This Ol' Dystopia

Axon thinks the answer to mass shootings is Taser-wielding drones

Real press release headline: 'Axon Announces Taser Drone Development to Address Mass Shootings'

It has come to this: Rather than recognize the latest rock bottom in their ongoing, deeply disturbing addiction to guns, Americans would prefer we send literal winged stun guns into elementary schools to tase active spree shooters instead of passing a modicum of legislative firearms reform. Yesterday, the CEO of the “nonlethal” weapons manufacturer, Axon, announced his intention to move forward with “Taser Drone Development to Address Mass Shootings.”

"Today, the only viable response to a mass shooter is another person with a gun," Axon founder and CEO Rick Smith declared. "In the aftermath of these events, we get stuck in fruitless debates. We need new and better solutions. For this reason, we have elected to... develop a remotely operated, non-lethal drone system that we believe will be a more effective, immediate, humane, and ethical option to protect innocent people."

After promoting a graphic novel he apparently wrote called The End of Killing in his press release, Smith laid out his “three-part strategy to stop mass shooter events,” a plan that involves equipping teachers with body cameras and hosting virtual reality massacre scenarios in addition to the airborne, child-targeting cattle prods. Axon stock rose 5.8 percent yesterday following their CEO’s creative solution to our country’s addiction to violence.

As NBC News noted yesterday, Axon’s own ethics advisory board has already come out against their boss’ latest brainstorm session. “We think Axon's decision is deeply regrettable," the board said in a statement posted to Twitter. One member of the advisory committee even went so far as to suggest on record that a wave of resignations were all-but-inevitable should Smith move forward with his strategy.

What’s particularly disgusting about all this is that Axon’s CEO made his announcement a month after his ethics board voted against moving forward with even a limited pilot program test of the technology. “We unanimously are concerned with the process Axon has employed regarding this idea of drones in school classrooms," they wrote at the time. To put it bluntly: Axon CEO Rick Smith is exploiting the worst school shooting in years to advance his plan for America’s education system to purchase both real-time surveillance cameras feeding directly to police departments and Taser drones. To get a sense for how the endeavor is being received by the masses, we recommend checking Smith’s Reddit AMA happening this very afternoon.