Will The Real Rand Paul Please Stand Up?

Rand Paul would have you believe he thinks police militarization is wrong, but he's got a more 'nuanced' view than that.
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Rand Paul leapt right out in front of the police demilitarization movement after the country witnessed the shameful conduct of overzealous police in Ferguson this week. Writing for Time, he said, "Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them."

International Business Times found video of Rand Paul in 2010 at an Open Carry rally in Ohio, where he expands on his ideas when it comes to demilitarizing police:

Though Rand Paul wrote in Time that "there is never an excuse for rioting or looting" (in spite of being a member of the Tea Party, which is named for perhaps the seminal act of property destruction as protest against government), on the “Words to Live by” section of the Ohio Valley Freedom Fighters’ website, the OVFF posted “The Defender’s Creed,” a meme amongst the message boards that militias use to communicate with one another, which alarmingly states, “I believe that self-defense is a moral imperative, and that illegitimate force and illegal violence must be met with righteous indignation and superior violence. ... Be it with firearm or blade, empty hand or blunt object, I will hit my enemies hard, fast and true.”

But Rand Paul, a 2016 presidential hopeful, feels safe amongst those who promise to be the jury that determines illegitimate force and the judges that sentence transgressors to superior violence.

“I’m not armed today," the senator boasted, "but I feel pretty safe. I feel like I’ve got a private security detail out there.”

“Yeah, you do!” a man in the crowd yelled just before Paul continued his speech: “Had we had one armed pilot, we might not have had 9/11. Had we had one armed teacher or student at Virginia Tech, we might not have had a massacre.”

In his Time article, Paul cynically stops short of his 2010 position. Any casual observer can see that proponents of the Open Carry movement are not ever arguing that black people in cities should be openly carrying firearms, or that they should even be allowed to have them. At the same time, he wants everyone to believe he's all for demilitarization of police to protect black folks.


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The real Rand Paul -- the one in 2010 -- is the guy who believes militias are best kept in the hands of private citizens, who should arm themselves with the same paramilitary gear the police in Ferguson were sporting. It's not police militarization he wants to end, it's public police demilitarization.

Rand Paul and those who embrace his libertarian views seem to have a blind spot when it comes to "government" in this country. The words "of the people, for the people and by the people" are forgotten in favor of this amorphous entity they call "Big Government."

Will Rand Paul support the rights of every citizen regardless of their race to openly carry weapons and form militias to acquire surplus military equipment? Until someone asks him that question, we'll never know.

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