In the “Drone Slayer” incident, in June of 2016, William Merideth shot down an unmanned aircraft as it hovered over his Kentucky home. The drone was piloted by his neighbor David Boggs and while some accounts of the incident have Boggs using his drone to take photos of Merideth’s daughter, we don’t really know what occurred. The only people who really know what happened are the participants i.e. Boggs, Merideth and the Merideth family. Boggs, seeking damages, took Merideth to court both at the state and federal level, but both times the court sided with Merideth and the cases were dismissed.
Stories like this had former State Senator Ralph Shortey concerned about drones, and in Oklahoma City, before losing his position in disgrace, he was leading the charge against this “threat.” Shortey authored a bill that exempts people from lawsuits when they damage drones that are flying over their property.
State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican who represents the Oklahoma City area, authored a bill that exempts people from lawsuits if they damage drones that veer onto their property, according to multiple reports.
The lawmaker’s measure unanimously passed out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee in late February and is headed for a full vote in the upper chamber sometime this month, according to ABC-TV affiliate KTUL.com
Seems innocuous enough right? Wrong. As a drone operator, this bill has me concerned. No, I don’t use my drones to fly over my neighbors property and surreptitiously take photos, however my concern is that this bill will make more people “gun happy” and more drones will be damaged or destroyed.
Remember how I said “former State Senator?” That’s because after authoring this bill, State Sen. Ralph Shortey was once again in the news and it’s not for anything drone related or even anything positive.
On March 16, 2017, Shortey was charged by the Cleveland County District Attorney with three felony counts—soliciting a minor for prostitution, prostitution within 1,000 feet (300 m) of a church, and transporting someone for prostitution—after he was allegedly caught with a 17-year-old boy in a Moore, Oklahoma, motel room. Police reported a “strong odor of raw marijuana” emanating from the room. According to an affidavit, the duo told police they had brought marijuana with them, which Shortey said they were smoking when police arrived. Police said that they discovered sexually explicit text messages between the duo in which Shortey called the teen “baby boy” and offered him cash in exchange for sexual acts. Shortey turned himself in the same day and was released on a $100,000 bond. The FBI and U.S. Secret Service in Oklahoma City both confirmed that they had joined the investigation into Shortey, and the FBI conducted a search of his home.
After the reports emerged, but before charges were filed, the Oklahoma Senate unanimously voted to strip Shortey of a variety of privileges, including his parking space, office, and positions on committees, although he retained his seat, ability to vote, and salary. A number of Oklahoma officials from both parties called upon Shortey to step down, including Governor Mary Fallin. Shortey resigned from office on March 22, 2017; six days after being charged.
Uhm. Thanks Ralph. Thanks a lot.
About Ralph Shortey (former State Senator)
Ralph Allan Lee Shortey (born 16 February, 1982) is an American politician from the state of Oklahoma. A Republican, he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 2010 and served in that body until 2017, when he resigned after being charged with three felony counts relating to soliciting prostitution from a (male) minor, drug abuse with said minor, and drug possession within 1,000 feet of a church; a crime for which he previously sponsored a bill to stiffen penalties.