedroom at a home, and that the homeowner had a number  of guns and was threatening neighbors.

Police knocked on the front door  of the home, called on the telephone and even brought in a trained negotiator in  an effort to make contact with Blevins, but he refused to speak to anyone for  hours. At that, officers decided to contact the Pike County Sheriff’s Department  as well as the state Highway Patrol’s Strategic Response Team for help. They got  a pair of search robots instead.

Attack of the drones?

The  first robot to enter the Blevins’ home was camera-equipped. Its mission was to  locate the man and his guns. A second, larger robot was then sent inside, but  when Blevins spotted that machine, he opened fire on it with a small caliber  pistol, damaging it.

After all that, police finally entered his home and  used a simple stun gun to subdue and arrest him.

Later, after obtaining a  search warrant, cops found several firearms in Blevins’, including a pair of  AK-47-style, semi-automatic rifles and a 75-round ammunition magazine, an item  that is illegal to own in Ohio.

Following an  evaluation by medical doctors and mental health professionals, Blevins was  charged with two felony counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance  and vandalism of government property, among other charges, the local paper  reported.

The use of robots by the military has grown exponentially over  the past decade. They are utilized as bomb-sniffing devices and for other  counter-IED missions in Afghanistan and were used is similar capacities in Iraq  before U.S. troops pulled out.

And just as the military has replaced a  lot of missions that can be harmful to soldiers with robots, civilian  authorities are doing the same for certain dangerous situations, to protect  officers. Other technologies being used by police  are alarming, however: They include automated license plate readers; taser  cameras; face ID scanners; facial recognition software; and drones. Robots are  only the latest high-tech device employed by police.

In fact, reports  David J. Hill at SingularityHub.com, another Ohio police department last  fall was showing off a recently acquired $11,000 AVATAR surveillance robot  from a firm called RoboteX; its mission is assisting the department’s SWAT  team.

Writes Hill:

Robots like these are increasingly being  used in standoffs in which armed people are not cooperating with police. For  example, a related event occurred last year in Utah when two cousins  who were roommates got into an argument and shots were fired. When SWAT arrived,  one cousin surrendered but the other refused to come out. He did, however,  surrender his shotgun when the police sent a robot in.

Increased  technology impinges on the Constitution

Departments are increasingly  looking to high-tech, high-end systems that make it easier to catch lawbreakers  while protecting the lives of officers, but as technology often does, with the  advances come additional new concerns about constitutional issues such as  privacy and other individual rights, Hill notes. “After all, the consequence of  the intoxicated Ohio man’s actions is to be charged with damage to police  equipment rather than, at the least, attempted murder charges if he had fired on  police.”

But would he have fired on police? These implications of  increased robot use are only now coming into focus. Notes  Hill:

Incidents between citizens and police  robots will be on the rise as more bots are brought into service. Hopefully,  we can remember that a potentially deadly armed standoff resulted in no one  being hurt, thanks to technology and those who use it  responsibly.

The key word, of course, is responsibly.

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