Over and over we are learning about the value of new small drone inventions in relation to traffic management, real estate, law and order, farming, investigative issues, neighbourhood disputes, video and film and now lost persons in bushland. A drone even alerts surfers to a shark circling.
This recent News.com story relates to a drone that came to the aid of a search and rescue effort to find a man who had been missing for three days.
Then David Lesh, who uses his drone to film aerial ski and snowboard videos, heard about the search and decided to help out. He fired up his drone — a remote flying vehicle with camera attached — and within 20 minutes had found the person everyone including helicopters and search dogs had been looking for.
There is now a huge effort in Australia to put drones to good use across the board and its proving to be a win-win, however the military application to drones is highlighted in the media when 'catching the bad guys'. The philosophy of the military un-piloted drone, an instrument of war that can target and send a "kill message" to anyone, anywhere.
I wrote about drones early last year and made the point that we are in an age of instant reality of the Biblical announcement that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword, that who pull the levers of decision making to dish out the wholesale murder of bystanders as a political statement, are now themselves targeted very personally, "one by one" as it were.
This is a new phenomenon - where instant accountability is accredited.
In effect what drones provide is 'instant' accountability. This is very different to say seventy years ago to the Holocaust and how that evil emerged and evolved from one step to another – labour camps, bashings, shootings, carbon-monoxide vehicles and finally gassing and the final solution.
The philosophy of the drone is that of 'instant accountability'. You are seen and recorded. Now consider the Nazi leaders and the Nuremberg trial process, and how in reality most of the perpetrators escaped any punishment at all. The television series Auschwitz showed how after the WWII many of the guards ended up on a singing tour of Britain and hosted in British homes who were totally unsuspecting. It detailed one Holocaust survivor returning to his home town in Poland to be bluntly told he was neither welcome and his family's house had somehow been designated freehold and sold.
Again, the television series Kessler that follows on (30 years after WWII) from the Secret Army television series illustrates how Kessler the Brussells Gestapo head who ordered the execution of innumerable Belgians, changed his identity and became a wealthy industrialist with a new surname, Dorf.
His cover gets broken in a television interview and the rest of the series illustrates his escape to South America and staying one step ahead of those pursuing him until his colleagues murder his own daughter and in the last scene, now a very old man, he finally realises that this world view he held so passionately, was all smoke and mirrors.
Indeed we know the passage well, that revenge is mine says the Lord, but it stands in balance with a host of other Biblical teaching where standing for right is a duty of the follower of the Lord. As Edmund Burke exclaimed, evil abounds when good men do nothing. We're witnesses to this now with the ISIL drama and the Australian Government's new legislation to protect the nation.
For as long as history has been recorded and as our own memories serve, never has there been a time until now, when "accountability" has become the weapon of choice against those who have unmistakeably delivered death with mayhem.
Nations demand 'accountability'
The ultimate problem with all this new technology is that eventually everyone will have drones with similar capability. It is one certain way to assume 'accountability' possibly quicker than through the long slow process of a court system with clever-dick lawyers.
So the question put is that, can there be a separation of good drone use and bad drone use, and who might determine such scenarios. Will there be a drone moratorium as there has been with nuclear weapons? Today, right now, there are 70 nations with drones and it may not be long before they end up in the hands of nastier types.
These are questions and issues being raised by a host of theologians and philosophers. The Israeli's have for some time, using a variety of warfare methodologies have been unafraid of targeting those in military leadership, who have come against them, We are already aware how Hamas' military targets are hit and filmed as does ISIS.
Hamas publicly and unashamedly lives by the sword, and die by the sword. Is drone warfare against Hamas moral (who determines the morality)? Was it within the United Nations charter of the rules of warfare (what is war today?) Was it inevitable? Was it justice (who determines the justice?) Was it fair (who determines what is fair)?
These are questions Christians ponders. They are perennial questions and there will be good men and women on both sides of this ticket.
However, where drones function for commerce and industry, for searching for those lost in bushland, for video and film entrepreneurial purposes, for traffic control, shark spotting and the like, we applaud and celebrate.
I can foresee how evangelism might benefit from drones ... now there's a thought for the excitable The Revelation types.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html