Man creates vigilante robot to battle drug dealers

Discuss

130 Responses to “Man creates vigilante robot to battle drug dealers”

  1. Benjamin says:

    Nice one.

  2. Brainspore says:

    Finally, screw you little whitebread suburbanite twits and your compassion for the homeless, the pushers and all of society’s scum. You don’t even know who it is you’re trying to defend; you’re standing up for a caricature, because you’re too sheltered to know what real homeless people, drug dealers, hookers and so on are like.

    Don’t profess to know my life just because I disagree with you. I happen to live and work in the Bay Area, which has one of the biggest homeless populations in the country. Do I often find some of them to be an annoyance? Absolutely- but that doesn’t mean I turn a hose on them. Hell, sometimes I’ll even buy them lunch.

  3. hyperkine says:

    Not sure how effective this is but I admire the ingenuity behind it.

  4. coreDumped says:

    somebody should build their own robot and (unannounced to the bar owner) challenge him to an impromptu match of Robot Wars!

  5. Village Idiot says:

    To quote RJ (#62) “So here’s a little help. The thing is 4′ tall (that’s about 1.2m) and weighs 300 lbs (136kg). There is no casually shoving the robot over, as the high school kids have suggested. For a comparison, try walking up to a brick mailbox and shoving it over.”

    How about formally pushing it over then? You’re right though, that help did qualify as “little.”

    Anyhow, the last time I tried to push over a brick mailbox, I noticed it was firmly anchored to the ground, not mounted on wheels that elevate it’s center of gravity. Being 4 feet tall, there is plenty of leverage available for one reasonably-strong person to push it over.

    And between the time you became homeless and the time you got your job (and presumably a home), if you’d been sprayed with one of these I’d bet you’d be pissed. Hopefully, you would recognize the fact that as per your definitions you were, at that point in your life, a “damned loser,” not to mention a member of “society’s scum,” which you called homeless people just before saying you’ve been homeless. I’m just sayin’…

    And quit calling everyone here an idiot. I’m the only idiot around here, dammit.

    BTW: Why not just chock the wheels of this thing? A small rock or stick should work…

  6. dangermaus says:

    I actually frequent this bar. One of my friends lives nearby, and we spend a friday or two a month there. The BumBot has been around for a while, a few months at least. This area of town is sketchy, to say the least, and drug dealers/muggers/crackheads aren’t known for their social graces. As someone who has been accosted and has feared for his safety, I appreciate the fact that this bar owner has taken responsibility for making his patrons feel safe. I never feel unsafe entering or leaving this bar, and in Atlanta, specifically certain areas of midtown, that’s saying something.

  7. remarkable hail says:

    Okay, fair enough: “..Its called the BUM BOT on the guy’s web site.” Was really only referring to the info provided in news video and accompanying link, which seemed to place a greater (sole?) emphasis on the uh… “drug-dealers”. (HIS WORDS in the local news interview.)

    Anyway, even if this guy is only harassing the homeless (which is QUITE CLEARLY not the case if we are to take this guy at his own word) there is a fundamental cruelty at play here that is really kind of disturbing/depressing and which is potentially a precedent for other kinds of DIY “law-enforcement” procedures that in the worst cases end up with some really tragic consequences. (See Howard Beach circa 1986 or the rash of bum-burnings in recent years.) I’m not making this shit up. Type “set fire to homeless” in google and see what comes up.

  8. Patrick Dodds says:

    Isn’t the point, RJ (and I’m sorry for replying to your post – I know I should let it rot but I can’t help it, you won in the sense that your heartlessness got to me), that The Homeless are not, in fact, The Homeless, but homeless, and as such are made up of all sorts of people, some sometimes “good”, some sometimes “bad”, most some of each? Turning a hose on them isn’t the response of a fair-minded society (I know, I know, you’re not in the least interested in farimindedness, and therein lies the problem with my argument, but I thought I’d make the point anyway).

  9. Takuan says:

    Dear Geno

    That would be that crazy kidder, Dollarhyde, not Uncle Hannie. Who is better in some ways since haven’t we all wanted to glue a tabloid journalist to a wheelchair and set him on fire? And now that I think about it, didn’t Lecter eat some census taker as well as some Jehovah’s Witnesses for disturbing his privacy? Hannibal’s schtick was only eating “free-range rude” – I love that man!

    We have a lot in common in terms of rabid antisocial paranoia and exaggerated sense of the space we are entitled to. I too want to have a gated compound and acres of gently sloping,manicured lawns with clear fields of fire. Really. Regretfully, I have come to the accomodation one must reach when not winning the lottery and also living in developed society. I don’t expect much from my neighbours. They seldom dissapoint me. However,we refrain from shooting each other on respective holy days and will probably call the fire department for each other seven times out if ten. Not bad.

    All I suggest to you is you need a longer fuse. Tolerate some stupidity graciously. It won’t be rewarded, but just in case – take the risk. I’m not saying jeopardize your physical health. There has to be some minimum standards. But you will live longer the less angry you are on average. It things are intolerable, get locally political. If all your other neighbours agree someone is a problem, then not only are you vindicated, you have help with the problem. Or if not vindicated, maybe help for yourself sometime?

  10. sonny p fontaine says:

    geno, you are not entitled to any more or less creature comfort then anyone else in the world. get over yourself…

  11. ernie says:

    The best line: Its made from an old smoker (duh) so “It smells like chicken but it’ll still git ya!”

  12. buttseks says:

    Homeless people suck and so do you!

  13. Jardine says:

    If this was actually about drug dealers, he should have it whistle Farmer in the Dell.

  14. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    Noen, I’m not remotely trolling. On the subject of my privacy and personal space, believe me, I’ve made only the mildest of statements.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Remarkable Hail.

    I’m assuming that if you walk down the street and throw a cup of water at a presumed “vagrant”, you could be arrested (possibly for assault?). Is it not the same case with this individual sending out his bot to spray “vagrants” from afar? However, it does seem he was quite fortunate in his choice of target, as to produce a charge the victim would need to file a complaint, which a “vagrant” might not know to, or simply wouldn’t, do.

