We are all aware of the unmanned military drones used for spying and for killing people in faraway foreign countries. But are drones flying over the United States? When six cows wandered into a neighbor’s field this summer in North Dakota, local law enforcement asked the U.S. military for assistance by lending them a predator drone. Police used the unmanned drone to reconnoiter the trespassing cows and help in the “arrest of a U.S citizen on his own property,” according to the Minnesota Star Tribune.

According to KnowDrones.com, drones are currently flying in certain areas of U.S. airspace for testing purposes and border patrol. Congress has legislation pending that would open all U.S. airspace to drones by September 30, 2015. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been critical of this proposal because of concerns about interference with commercial air traffic. Statistics show unmanned aircraft have an accident rate seven times higher than general aviation and 353 times higher than commercial aviation. On August 16, the “Waverider” experimental drone, built to fly six times the speed of sound, broke apart and crashed 31 seconds into its test flight, according to Reuters.

A combined lobbying effort by high-tech aerospace weapons makers and urban police is pushing hard for the droning of America. There are now at least 266 active testing permits for domestic drone operations, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. The use of drones for domestic police surveillance raises all sorts of constitutional questions. Drones can target an individual or a property, and hover for days recording their activities.

Right here in Ohio, Wright Patterson Air Force base, just outside of Dayton, has been experimenting with drones for military and commercial use. Nearby Springfield is retrofitting their airport’s air traffic control tower so they can “...help Ohio be selected by the Federal Aviation Administration as a testing site for UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] later this year,” according to the Dayton Daily News. Ohio Governor Kasich is teaming up with Indiana’s governor vying to be one of the FAA’s six test sites in hopes of creating industry and jobs.

Drones are remote-controlled aircraft that come in all shapes and sizes. Wired magazine reported that the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson has developed a “robot dragonfly.” Wired said the tiny drone “fits, like a bug, on the tip of someone’s finger” and may be used “to create a swarm of spying cyborg bugs.” The bug is equipped with a camera and a built-in microphone.

In an August Huffington Post editorial, technology futurist Daniel Burrus states that these bugs, or MAVs (Micro Aerial Vehicles) are controlled by people wearing special helmets allowing them to see what the bug “sees” and hear what the bug “hears.” The MAVs potential use is to land on your skin and insert a needle to extract DNA, insert a toxin, or even place a micro-radio frequency identification device under your skin. You may be none the wiser, it is assumed. The “robotic insects” can “...effortlessly infiltrate urban areas, even where there are dense buildings, a lot of people, and unpredictable winds,” Burrus reports.

There is already pushback against domestic drone use in the nation, and in Ohio. Know Drones will do an educational tour in Ohio in cooperation with local peace groups in the Dayton/Springfield and Columbus areas, September 11-19, 2012. The tour will include sidewalk display of a 1/5 actual size replica of a Reaper drone (8' length, 11' wingspan), elevated on a lifter, and include video displays showing various aspects of drone operations as well as simulation of drone targeting.