Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during an interview Friday on the Glenn Beck Show took a moment to respond to critics who have accused him of learning to "love the drone."
"Most of us acknowledge that police have the right to shoot back and to use deadly force against criminals who are using deadly force against them," the senator said.
"There may be a day when the policeman, instead of getting out of his car, pushes a button and some kind of robotic firing arm (which may fly) comes out of the car and is able to engage in the firefight instead of the policeman getting out of the car," he added. "That's what I'm imagining. Not a drone from 50,000 feet dropping hellfire missiles on these people."
But the government's use of this type of technology will render the Second Amendment useless, Beck argued. After all, he added, civilians won't be able to defend themselves from that type of firepower.
Paul countered by explaining a) the government already uses advanced technology in deadly situations and b) it's not the technology, it's the circumstance.
"For example," Sen. Paul said, "nobody seems to complain about using a robot to dismantle a bomb." Similarly, "if there's a hostage situation and there's a way that a small, automated flying vehicle can be sent to into a hostage situation," we shouldn't hesitate to take action.
"It's not the technology. It's the circumstance," he added. "What I was arguing against in the filibuster was targeted assassinations [against] someone who's not engaged in combat."
You can hear the senator's comments here [at the 06:28 mark]
The Kentucky senator's conversation with Beck comes days after a Foreign Policy article claimed Ron Paul fans were furious with him for supposedly flip-flopping on drones:
The source of the Paulite anger stems from comments Sen. Paul made during an interview on Fox News' "Your World With Neil Cavuto."
"If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I'm not against drones being used to search them," the senator said. "Here's the distinction -- I have never argued against any technology being used against having an imminent threat an act of crime going on."
"If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash," he added, "I don't care if a Drone kills him or a policeman kills him, but it's different if they want to come fly over your hot tub, or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone, and they want to watch your activities."
Watch the senator's comments here:
What the senator said on "Cavuto" he must have said at least a dozen times during his 12-plus-hour filibuster of John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA.
"The senator has always been open to the idea of drones being used, with a warrant, in the process of a police investigation. And, as a practical matter, if that could have meant, say, a hundred fewer Boston doors knocked on by SWAT teams, isn't that a net victory for civil liberties?" writes The American Conservative's Jordan Bloom.
True, Bloom concedes, Paul saying he doesn't care whether a drone or a police officer offs the perp is stronger than his usual rhetoric, but "for better or worse, the senator has been consistent in his thinking."
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