Tec, my issue is not that I’m particularly surprised that they had it all, my issue is the story we were given about how it was decided upon and deployed. The DPD Chief (who I’m not going to criticize at all, particularly after what he and his people just went through and accomplished), explained the use of the explosive in a way that stretches credibility to the extreme. It was severely downplayed, and presented as just a lucky stream of consciousness by a few officers that hatched a plan out of almost thin air, and presented it to him just as soon as he got done with his press briefing, at which time he merely said, “Sounds good – DO IT!” And it was put together from scratch in short order. I don’t buy that at all.
What seems clear is exactly what you suggested in your post – that they had the robot, had many very detailed scenarios in which they could deploy it, and had the equipment and training available and ready to carry out the various missions in which they could use it. I was thinking almost exactly what you said, that “it is the beginning of robotic law enforcement.” I would add, “rather sophisticated” robotic law enforcement. To this point, we’ve only seen robots used to go check out crime scenes for bombs, surveillance, etc. – passive aids TO law enforcement. But now they’ve gone to the point of actively employing rather high tech equipment, tactics, and training, for the direct enforcement of the law, including to the point of lethality. They’ve reached a level of sophistication and capability that I fear may too often exceed their ethical strengths (i.e. how and when to use it). Everybody saw Waco on TV, and hopefully most were horrified, both by the actions and by the implications. Nobody saw (except perhaps a camera operator, and the subsequent cleanup crew) what was done in Dallas. We’ve now seen the dawn of a whole new era. It reminds me of the scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” in which the first ape was figuring out that he could use the large bone as a weapon. The subsequent results were devastating in more ways than one, and largely because the apes had no conscience or ethical boundaries. The learning curve moved vertically rather rapidly. It was all, “I want what I want when I want it, and I’ll kill anything in my path that stands in my way.” We’re now at another major move “forward” in methods and capability, with likely similar implications.
The Dallas shooter was well trained, both in the military (through training as well as two Afghanistan tours) and through personally sought training at a school in Texas, learning exactly the tactics he very successfully used the other night. Yet we still see who “won” in the end. He was no match for their technology. We will likely again see the equivalent of another Janet Reno in the future – and look at what all is now at their disposal. Dallas wasn’t the sudden, unexpected brainchild of a handful of resourceful Dallas PD officers in the heat of the moment, as the public was essentially told. Now we know what some of the operational capabilities are, and it’s likely still the tip of the iceberg.