  16. Dizbuster says:

    #16 Have you ever lived in a place where you have to step over people who aggressively panhandle you the second you open your door? Who take dumps on your doorstep? I’m all for compassion in theory, but goddamn, it infuriated me dealing with that stuff every day, living in SOMA, SF. Try it sometime and see how you feel about it.

  17. jetsetsc says:

    #70 – Indeed. And if it is really about the homeless, then just drop them off at a shelter in Virginia with a fake ID card…

  18. dragonfrog says:

    #80 I feel certain that if I declared myself a crusader against public intoxication, and stood outside this guy’s bar spraying people who looked drunk, he wouldn’t hesitate to call the police and complain.

    That is a fantastic idea!

    The main problem I see with this is that well-to-do drunks tend to stand up for themselves (even in the absence of provocation) much more, and more aggressively, than do homeless people. Homeless people have discovered that in any dispute, they are automatically in the wrong. Drunks consider themselves to be automatically in the right.

    On another point – I have a suspicion the people talking about how awful it is to live near homeless people. My suspicion is that they’re afraid that they can see themselves in that situation, and that’s what scares them. They’re not afraid of being robbed of whatever little bit of money they have, they’re afraid of catching homelessness.

    For the record – I have never been homeless myself, but I live in a city with a bad homelessness problem, in an area with more than its share of that problem. Street prostitutes work in our area, and I’m pretty sure someone was selling drugs on my street corner on Saturday night.

  19. bshock says:

    What a great idea. How do we donate money to this guy? He needs an entire fleet of robots.

  20. Antinous says:

    they’re afraid of catching homelessness

    What does that remind me of? Hmm. Homelessophobia.

  21. Takuan says:

    ooh wait, I’m channeling Geno……..
    I am the Dragon. And you call me insane. You are privy to a great becoming, but you recognize nothing. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly. Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe……….

  22. Frank_in_Virginia says:

    “Excuse me, I have to go. Somewhere there is a crime happening.”

  23. Evil Jim says:

    It looks great but like others, my first thought is to wonder how easy it would be to tip over.

  24. Narual says:

    #27 — what *would* you do with your mechanical henchmen, then?

  25. Brainspore says:

    Not sure how effective this is but I admire the ingenuity behind it.

    Does something really count as “ingenious” if it’s ineffective?

  26. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    Elysianartist, I know these con-men who masquerade as hard-luck cases; I’m forced to deal with them every day. Calling them “homeless”, as if they’ve just fallen on hard times, is a lie.

    Sure, one in a hundred, give or take, have genuine neurochemical issues. The remainder are more-or-less evenly divided between addicts who can’t get into a shelter because they won’t quit drugs, and responsibility-free bullshit artists who like easy money and gaming the system.

    And, FYI, I vote Democrat across the board.

  27. Brainspore says:

    somebody should build their own robot and (unannounced to the bar owner) challenge him to an impromptu match of Robot Wars!

    Now that could be a fun idea. I’m thinking someone could build a remote-controlled version of one of those vending machines they have at medical marijuana dispensaries, just to put the drug dealers back on equal footing.

  28. Takuan says:

    62 above is understandable. In the camps, the best guards were capos.

  29. mortis says:

    Anybody else bothered by the idea of a mechanical centurion that turns a water hose on the homeless?

    yes, without soap it it is pointless.

  30. Brainspore says:

    #21: I work in SF and also deal with the homeless every day. But if I was cold-hearted enough to turn a hose on them I would do it myself, not send my mechanical henchman after them.

  31. ill lich says:

    I’m sorry Geno, I really don’t want to continue this argument, and I understand your complaints, BUT I just re-read your posts, and everything about them seems far more selfish than what your opponents propose. You seem to have a very prudish double standard at work here– I am not allowed to play my acoustic guitar on my porch EVER? My acoustic is a very quiet instrument, it isn’t an electric guitar, nor a trumpet nor drums, it is quieter than most of the cars that drive down my block. So it isn’t a vital necessity (as a musician I would disagree), so what? It makes my life so much more bearable, and only seemed to annoy one person in my neighborhood (while a few others enjoyed it); allowing me to continue to play it on my porch on a warm summer night seems to be a reasonably utilitarian solution. I could argue that church is not a necessity– should I petition the local Eastern Orthodox church from having midnight mass on Easter (if you don’t know, they parade outside around the church singing at midnight with candles).

  32. NidSquid says:

    Awesome! I wish I had one of these for our local park! Homeless people hang out there all night long (especially when the weather is warm) and use the badly-lit areas as their own personal bathrooms.

    Screw you, you bums. There are so many shelters around the city. Go to one and stop shitting in the park!

  33. mujadaddy says:

    “”But if I was cold-hearted enough to turn a hose on them I would do it myself, not send my mechanical henchman after them.””

    The Evil Genius personality is characterized by a superiority over others. This is generally why they aren’t heroes, and aren’t perceived to be so.

    Don’t get me wrong — this guy has a lot more work to do before he crosses into Successful Evil Genius territory…

  34. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Geno Z. is not a troll.

  35. NidSquid says:

    @#26:

    You made me guffaw!

  36. oschene says:

    A bar owner doesn’t like drug dealers.

    What a complicated emotion that must be.

  37. assumetehposition says:

    Uh… I believe it said “drug dealers, vagrants and others who shouldn’t be there”. Nothing about homeless. Let’s try to stay on track here.

  38. Takuan says:

    Who sez he is? I’m comparing him to an antisocial psychopath that butchers entire families, but I am not descending to insult here.

  39. darlin_nikki says:

    London should use this robot on photographers!!

  40. Takuan says:

    you’re not offended are you, Geno?

  41. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    AssumeThePosition: “Uh… I believe it said ‘drug dealers, vagrants and others who shouldn’t be there’. Nothing about homeless.”

    Brainspore brought that up, in comment #2, but I could also make the case that “homeless” are a varietal of vagrants.

    ————-
    Rageahol: “so you’re a clinical psychiatrist, then, and can make that sort of diagnosis?”

    No and yes, in that order. I don’t need professional training to know that someone who’s talking to voices in his head or walking around yelling and aiming an imaginary machine gun at people has something wrong with his brain.

