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Culture

Ranger uses Taser on man flying drone in national park

Technically Incorrect: A man wants to use his microcopter to enhance his enjoyment of a rising lave lake. The local ranger isn't amused.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Sanders prone after being Tasered. Hawaii News Now screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Drones are becoming a greater nuisance than mosquitoes.

There seem already to be too many of them flying around, following the principle of that great revolutionary airman William Nillian. (Willy Nilly to you.)

Only last week, the people in charge of the Golden Gate Bridge decided they needed help to deal with the proliferation of these buzzing menaces.

Now comes the case of a man in Hawaii who took his little quadcopter out for a fly-by over a lava lake in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on Saturday.

Drones are banned in national parks. However, as Hawaii News Now reports, 35-year-old Travis Sanders said he didn't know.

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

As he flew his drone over the lava lake, Sanders realized he wasn't alone. He told Hawaii News Now: "A guy approached me in the dark and said, 'Bring it down!' and he was very angry. I had no idea he was a ranger. He sounded very angry, confrontational -- like he wanted to fight -- and I didn't really want to stick around for it so I just told him, 'I don't have ID and I'm leaving.'"

You will be stunned into numbness when I tell you that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane didn't relate the same tale. She said: "The suspect refused to identify himself and fled -- not far from the edge of the caldera, which is more than 500 feet."

You know how this ends. Hawaii is part of America. Sanders got Tasered.

Footage reveals the ranger saying: "Why the hell did you run?"

Sanders replies: "Why the hell did you shoot me?"

Some of those who fly drones seem to think it's the most normal activity. Perhaps, once Amazon delivers our undies by drone, we'll be used to the permanent tinnitus of life.

However, there's still a little wariness about the essentially uncontrolled nature of some drone activity. Just last week, reports spoke of a near-miss between a drone and a plane at Washington's Dulles Airport.

In this Hawaii case, there seems to have been a dissonance between Sanders and the ranger. Did he have to run? Did the ranger have to Taser him?

Did Sanders really need to bring his drone along?