On Tuesday afternoon, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke out about the domestic use of drones – and drove many of his biggest supporters to distraction in the process. “I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on,” said Paul. “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.”
This was always Senator Paul’s position. He has said repeatedly that an imminent threat can justify the use of drones – the only defensible legal position, so long as law enforcement has the ability to use deadly force against a suspect in the commission of a crime involving a threat to life and limb.
Yet supporters of Rand Paul’s father, Ron, were still fighting mad. Setting up a strawman, they misconstrued Rand Paul’s argument to suggest that any time a crime was in progress without threat to life and limb, drones could be used. This is a battle Paul will have to continue to fight with those who want to draw black and white contrasts between use of drones and use of all other deadly force by law enforcement.