    Rageahol: “#21: if you dont like it, move out to the suburbs, heartless yuppie scum.”

    You’re telling Dizbuster to move to the suburbs to avoid being accosted and having shit on his doorstep? Are you seriously saying he’s not entitled to be free of shit and panhandlers if he lives in the city?

    ————-
    Remarkable Hail:“There but for the grace of god go you.”

    No, there plus 40 ounces go we. Lots of people in this thread are saying “have compassion”. I’m not going to have compassion for anyone who has no job and no home but still won’t stop drinking! I’ve got issues like anyone, but if I was sleeping on the street because I was a drunk, my first priority would be to stop drinking! Why are so many people here acting like that is not the completely obvious first step?

    ————-
    Ill Lich: “… because you played your stereo too loud or didn’t curb your dog or your backyard BBQ made too much smoke…”

    Okay, are you really defending stereos that are too loud, dog shit, and barbecues that put out too much smoke? I’m having trouble believing what I’m reading. If I can hear your stereo, you are the bad guy. If your dog shits on my lawn, you are the bad guy. If your barbecue smoke comes onto my property, you are the bad guy. How can you possibly think you can do anything you want, even when it affects someone else’s life?

  42. rageahol says:

    wow, there are some seriously heartless dickheads in here.

    the only reason i’m not still homeless is because of luck. i was lucky to be the recipient of genuine compassion from others, and i was lucky enough to have enough wits to eventually get a degree.

    a LOT of people dont have that kind of luck.

    #31: in-fuckin-deed.

    mr heinlen: so you’re a clinical psychiatrist, then, and can make that sort of diagnosis?

    #21: if you dont like it, move out to the suburbs, heartless yuppie scum.

  43. Takuan says:

    Well Geno, show upon my doorstep bleeding and then will you be the bad guy? Leaking all over like that?

  44. noen says:

    @ #21 posted by Dizbuster
    I’m all for compassion in theory, but goddamn, it infuriated me dealing with that stuff every day, living in SOMA, SF.

    Well that’s the problem isn’t it? You appear to be only in favor of compassion in theory. Try actually practicing it for a change.

    To begin with, drug dealers, gangbangers and such are not homeless.

    Secondly, you will be joining the ranks of the poor soon enough. We’ve made made a deliberate choice in this country to have a society composed of the very wealthy and the very poor. The middle class is being destroyed.

    Third, despite the cool geeky factor this is a poor way to solve this no doubt very real problem. Neighborhood patrols work very well but they are no panacea. A real solution would involve fixing those things that lead to the problem in the first place. We need jobs that pay a living wage, universal healthcare, meaningful education and most of all we need to put an end to the war economy that has dominated the US for over 50 years.

  45. Antinous says:

    As an estate holder, you’re entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your estate, as are all estate holders. However, your ‘quiet’ does not necessarily hold greater weight than your neighbors’ ‘enjoyment’. So the answer is no to your three questions.

  46. arkizzle says:

    #26

    “” without soap it it is pointless “”

    ..and with soup its a shelter :)

  47. Brainspore says:

    Uh… I believe it said “drug dealers, vagrants and others who shouldn’t be there”. Nothing about homeless. Let’s try to stay on track here.

    From Wikipedia:

    “A vagrant is a person, usually poor, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular work. Urban vagrants are commonly called ‘street people’.”

    If I recall correctly this was the basis for John Rambo’s arrest in “First Blood.”

  48. LightningCrash says:

    @62:

    Regarding the likelihood of a person being able to push over the robot-
    Not to imply that you are physically weak or anything, but even when I was very out of shape, I could deadlift 250lbs 10-20 times pretty easily. A top-heavy 300lb robot would seem like an easy target.

  49. TarlSS says:

    No Antagonizer vs The Mechanist jokes?
    Posh.

  50. Shane says:

    lol, some of you are taking this way too seriously. I found it pretty amusing.

  51. noen says:

    If you say so Teresa. Perhaps I am jaded. I’m tired of games.

  52. spazzm says:

    1. It’s not a robot, it’s a remote controlled car with a water gun and a speaker. A waldo.

    2. A bar owner is upset that someone is selling unhealthy, addictive intoxicants? Cue the hypocrisy award.

    3. How is this different from the Japanese volunteers that chase away loiterers?
    I’m pretty sure that if you interviewed them, they’d claim that the people they were expelling were “drug dealers and bums”, too.

  53. kuanes says:

    @#35 Noen
    Secondly, you will be joining the ranks of the poor soon enough. We’ve made made a deliberate choice in this country to have a society composed of the very wealthy and the very poor. The middle class is being destroyed.

    i’m glad that YOU’VE sorted out Dizbuster’s personal finances without actually knowing him.

    don’t fire away at generalizations and broad inscrutable statements with generalizations and broad inscrutable statements of your own. it’s unbecoming…

  54. dainel says:

    Are there no geeks here? Get rid of the water cannon. Add a wireless camera and small compartments with doors. I could send this thing out to do my shopping for me while I grow fat on my couch. :-)

  55. millman says:

    dizbuster: this might not apply to you, but I giggle at people that drop $1M+ in neighborhoods like SOMA and then are shocked, SHOCKED that the homeless people don’t magically disappear when they move in.

  56. Takuan says:

    A good jumping off point for a discussion about the homeless (and you, the soon to be homeless).

    The whole assaulting people with a water cannon is nonsense anyway. Homeless or not, the law is obligated to protect you from assault (criminal or not for that matter). I suppose the police look the other way but as soon as a test case is raised, the spraying will cease.

    I agree with you Noen. I think many here would benefit from reading Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. As for the drug addicted having a “choice”, let us just say some choices are easier than others.

  57. Takuan says:

    that’s two days in a row, get some sleep

  58. Takuan says:

    Upon further reflection;

    “I have watched a quiet neighborhood where a loud conversation was an unusual, easily-ignored event become a 24-hour barrage of screaming children, car stereos, slamming doors and shouted conversations. This has happened in only 25 years.”

    Yeah, me too.

  59. JJR1971 says:

    I’m surprised some drug dealer hasn’t blasted it with a handgun or sawed-off shotgun by now…did he make it bullet-proof?

