Rand Paul Endorses Using Drones to Kill Suspected Liquor Store Robbers

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Sen. Rand Paul did great work focusing America’s attention on drone killings last month during his filibuster. I was surprised to learn today that Sen. Paul endorses using drones to kill suspected liquor store robbers: “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash I don’t care if a Drone kills him or a policeman kills him…”

Lots of folks I know with concealed carry permits (or with concealed weapons regardless) have $50 on them when they leave the liquor store…

Sen. Paul also apparently would not object to using drones domestically in critical police actions: ““If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them.” Paul also said in the Salon article: “Here’s the distinction, I have never argued against any technology being used against having an imminent threat an act of crime going on…”

“Imminent threats” have a way of breeding like lemmings….

Rand Paul had been scheduled to be the star lead-off witness for the first-ever Senate hearing on drones and killing today. The ACLU had heavily promoted his appearance with a “Stand with Rand” motto. However, after the time for today’s hearing was shifted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sen. Paul announced that he had a schedule conflict and could not make the event.

UPDATE: Jordan Bloom of the American Conservative wrote a brief piece mentioning this blog entry and seeking to vindicate Rand Paul.  There’s lively sparring in the comment section; several folks are making excellent points. Check it out here.

UPDATE #2:  Senator Paul’s office issued a statement this evening: ” “My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed.

 “Let me be clear: it has not. Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat. I described that scenario previously during my Senate filibuster.  Additionally, surveillance drones should only be used with warrants and specific targets.”

My view: The phrase “ongoing, imminent threat” is still extremely vague.

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26 Responses to Rand Paul Endorses Using Drones to Kill Suspected Liquor Store Robbers

  1. john April 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    You’re about a month too late in regards to writing anti-Paul articles just to get your name higher up on the Google searches.

    Hopefully it will get you a gig at the NY Times.

    • Jim April 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      How would conservatives react if Eric Holder suggested using drones to smite suspected liquor store robbers?

      • john April 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

        How would Jim react if he realized that Rand Paul isn’t talking about suspected liquor store robbers but about criminals in the middle of a criminal act (ie, seeing a guy commit a crime) ?

        • Jim April 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

          Drones are not omniscient – another reason why they should not have the power to inflict extrajudicial capital punishment.

          I see on Facebook that Jack Hunter stated that Rand Paul “might have misspoke” on drones. If Sen. Paul issues a retraction or clarification, let me know and I will add that to my blog and other comments on this subject.

          • john April 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

            If a cop shoots someone committing a crime, is that illegal?

  2. Scott Lazarowitz April 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash I don’t care if a Drone kills him or a policeman kills him”

    Hmmm. I guess after that long filibuster, Rand then went on to think, “Hey wait a minute, not so fast on this due process thing…”

    And among other things, Rand said two years ago, regarding profiling at airports:

    “I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.”

    http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/603311/rand_paul,_supposed_defender_of_civil_liberties,_calls_for_jailing_people_who_attend_%E2%80%98radical_political_speeches%E2%80%99/

    So, if he were around at the time of the Revolution, he probably would’ve jailed those who were promoting “violently overthrowing” the British rulers, no?

    • john April 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      nice out of context clip they got up there

      he was talking about Muslim foreigners who are non-us citizens

      • Jim April 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

        But people do not need to show a passport before robbing a liquor store.

        • john April 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

          What’s your point? He’s talking about criminals in the act not suspects.

        • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

          Maybe we should try making that a requirement, then!

          Hmm…an “imminent threat” of an “act of crime.” Yep, them’s weasel-words only an attorney could love.

          Drones. The new judge, jury, and executioner devices.

          What’s really scary is that “john” doesn’t seem to consider Muslims to be people, since I don’t recall reading anything in the Constitution in regards to only “US citizens” having rights.

          That’s right, Jim. Despite his apparent ignorance, “john” likely has a vote that counts just as much as yours.

          • john April 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

            Who said I don’t? I’m referring to what the 38 second clip where Rand is talking about having info about travelers in and out of this country.

          • Jim April 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

            Lawhobbit, thanks for adding your judicial analysis. “Imminent” makes me nervous, esp. when it is combined with Hellfire missiles.

  3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit April 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence considered that deadly force was only an acceptable response to an imminent threat to life or limb (though there was a period when “property” was included). A robber running out of a liquor store with his ill-gotten gains in hand is simply no longer an imminent threat. Were he apprehended at that point, there is no way he would be subject to capital punishment.

    Thus, to suggest that it’s okay to kill him with a drone is ludicrous, goes against centuries of history, and is nothing more than typical police state tactics of “execution, THEN verdict.” With the “verdict” being nothing more than whatever spin is applied by the complaisant media lickspittles.*

    *there’s a word you don’t get to use every day … and my spellchecker doesn’t even recognize it!

    • Jim April 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      That’s a perfect word choice for Shakespeare’s birthday.

  4. Tom Blanton April 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Quoth the Great and Powerful Senator Rand Paul:

    “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”

    Well, except for the liquor store exception. If one reads between the lines of the Federalist Papers, it will become obvious that the Wise Founding Fathers envisioned the need for the immediate execution of common men running out of liquor stores with weapons and $50 or more in their hand.

    Common sense dictates that liquor store holdups would rip apart the fabric of society and must be dealt with in a special manner. It is obviously best to execute first and count the money in the hand of the liquor store robber later. We should all be thanking the Christian God that Rand Paul is speaking out to guide us on this fundamental issue of liquor store holdups as they relate to drone jurisprudence and the Constitution.

    The next thing you know, the liberals will be claiming that liquor store robbers should be read their Miranda rights and then tried before a jury like ordinary criminals.

    • Jim April 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      Great comment, Tom. I appreciate you putting this in perspective.

      I was afraid I might have been biased on this subject, given my arrest record on a false accusation of attempting to knock off a convenience store.

  5. Tory II, Illinois April 24, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    When I was five years old, I stole one chocolate bar from the corner liquor store. At that time I never understood the meaning of ‘liquor’.

    Oh yea, I formed my hand into the shape of a revolver and told the owner that famous line:

    “Give me a chocolate bar and no one gets hurt.”

    Amazing ! How did I know the ‘liquor’ store had chocolate bars ? I was only five.

    He quickly gave me what I wanted, and then I backed out of there checking all directions for the pigs.

  6. LJ1010 June 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    This statement is not contextually accurate. if one says “I dont care if (A) or (B) cause (C) to occur” its radically different than saying “I want (A) to cause (C)”. Im a liberal as well but lets provide good media information please.

  7. SovereignMary April 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Hey James Bovard – Why don’t you get your stories straight and quit producing false and fake headlines?
    Paul also said in the Salon article: “Here’s the distinction, I have never argued against any technology being used against having an imminent threat an act of crime going on…”
    He never stated to “drone bomb” them.

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