Valdosta Daily Times

February 22, 2013

Students pose tough questions for Attorney General

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Open Bible Christian School received a visit from Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Thursday and students took advantage of the opportunity to ask pertinent questions of a state leader.

One student asked where Olens stands on the issue of the U.S. sending drones into foreign countries as part of the War on Terror, a method that has increased substantially under the presidency of Barack Obama.

“I find it very hypocritical that liberals criticized our former president,” said Olens, referring to those who vigorously opposed waterboarding and torture under the Bush administration but defend a drone strike “kill list.”

“I think it’s grossly hypocritical,” said Olens.

Olens feels there should be some sort of review process for the “kill list.”

“I dislike the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any checks and balances now,” said Olens.

For the attorney general, the use of drones is just one example of how fast-evolving technology can infringe on basic human rights.

“With the technology getting better and better, we don’t have the appropriate safe guards to protect us,” said Olens.

Olens also noted Google Earth as another invasive technological tool.

Another student cited an article about how the Department of Homeland Security was stripping certain citizens of their Fourth Amendment rights, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The student was referring to border agents not needing probable cause or a striking warrant since they are not

required to prove any reasonable suspicion under what the American Civil Liberties Union deemed “Constitution-Free Zones,” referring to the 100-mile stretch beyond the U.S. border.

“I would suggest they can’t and I would suggest that it’s unconstitutional,” said Olens.

Olens did note exceptions to the Fourth Amendment by using an example of a law-enforcement officer approaching a house where a person is suspected of having large quantities of drugs inside. If the officer were to hear several toilets flushing, indicating that the people inside were trying to dispose of the evidence, the law-enforcement officer could then enter and seize evidence without a warrant. However, once in the hands of the judge, if reasonable belief or probable cause is not found, that evidence cannot be used in court against the suspect.

An audience member asked Olens’ opinion on the controversial gun control issue and wanted to know if he felt gun control could be handled more efficiently at the local, state or national level.

“The states need to do a much better job at keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental illness,” said Olens.

While Olens stated he is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, he doesn’t feel that people with mental illnesses should be afforded the same rights.

“Many states aren’t doing what’s necessary,” said Olens.

Citing the shooting in Newtown, Conn., Olens said it shouldn’t be how many bullets are in a clip? But, what are we doing for the mentally ill?

“We are doing far too little,” said Olens.