The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aircraft system The MQ-1’s primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets. When the MQ-1 is not actively pursuing its primary mission, it acts as the Joint Forces Air Component Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the Joint Forces commander.
– Official Web Site of the United State Air Force
Here in Ontario we are in the deer hunting season. Last week I stopped at a site where hunters bring the deer they have shot to be dressed. In one cooling room I saw dozens of skinned and cleaned deer silently hanging and awaiting final processing. On the outside of the butcher shop I saw an old pick up truck, its back tires sagging from an overload of deer skins, bones, heads and whatever was left waiting to be hauled off to a dump site.
Today the primary predator for deer is the human species. We humans have replaced the wolf. When we got rid of the wolf who is now quietly making a come back with a little help from public policy, we didn’t anticipate the disturbed predator prey balance would reverberate throughout the whole ecological system. Everywhere I go I hear that there are too many deer. When they visit our bird feeder in our backyard, eat the bird seed without asking and eventually knock over the feeder I am tempted to join the deer hunters even though I have never shot a gun.
If a person or animal threatens me I can feel the energy of fight flight genes light up my veins. Life on this earth is built on predator behaviour but it can continue only if there is balance. In fact we depend upon it to get our food, both vegetables and animals. Occasionally someone comes along with a suggestion about breaking the destructive and out of balance part of the cycle like the notion of the “lion and the lamb lying down together” so familiar from the Bible.
The thought that the two species, one of whom normally feasts on the other, lying down together is about as crazy as hunters getting rid of their guns and making annual treks into the woods to pet deer. The suggestion would make the many hunters upset to say nothing of the evolution of defence mechanisms inside the deer. In the Bible the lamb ends up being the model for a new way of life and is understood as being one of the better metaphors for describing how divine love shows itself. The lamb is usually found along the side of some kind of predator. The last book of the Bible, Revelations turns lamb work into the purpose of all of history. No wonder people who don’t buy into lamb inspired living spend so much time reworking Revelations to become a frightening roadmap for end times.
Our predator ways are deeply rooted. Lions will not change their ways in a single generation. The prophetic writers of the Hebrew Bible used the metaphor of lions and lambs living or sleeping in close proximity, knowing that this could only happen if there was an infusion of divine wisdom present. Deer, lambs, or human beings – the point is that God likeness changes the relationship between the predator and the hunted.
A predator usually devours its prey. So I was surprised some years ago when I discovered that the US Department of Defence named a new aircraft, the MQ-1 Predator. The MQ-1Predator is one of several emerging aircraft that are part of a new species of airplanes called drones, meaning they fly without pilots, navigators or other trained staff aboard the aircraft. They are electronically and digitally controlled by pilot technicians on the ground. I can understand why there is an interest in developing such a machine. It allows the mission to be carried out without endangering the people who operate the craft. I assume that the goal in this case is destruction and killing without eating the hunted. The MQ- 1 definitely has a devouring effect on human communities and the environment.
The MQ-1 Predator and its cousin the MQ-9 Reaper, a larger craft with a much longer and higher flight potential is headquartered at Creech Air Force Base. The base is 45 miles from Las Vegas NV, adjacent to the Nevada Test Site where nuclear weapons are tested, and near the town of Indian Springs where native people once found their water in the midst of the desert.
In the present wars we usually hear about MQ-1 Predator aircraft attacking suspected Al Queda safe havens in the Northwest border area of Pakistan. The MQ-1 were pressed into more active service due to 9/11 and the destruction of the twin towers. In the world that we have constructed no country would allow itself to be preyed upon like that without answering. When 9/11 occurred there was in fact some cheering in the Middle East not only from radicals or predator organizers of the raid but by what today we would call Main Street people who had been fed up for years with what they felt was unbalanced treatment across the region by the US.
Our earth and all of us have survived because of the principle of balance and relatedness. Native hunters leave tobacco or another sacred offering of thanks when a deer gives its life so their family can be fed. The native hunter would never consider extinguishing a whole species. There is a balance or mutuality where each works out their place. In such a world a deer will still give its life to help sustain the whole.
The Bible stretches us to a similar notion when it speaks of lions and lambs living together. We live in a global garden where there is a productive relationship between all of us. With the help of science we try to gain an edge for our side with instruments like the MQ-1 Predator. The brief tactical advantage is rarely permanent. Killing, eating or eliminating all the prey doesn’t work. At best it buys more time to put the system even further out of balance. Something bigger will have to be fixed down the line. Our ancient sages and prophets knew this.
The MQ-1 Predator signals us that we are in an era when the execution of predatory activity will become more and more controlled by digital wonders and by a few people who know which buttons to press as long as they can get away with it before the rest of us learn the dangers and respond with organized prophetic activity. The digital wonders may prove faulty and the people at the buttons can make mistakes because of incomplete programming, human error or human performance that lacks honourable intent. Predators and the children of predators can not win the peace without the cooperation of the prey. That will not happen until the predators acknowledge their own vulnerability. They too can be prey. Only a return to balance and relationship will win the peace. There is a lot of transformation to do within me and inside all the systems political, economic and social . I will be working on both of them.
Note: For anyone travelling to the Las Vegas and wishing to visit Creech AFB where the brains for the MQ-1 Predator are located I would be glad to try to put you in touch with a local person who can help facilitate your inquiries with the commanders, or fasting in sack cloth and ashes at the gates to the base.
Photo: Predator crews train at Creech: An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle makes a low approach at Creech AFB, Nev., while another waits for takeoff clearance. The 11th Reconnaissance Squadron at Creech prepares pilots, sensor operators and other specialists for worldwide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions worldwide. The Predator can carry two Hellfire air-to-surface missiles in addition to various cameras and synthetic-aperture radar. (U.S. Air Force photo and explanation)
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