  60. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    “for some people ANY amount of BBQ smoke, music, or dog-doo is too much.”

    That’s exactly right. You keep to yourself. You are not entitled to impose your presence on others.

    “I’ve had neighbors complain as soon as we lit the grill, or because we were playing acoustic guitar on the porch at 8pm”

    You can’t control smoke from a grill. It goes into other people’s houses and apartments. I have asthma, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t want to smell your fumes.

    And you should never be playing guitar on your porch. You have no idea what other people’s schedules are. I need to be up before the markets open. Am I supposed to sleep on your schedule? What if I was a worker on graveyard shift? You’re just selfish and inconsiderate if you’re making noise where other people have to put up with it.

    “and even had downstairs apartment neighbors complain about us using the bathroom in the middle of the night, and try to get the landlord to evict us.”

    That’s clearly inappropriate. You have to use a toilet; it’s an unavoidable necessity of life.

    “No– I’m not fond of dog-poop, loud music, or excessive smoke, but in the city we all have to accept some of that.”

    Why? The law says I don’t have to accept it. Apartment and condominium contracts say I don’t have to accept it. Why are you saying that I do have to accept it?

    “I live near a fire-house– should I complain to the city every time there’s a fire and I hear loud sirens going by my house?”

    Like a toilet, fire fighting is a necessary thing.

    You said “If I can hear your stereo, you are the bad guy.” Oh please.

    I’m not sure I understand your sophisticated argument here. Are you saying I am not entitled to peace and quiet in my own home?

    And if I can smell your farts does that make you the bad guy? “Officer– this guy keeps cutting the cheese– arrest him!”

    Aren’t you the guy who just made the pro-toilet argument? Farting is another biological necessity.

    I think you have not thought your way through the consequences of your actions on others. You don’t have any right to any part of my life. You can’t have one second of my time: not for your barbecue smoke, not for your guitar sounds, not for your dog’s crap, and not for anything. What presumption of yours even remotely justifies the idea that you are allowed to impose yourself on me?

  61. adammetal says:

    3 things:
    1 Getting in a fight with a robot would make my day, and I’m not even a bored bum.
    2 Kids should not have to step over bums that spent the night in front of their daycare center.
    3 My taxes should pay the police to shoo bums off the corner and into programs that would exist if everything weren’t so republican.

  62. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Remarkable Hail (82) , please do more frequent paragraph breaks. That comment reads like wallpaper.

    Buttseks (97), ungood. Too transparent. Encourages genuinely dimwitted comments that then have to be removed, which works against the achievement of the 200-comment thread.

  63. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    I gotta wonder what kind of guy observes undesirable people hanging around and thinks “If only I had a robot with a hose or something…”

  64. whoknew says:

    So the guy is a genius of either super hero or villain category? How about crazy!?!?

    Even vagrants and ne’er-do-wells should be able to figure this scheme out pretty quick, and they’ll be after him pretty quick — and he has no armor plating. Plain stupid, if you ask me, and as it can’t possibly have any lasting effect, hardly worth the effort.

    Plus, its true, he is assaulting AND battering his victims, and he could be prosecuted.

    For all these reasons, I’m betting this article effectively puts an end to the operation.

  65. Battlehobo4000 says:

    He was messing with drugdealers. You wanna see how many homeless are dealers as opposed to drug USERS? 1:1,000,000
    If they’re making dealer money, they probably aren’t homeless.

  66. remarkable hail says:

    while it is entirely possible that the people being targeted as “drug dealers” by this guy are in fact drug dealers, too often that term is used as a lazy short-hand for people of color hanging around on the street. it is not this guy’s right or role to decide who is and who is not a drug dealer. as for all the postings whining about the inconvenience of having to step over pan-handlers, all i have to say is, “there but for the grace of god go you.” try having some compassion. it’s inconvenient, i know, but give it a shot.

  67. tjvm says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with this, if it weren’t for the water gun. If you’re in a public place, you’re susceptible to being videotaped, whether it’s by a “robot,” or a person, or a security camera. But I don’t see what right this guy has to spray people in a public place with water just because he thinks they don’t belong there.

    I feel certain that if I declared myself a crusader against public intoxication, and stood outside this guy’s bar spraying people who looked drunk, he wouldn’t hesitate to call the police and complain.

  68. Crunchbird says:

    How about the presumption that we live in a society that requires us to have contact with other people from time to time?

    I understand the basic point you’re trying to make here, but you’re stating it in such a ridiculously exaggerated fashion that you’re completely undermining it. If you want to live in a hermetically sealed bubble completely free of any outside distraction or potential annoyance, go ahead and jump in one and seal it behind you. Expecting people to never impinge on your existence except in situations that you identify as absolute biological necessity makes you more of a misanthrope and less of a defender of privacy.

  69. colonel gentleman says:

    ‘Anyway, I posted earlier about the mere possibility of the guy not necessarily having the greatest judgment about who is and who isn’t a drug-dealer which led to a response that I was, you know, “playing that old race card!” “Surprised it didn’t happen sooner!”‘

    That’s not what you said at all.

    ‘too often that term is used as a lazy short-hand for people of color hanging around on the street.’

    Sounds like you are playing “spot the racist”.

    Maybe you can clear it up with a couple hundred words jammed together in one giant paragraph.

  70. colonel gentleman says:

    I’m surprised the “actually this guy is a racist” post took so long to get here. Usually that comes before the “crumbling middle class” and “you’re all going to lose your homes” start streaming in.

  71. Takuan says:

    I think that was the idea.While I approve of punishing the target, I also didn’t read the whole post because it hurt my eyes.

  72. whoknew says:

    Of course if all the thing did was surveillance, noise, lights, and no water or other touching, I’d be all for it! Especially if he could control it from inside his bar.

  73. Brainspore says:

    He was messing with drugdealers. You wanna see how many homeless are dealers as opposed to drug USERS? 1:1,000,000
    If they’re making dealer money, they probably aren’t homeless.

    By this account he was messing with both, or the term “vagrants” wouldn’t have been included. That wasn’t the focus of the story but it’s what is known in journalism as a “buried lede” (I didn’t make up that spelling).

    Kind of like governments justify new law enforcement powers as “anti-terrorism” even if they usually use them for other purposes.

