In the Loop

In the Loop: February 27, 2008 Archive

Real-life Robo-cop is just like any vigilante . . .

Posted at 2:25 PM on February 27, 2008 by Sanden Totten (1 Comments)

The war on crime has a new good guy . . . Well, maybe.

(Jenni Girtman/Alanta Journal-Constitution)

Rufus Terrill owns a bar in Atlanta. He was tired of drug dealers and other thugs hanging around his business, but rather than hire an expensive security guard he decided to build his own. And thus we have what surely must be the first ever, remote control, citizen-built "Robo-Cop".

The robot rolls around the neighborhood, guided by Terrill who uses a wireless camera to navigate. When it finds a crowd of suspicious looking characters . . . that's when the "robo-cop" strikes (from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

He flashes the robot's spotlight and grabs a walkie-talkie, which he uses to boom his disembodied voice over the robot's sound system.

"I tell them they are trespassing, it's private property, and they have to leave," he said. "They throw bottles and cans at it. That's when I shoot the water cannon. They just scatter like roaches."

Yes, a water canon. Wow. Points for ingenuity.

But the thing is, Terrill seems to have a bias against people hanging around a homeless shelter. Some neighbors worry the robot is inhumane and that he may end up targeting people who don't deserve it. And even if someone is hanging around with bad intentions, is it okay to soak them before they've actually done anything?

Much like with Batman, "robo-cop" raises the question of 'who has the right to take the justice into their own hands?' But for now, ne'er-do-wells of Atlanta beware. "Robo-cop" is out there . . . and he doesn't need probably cause to soak you to the bone.

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