Seems to me that Rand's comment here had an implied missing middle statement -- that the robber was branishing a weapon, threatening with the weapon. Police are not justified in shooting a robber who has already completed the robbery when the robber is not threatening anyone. Neither is a drone controller justified in doing so. I'm sure Rand gets this.
However if the fleeing robber is threatening with a weapon, the circumstances change. It's no longer about $50 or the robbery; it's about the lives of the police officers and bystanders.
I'm fine with police using advanced technology. The worry for me is that our technology keeps removing us from the blood and guts of violence. Guns did a similar thing three centuries ago when they became both more accurate and widely available. They made it easier to kill because killing was more removed. Bombs certainly have as well. Killing by drone removes the act even further.
It just seems to be that human judgement is so enmeshed with the visceral response we have to the experience of violence, that if we remove ourselves even further...I don't know what the "if" is actually. It just makes me a bit queasy.
Can drones even aim at a shoulder or knee? Or is is all top of the cranium? Can drones fire warning shots that are meaningful to a flipped-out, on-the-run robber? I don't know. I hope that Rand is not suggesting that drones should shoot some idgit who hit up a shop for $50 and has a gun on him. I hope he means an idgit who is threatening people with that gun. In which case, the $50 heist isn't the drone-worthy crime, it's the imminent threat to innocent life that is. I hope he just misspoke.
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