Dallas Police Use Explosive Robot to Kill Active Shooter


Max Becker, Sports Editor

On July 7th,  Army Reserve Afghan Veteran, Micah Xavier Johnson, opened fire during a Black Lives Matter march protesting police violence. Johnson specifically targeted white police officers. Following the shootings, Johnson fled to the campus of El Centro College, where a standoff ensued.

The conclusion of the standoff was controversial in itself, as it marked the first instance that a robot was used by the police to kill on American soil. Dallas police attempted to negotiate with Johnson, who responded with even more gunfire. Concerned about the possibility of more casualties, the decision was made to employ a robot designed to take out the shooter. The remote controlled robot, armed with an explosive device, was deployed near the building Johnson was holed up in. The robot exploded, killing Johnson. The use of this robot, previously only seen overseas in the war on terror, has sparked debate about an increased domestic usage. In an effort to protect human lives, more robots may be used to confront armed suspects. However, this raises concern of possible abuse of robotics by the government and police forces. Just as people protest drone usage overseas, people may begin protesting over domestic use of lethal robots. According to Ryan Calo, an expert on robotics and the law, “This is not the beginning of killer robots domestically, but it is hard to distinguish this from a drone strike. The police had exhausted their other options, they thought.” Although the decision to use an explosive robot was controversial, in the end it produced the intended results.