  74. jetsetsc says:

    Cool. I look forward to the home-cooked DIY predator w/hellfire drone to take care of white collar crime. Take that hedge fund managers.

  75. noen says:

    I liked #54 posted by zikzak the best. He/she directly addresses the real problem instead of demonizing the homeless. The bar owner’s solution will never work because it is reactionary. Here is a list of problems that we need to address if we truly wish for a better world.

    1. we have the highest rate of incarceration in the Western industrialized world
    2. we have the highest rate of execution in the Western industrialized world
    3. we have the highest rate of murder in the Western industrialized world
    4. we have perhaps the greatest economic disparity in the Western industrialized world
    5. we have the lowest rate of medical insurance in the Western industrialized world

    Solving or not solving these represents a choice that we as a society have made. We are where we are today because of choices that we have made. If the homeless are shitting on your property you really have no one to blame but yourself because you (3rd person you) made any other alternative impossible.

    If you want a different outcome start making different choices or else stfu.

  76. Village Idiot says:

    Every strategy has its culminating point of success, after which it fails if continued.

    The running away will stop at some point, and shortly after that this robot will not be coming home. That, or one of the sprayed people will hop on and ride it back to base to no doubt thank the operator for enlightening him about his poor life decisions because who knows? Being sprayed in that context might induce an epiphany, sort of like being whacked with a stick by a zen master. Or not.

    I think it’d be funnier and probably less legally ambiguous to have the bot release a cloud of methyl mercaptan when it got close to the crowd. Spraying someone with a liquid (even water) on a public street is a no-no, but a FartBot releasing a giant stink cloud has to be legal, doesn’t it? I mean, we all do that sometimes, seems our robots can too.

  77. Andrew B. says:

    in the USSR robots shoot you!….

    oh wait..thats already happening.

    [sorry just came from /. ]

  78. Aaronichi says:

    Dalek Ron Jeramy
    oh what a world

  79. Patrick Dodds says:

    Geno – you could always try Switzerland, I hear they live by your rules there.

  80. Bobdotcom says:

    @45: Now all we need is a Hitler or Nazi reference, and Godwin’s Law will have once again been proven.

    Oh, wait…

  81. noen says:

    @ #39 posted by kuanes
    i’m glad that YOU’VE sorted out Dizbuster’s personal finances without actually knowing him.

    You are right kuanes, I have no way to know that. I’ll try to do better in the future. So I apologize to Dizbuster.

    Having been homeless it is sometimes hard for me to not get too upset when I see callous remarks.

    As far as there being a good likely hood of many people (in the millions) joining the ranks of the poor? Yeah, I think that’s real.

  82. Dizbuster says:

    Millman: I agree it’s funny that folks pay so much for property in a crappy area. Funnier still they’ll pay that much for a sterile condo ANYWHERE.

    Rageahol: I didn’t say we should kill the homeless, for god’s sake, just that it’s easy to get pissed about the side-effects of massive homelessness. I tried to illustrate why someone would get frustrated with loiterers and such. Ease up on the rageahol, rageaholic.

  83. zikzak says:

    Homeless shelters and very often intolerable places to stay. Common experiences in your average homeless shelter include:

    - Having your belongings stolen by other homeless people or confiscated by staff
    - Being kept up all night by noise or activity
    - Getting sick from being in cramped quarters with sick people
    - Being ordered around by grumpy, power-tripping staff
    - Having to get in by 7 or 8pm
    - Being locked in until morning every day
    - Being separated from your wife or children

    Believe it or not, homeless people don’t sleep in parks or on the street just to piss you off, they do it because it’s the best option available to them. Maybe that reflects badly on them, but it reflects worse on a society that allows a park bench to be the best option a homeless person has.

    There’s a new strategy emerging among people who actually want to eliminate homelessness, as opposed to just moralize about handouts versus bootstraps.

    Give them housing. The first thing a social worker or shelter does when they find a homeless person is set them up with an efficiency apartment or comparable housing arrangement. No strings attached, no sermons to sit through, no programs to participate in or bureaucracy to handle, just a room of their own.

    The results are pretty striking, who’d have thought that simply by giving someone the decency of a home, they’re far more likely to be able to deal with the other problems in their life, be they mental illness, drug addiction, disability, or simply being broke and alone in the world?

    Homeless people consume a disproportionate amount of resources in most cities – not because they’re greedy free-riders, but because their situation requires it. And making these people not homeless anymore is usually worth more than the expense of housing them in money saved on services.

    For example, a disabled homeless person occupies a large amount of ambulance and hospital time, because living on the streets often gets them hurt or sick, and the only help available to them is calling an ambulance. Giving them housing turns out to be a net gain for the city.

  84. Moon says:

    Are you allowed to hose down people on private property? How about if it’s YOUR private property? How about if you have permission from the owner of the private property to hose down people on his property?

    If it was on public property, I think this is vigilante action, and probably illegal. I don’t know about the above scenarios, though. Anybody?

  85. Takuan says:

    assault is assault. And don’t set any lethal booby traps for burglars.

  86. ankh says:

    > standing on a nearby corner

    Oh, good reporting sir. And when the drug dealers see this thing in action tonight, will they shoot the guy standing on the nearby corner? And if that doesn’t stop the robot, shoot the guy standing on the next nearest corner? Oh, _good_ reporting.

    Idiots.

  87. dougp says:

    The bums will always lose!

