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07 March 2013

No Person Shall Be Deprived of Life, Liberty, or Property, Without Due Process of Law

Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, once asked S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson if the stars and stripes were a little old-fashioned.

Agent Coulson responded, "With everything that’s happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little ‘old fashioned.’"

Starting Wednesday afternoon and ending in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Americans were treated to a little "old-fashioned."

For over twelve hours, Rand Paul, the junior United States Senator from the great state of Kentucky, condemned the notion that drones could be used to kill Americans on American soil. For more than twelve hours, Senator Rand Paul stood on the Senate floor, pleading with the Obama Administration not to kill Americans on American soil without due process of law. For twelve hours Wednesday and Thursday, Senator Paul treated the American public to an old-fashioned filibuster.

"I will speak as long as it takes," Sen. Paul said, "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."

It's basic Constitution 101. No Person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

That's the 5th Amendment. That is the heart of the 5th Amendment; that an American, no matter the crime, should not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The government can't take a person's house or car. The government can't throw someone in jail. The government can't kill someone without giving them a day court. It may seem a little old fashioned, but it makes all the sense in the world.

What makes no sense is Attorney General Eric Holder saying Barack Obama can kill Americans on American soil, and it's legal for him to do so.

"Has America the beautiful become Alice's Wonderland?," Senator Paul asked during his filibuster. "Only in Alice's Wonderland would you sentence someone to death before you try them.

"No president has the right to say he is judge, jury and executioner," Paul continued. "I don't want the President deciding whether or not I'm guilty."

Once again, it's basic Constitution 101.

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

That's the 6th Amendment, folks.

If an American is suspected of being a terrorist, that person still gets his or her day in court. If an American is accused of organizing a terrorist plot, they still get their day in court. If an American blows up a building, killing hundreds, and all the evidence points to that person's guilt, he or she still gets their day in court.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of people, and even he got his day in court.

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

There are people out there who would say, "In order to keep us safe; in order to keep Americans from dying, we must give up a little liberty and a little freedom."

These people are willing to support the Obama Administration's contention that they can assassinate Americans on American soil, using drones, to save lives. These people are so consumed by fear that they would allow the Constitution to be shredded in order to get some sense of safety and security.

Wednesday and Thursday, on the Senator floor, Rand Paul of Kentucky challenged those people.

"Are you so afraid that you are willing to trade your freedom for security? I will not sit quietly and let [Obama] shred the Constitution.”

I started this 600-plus word post with a few lines from the 2012 motion picture "The Avengers." I finish it with a few lines from the "Star Wars" film series

Master Yoda said, "Fear is a path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate . . . leads to suffering."

Fear; fear of terrorism will lead this country to a dark place; a place where Americans can be killed on American soil without due process.

To paraphrase Senator Rand Paul one last time, if there is an ounce of courage left in this country, Americans will not tolerate this.