Ruling highlights the obvious: don't shoot drones

Drones — and by drones, we mostly mean RC copters of various sorts — are more common than ever, and the public is still learning how to use them; not just according to the law, but also according to social standards. Common decency says not to fly a quadcopter over a neighbor's property, for example, and to not use it for spying purposes. Unfortunately some people consider such devices' very existence troubling, and go to extreme measures to eliminate them.

One such extreme measure is one you've probably heard joked about in the past — shooting drones out of the sky. That's reckless and dangerous, not to mention destructive of someone else's property, but that didn't stop one man in California from ordering his son to do just that.

The issue involved Eric Joe and his drone, which he was operating at his parent's farm in Modesto. The area where he was operating is described as "really rural", and according to statements he made to VICE, he'd been flying for about five minutes when he heard a gun shot. His drone crashed a moment later.

That's when he went over to the neighbor Brett McBay, whose son was reportedly holding a shotgun. The neighbor admitted to shooting the drone, including over emails which have since been released, but refused to replace the drone for the requested $700.

The emails indicate he believed the drone to be over his property and to be a "surveillance" device, both of which Joe denied. He was forced to take the matter to court, and the judge ruled as you'd expect: McBay is at fault in the matter and was ordered to pay up.

The lesson to be learned? It's really not okay to shoot drones out of the sky.

SOURCE: Motherboard