  88. remarkable hail says:

    Yeah. I don’t know. I watched the thing a second time. He actually makes no mention of vagrants, only “drug dealers”. Anyway, I posted earlier about the mere possibility of the guy not necessarily having the greatest judgment about who is and who isn’t a drug-dealer which led to a response that I was, you know, “playing that old race card!” “Surprised it didn’t happen sooner!” Yeah. I’m kind of surprised too. It seems like common sense to me that a white property/business owner in the South should be held to the same degree of speculation as to his intentions and/or judgment as the supposed “drug-dealers” he so heroically squirts with his little homemade police toy. I mean, yeah, I know. Racism does not exist. Sometimes I forget because of all the police shootings of brown people here in New York and back in Los Angeles (where I’m from). If some middle-class white guy says some dark person hanging out with his friends is a drug dealer well, gosh they probably are, right? Now, granted, this is speculation. Maybe these supposed drug-dealers (and/or vagrants) were all white guys in loafers wielding baby bjorns and lap-top bags whom our beloved tinkerer just happened to catch in the act of discreetly slipping vials of crack cocaine to one of their designer eyewear-clad banana-republican “homies” real cool-like. yeah. mmmmaybe…. I kind of don’t think that’s what went down. And to the supposedly ex-homeless guy who believes that all homeless people are scum, all I can say is: a)I’m not white and I don’t live in the suburbs unless Bed-Stuy is considered a suburb b)I’ve lived in some very homeless-heavy cities for many years including San Francisco, where, yes, a guy took a shit on my porch, and yes, it was gross and it pissed me off, but whatever. I’m glad you finally got a job and you’re not homeless anymore, and maybe, as you imply, you were homeless because you were a real asshole and deserved it or something. Is that your point? If it is, I don’t think it’s necessarily fair or accurate to impose the fact of your being a reformed lazy, manipulative asshole on the whole of the homeless population. People are in bad situations for a whole host of reasons, some of which are due to bad decisions and weakness of character, and some of which are far more complicated.

  89. Brainspore says:

    Anybody else bothered by the idea of a mechanical centurion that turns a water hose on the homeless?

  90. mrfitz says:

    If I were one of those people hanging-out there, I’d be plotting on various ways to destroy this infernal machine.

  91. remarkable hail says:

    Hmm. I think I was pretty clear with or without paragraph breaks. And guess what… I’m going to do it all again. NO Paragraph breaks(!) Don’t get confused now. Keep it together! Do you know where you are? Don’t… get… frightened(!) Anyway, Colonel Mustard, if I were playing your fun game of spot-the-whatever I might like to know the rules. You seem to like rules. Am I right? Well am I? Yes, something tells me I am. Here, wait do you need a break? Rest your eyes for a second. Okay, are you good? Well, Colonel Sanders let me just say that I’m not sure if I know what the rules are for this fun game you’ve invented, but if this game involves a little bit of common sense and a whole lot of not-having-your-head-up-your-you-know-where, well count me in. Yes. Spot the racist sounds like good fun! I am ALL OVER IT. By the way, I think I worded my little screed pretty carefully to avoid throwing around terms like “racist” because, well, they’re just not very helpful. In case you missed the entire point of my post while you were consulting your mls guide (do you know what that is? I am guessing from your extensive knowledge of such high syntactical concepts as “paragraphs” that you did indeed graduate from high school) the idea was to give some nuance to the possibilities we allow ourselves to imagine for people beyond our immediate preconceptions. For example, I don’t think I’m particularly predisposed to assuming white people are racist. I happen to be married to one (a white person–not a racist–i think). I guess the manufacture of an entire machine in one’s basement for the purpose of confronting those scary people out there (drug-dealers? vagrants? have we decided who they are yet?) from the safety of one’s well-stocked saloon just sends out a few red flags. Hey. Maybe it’s just me. At any rate, the guy has every right to be a racist if he in fact is one, just like I have a right not to be such a great, great fan of racists. The difference, of course is that a) I never actually referred to anyone as a racist and b) I’m not harassing anyone besides you and the other surprisingly touchy conservatives on this message board. That is speech, and it is more or less protected. Sending an intentionally menacing-looking miniature tank out to fire what I think I heard referred to as “water cannons” at god-knows-who seems like a slightly dicier constitutional proposition. But hey, I’m no con-law scholar, I’m just some non-indenter who likes a good game of “spot the racist”! Thanks for the laugh.

  92. remarkable hail says:

    oops. looks like a typo. should read mlA guide. Not mlS! tsk tsk! bad fingers. bad! Please forgive me, Colonel Potter.

  93. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    This doesn’t pass the sniff test. Real criminals would have turned that clanking hulk into a smoking pile of rubble the second time it turned up. A cup of gasoline and a match. I’m impressed at the effort this guy has put into the invention, which he is no doubt very proud of, but I think he’s probably giving himself too much credit for ridding his neighborhood of dangerous people.

  94. Takuan says:

    If I were one of those people,sooner or later I’d get around to burning down a certain pub

  95. arkizzle says:

    #82

    Yeah. I don’t know. I watched the thing a second time. He actually makes no mention of vagrants, only “drug dealers”.

    ..Its called the BUM BOT on the guy’s web site.

    oterrills.com

  96. yannish says:

    It should have interchangable arms.

    A flamethrower for the drug dealers.

    and a food dispenser for those down on their luck.

    and Keep the water cannon fer those damn punk kids!

  97. codeman38 says:

    I know I can’t be the only one whose first thought was that the robot looks awfully Dalek-esque…

  98. Fran Six says:

    What I really want is an AI Dalek what does the tidying up.

  99. Rick. says:

    It only takes one dude to walk up calmly to one side of that thing and push it over.

  100. Neon Tooth says:

    Cease narcotic dealings or IIIIII will EX-TER-MIN-ATE!

  101. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    Takuan, I’m offended by the fact that I have not yet achieved sufficient force of personality to be compared to Dr. Lecter. Let me level a bit and we’ll try again.

    I’m also offended that you’re smarting off here, but won’t participate in this discussion by answering the questions. You believe I’m not entitled to those things? Then step up to the plate and say so, so we can give you the Scarlet F-for-Fascist. I’m looking at you too, Ill Lich, Rageahol, Patrick Dodds. Cowboy up and answer the questions.

    (1) Am I or am I not entitled to clean, untainted air in my own home?

    (2) Am I or am I not entitled to peace and quiet in my own home?

    (3) Am I or am I not entitled to sleep on my own schedule in my own home?

    I don’t know that I really want to invoke Reverend Niemoller for rude, selfish, inconsiderate neighbors and street trash, but there are a lot of people posting here who are not considering the long-term implications of their statements. I have watched a quiet neighborhood where a loud conversation was an unusual, easily-ignored event become a 24-hour barrage of screaming children, car stereos, slamming doors and shouted conversations. This has happened in only 25 years.

    How long until the disturbances escalate to something that bothers you? Here’s another question with the same answer: How long until I say, “I tried to warn you”, and laugh maniacally?

  102. Jake0748 says:

    @5 RICK – Sort of like cow tipping?

  103. Anselm says:

    Dude, that’s awesome! Makers, vigilante justice, daleks and water guns all in one!

  104. Crunchbird says:

    Okay, Geno, I’ll try to answer your three questions, at least as directly as I can.

    (1) Who gets to define “clean, untainted air”? If you live in an apartment building with shared ventilation, or thin walls, I would say you have the right to complain about neighbors who smoke in their apartments, or illegally use grills on their balconies. I know it makes me a little nuts when my downstairs neighbor has an overnight guest who smokes in the house, because my whole apartment starts to smell of it immediately. You’ve also got some pretty considerable studies on second-hand smoke to back up your position. However, I don’t think it’s the same situation if you live in a suburban neighborhood, and your neighbor lights a grill in his backyard and the smell of it drifts in through your window. If you’re really that sensitive to certain smells, you probably need to invest in some serious air filtration systems or yes, move even further out into the country.

    2) No, not unless you can afford to completely soundproof it. Obviously your neighbors shouldn’t blast their stereos late at night, or have screaming fights right outside your window, but that’s about common courtesy, not some sort of imaginary “right to silence.” Ambient sound is a fact of life unless you’re living a sealed box, and it’s just not rational to expect that people will modify the way they close their car doors just to accommodate your level of noise tolerance. Consider investing in some high-quality noise-cancelling headphones.

    3) Of course you are. And the tools you use to achieve that schedule (special blinds, soundproofing equipment, headphones, white noise generators, eyeshades, etc) are entirely up to you. People obviously shouldn’t assume that just because it’s daylight, or relatively early in the evening, they can be loud and obnoxious without any restrictions. But you reacted as if one neighbor quietly strumming an acoustic guitar on his back porch was the exact equivalent of someone blasting their stereo out an open window 5 feet away from your wall, and it doesn’t strike me as sensible or fair to expect everyone to tiptoe around quietly at all times just because someone in the neighborhood could possibly be sleeping. If you can’t sleep through any amount of noise coming into the house from your neighborhood, you probably need to find a new neighborhood.

  105. arkizzle says:

    I’m so sorry gang.. looks like he’s one of mine.

    my national pride shudders :(

  106. Wingo says:

    This robot is no ED-209

    YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY.

  107. Battlehobo4000 says:

    I think this is pretty awesome.

  108. arkizzle says:

    and he’s calling it the “bum bot” for all those claiming this is about drug dealers..

  109. RJ says:

    Ww. Lks lk Bng Bng s ttrctng ll th dllrds frm Dgg nd Rddt.

    Yr knd cn b spttd mmdtly, bcs y mk chldsh cmmnts, ftn syng thngs drctly cntrry t th fcts prsntd n th rtcl. Ths btrys yr hbt f nvr rdng nythng lnkd.

    S hr’s lttl hlp. Th thng s 4′ tll (tht’s bt 1.2m) nd wghs 300 lbs (136kg). Thr s n cslly shvng th rbt vr, s th hgh schl kds hv sggstd. Fr cmprsn, try wlkng p t brck mlbx nd shvng t vr.

    Fnlly, scrw y lttl whtbrd sbrbnt twts nd yr cmpssn fr th hmlss, th pshrs nd ll f scty’s scm. Y dn’t vn knw wh t s y’r tryng t dfnd; y’r stndng p fr crctr, bcs y’r t shltrd t knw wht rl hmlss ppl, drg dlrs, hkrs nd s n r lk.

    Wht ths gy s dng wth th rbt snds prtty gd, t m. nythng t gt th dmnd lsrs t f th nghbrhd s gd thng. hp h vntlly rns vry slmbll t f thr wth tht glrfd sqrt gn h hs. Gd n hm.

    h, nd fr th rcrd, y dts, sd t b hmlss. t ddn’t tk ny lck nd t ddn’t tk ny cmpssn frm thrs fr m t pt my lf tgthr. t tk m fndng jb, jst lk nybdy ls.

  110. ill lich says:

    thoughts:

    1. He could try substituting urine or fruit punch for water in the cannon, then the “drug dealers” (if that’s what they really are, we only have his word on that) won’t even try to get close and f@ck with it.

    2. what does this spell for society– should we really be welcoming a world where machines tell us what we can and cannot do? (OK– I know it’s just a guy using a machine as a proxy, but it still sets the ball rolling).

    3. Using the robot makes him anonymous; appearing on TV/internet has removed his anonymity. Dumb.

    4. The benefit of vigilantism is in the eye of the beholder. Although I like the creativity of the project, if I were walking down the street and wrongly suspected of being a drug dealer, and harassed because of the misunderstanding, I would be justifiably angry and litigious. The fact that he hasn’t been sued yet either means they indeed ARE drug dealers, OR it means they just don’t know their rights and don’t want the hassle. Say what you want about the homeless and drug dealers, but this guy has made himself judge-judy-and-executioner (although the execution is just water). You might applaud him for shooing away unpleasant elements of the neighborhood, but if he were calling the police because you played your stereo too loud or didn’t curb your dog or your backyard BBQ made too much smoke, then how would you feel? Neighborhood vigilantes I’ve known are often just busybodies enforcing some mysterious neighborhood “code” like having the correct color shingles or pestering you to mow the lawn.

  111. PukeBazooka says:

    I was amazed at how much easier local news videos are to stomach without the presence of a “reporter.”

    Also, that robot is awesome.

  112. noen says:

    Geno – grow up ok? The universe owes you nothing. You are entitled to absolutely nothing. You will have a life of your own the moment you stop demanding that someone else give you one and start creating a life worth living on your own. That’s how the world works hun. It’s very childish to expect everyone else to revolve their lives around you. Makes you sound like a two year old and I’m sure that’s what you want is it?

    This:

    I’m also offended that you’re smarting off here, but won’t participate in this discussion by answering the questions. and there are a lot of people posting here who are not considering the long-term implications of their statements.

    reminds me of this:

    Duty Calls

    I’m just sayin’.

  113. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    Crunchbird, Patrick Dodds: I am a misanthrope, the fact that you think it’s okay to disturb me in my own home is why I’m a misanthrope, and you and many others keep dodging the important questions.

    (1) Am I or am I not entitled to clean, untainted air in my own home?

    (2) Am I or am I not entitled to peace and quiet in my own home?

    (3) Am I or am I not entitled to sleep on my own schedule in my own home?

    Seriously, when do I get to have a life of my own? Do I have to have the presence of other people forced on me 24/7 for the rest of time? I like human contact once in a rare while, but don’t I get any choice in the matter?

  114. ill lich says:

    GENO:

    I understand your points, and don’t want to inflame this conversation any more, but I think you were perhaps over-reacting.

    Listen, I’m not necessarily defending dog-doo, loud music, smog, etc., all I was trying to do say was that vigilantism (like the volume of music, or the excessiveness of smoke) is in the eye of the beholder. WHAT is “too loud”? It depends on who you are. I had an upstairs neighbor who banged on the ceiling (his floor) at 8pm every night because we were watching TV at normal volume (he was a college student who had to get up early to practice with the crew team– was the entire neighborhood supposed to bend to his will? That just seems unreasonable). Sure, there have been times when my neighbors were playing music too loud and I myself complained, I thought they were being rude, and they in turn thought I was being a jerk or a prude for asking it to be turned down. In the end everybody was pissed off and nobody was happy with the outcome. So the real question is “WHAT is reasonable?” Everybody has a different opinion of that.

    Your “own home” is not an island if you live in a crowded city, or even a relatively populated suburb. You can certainly TRY to sleep on your own schedule, but you can’t reasonably ask the world to be absolutely quiet for eight hours any more than you can ask the sun to rise and set to your schedule. As Negativland said “Rock music blares, doors slam, people yell, children scream, sirens whine, trucks tumble and roar . . is there any escape from noise?” It pisses me off too sometimes, but if I can’t stop the sirens from wailing every few hours (or every 1/2 hour on summer weekends), then it’s pretty pointless for me to complain about a loud car stereo driving by. Sure, one is necessary, and one is just some guy being rude, but the end result is the same if I’m trying to sleep. *sigh* life goes on.

    With regards to the robot: part of me likes the idea, and part of me is leery of it because there is the possibility it will be abused and end harassing law-abiding citizens who are mistaken for drug-dealers. That is one of the problems with vigilantism– at some point the vigilante may become the de facto dictator of the neighborhood, and I am thinking of an old neighbor of mine who everybody on the block hated, who was always trying to enforce his own petty rules on everybody else (the rest of us got along fine with each other, so what gave him the right to be pushy?) If it was my neighborhood I would applaud the guy, UNTIL the robot squirted ME with water and told me to leave the area. At that point I would think he went too far, and he would probably disagree.

  115. colonel gentleman says:

    “Anybody else bothered by the idea of a mechanical centurion that turns a water hose on the homeless?”

    No.

  116. ill lich says:

    #90 GENO

    “Okay, are you really defending stereos that are too loud, dog shit, and barbecues that put out too much smoke? I’m having trouble believing what I’m reading. If I can hear your stereo, you are the bad guy. If your dog shits on my lawn, you are the bad guy. If your barbecue smoke comes onto my property, you are the bad guy. How can you possibly think you can do anything you want, even when it affects someone else’s life?”

    What I was referring to was the “eye of the beholder” idea– for some people ANY amount of BBQ smoke, music, or dog-doo is too much. I’ve had neighbors complain as soon as we lit the grill, or because we were playing acoustic guitar on the porch at 8pm, and even had downstairs apartment neighbors complain about us using the bathroom in the middle of the night, and try to get the landlord to evict us. No– I’m not fond of dog-poop, loud music, or excessive smoke, but in the city we all have to accept some of that. I live near a fire-house– should I complain to the city every time there’s a fire and I hear loud sirens going by my house? You said “If I can hear your stereo, you are the bad guy.” Oh please. And if I can smell your farts does that make you the bad guy? “Officer– this guy keeps cutting the cheese– arrest him!”

  117. Antinous says:

    I’m sympathetic. Really sympathetic. But misanthropy is a dish best enjoyed in the countryside.

  118. KipEsquire says:

    Does this mean I can send my robot into his bar to check IDs?

    I don’t know which is scarier: (a) that there are people who think that this is either legal or proper, or (b) that such people are allowed to vote.

  119. Elysianartist says:

    I am with Rick on this one…tip that biatch right the F over…then walk away laughing.

    Oh and don’t forget to video it for Youtube.

  120. Takuan says:

    actually no. In the countryside,people being scarce, they must rely upon each other for survival. I suggest an ice floe.

  121. noen says:

    #106 posted by Crunchbird
    I understand the basic point you’re trying to make here, but you’re stating it in such a ridiculously exaggerated fashion that you’re completely undermining it.

    Otherwise known as trolling.

    when do I get to have a life of my own?

    Only when you chose to have one.

  122. Improbus says:

    Robot meet blow torch. This robot is no ED-209.

  123. Antinous says:

    In the countryside, people being scarce, they must rely upon each other for survival.

    When you say ‘rely upon’, do you mean eat?

  124. Geno Z Heinlein says:

    “Anybody else bothered by the idea of a mechanical centurion that turns a water hose on the homeless?”

    No, and you misspelled “bums”.

  125. Number 4 says:

    Apparently it’s now okay to harass people on “private property” even if it’s not actually your private property.

    What a lame approval of vigilante justice.

  126. Takuan says:

    yup. But regretfully and with ketchup.

  127. darlin_nikki says:

    London should use this on its odd photographers.

  128. consideredopinion says:

    Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate! ;-)

  129. Elysianartist says:

    #14 and #11…..I didn’t know that republicans posted on BoingBoing!!

  130. Technical Writing Geek says:

    The most recent NCVS data (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003) indicate that men commit 79% of assaults and robberies. Arrest data show a nearly identical pattern, with men comprising 77% of those arrested for assault and robbery (FBI, 2003).

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_11-12_52/ai_n15395183

    They didn’t have data for bums.

Leave a Reply