I had Radley Balko at my college the last couple of days, talking to a couple of classes and giving a public talk about the increasing use of SWAT teams in America. He left a lot of depressed people in his wake, because the talk on SWAT teams is a real downer. Still, not enough people get it yet, so I hope he keeps talking about it.
For those who’ve never met him, he’s a pretty nice guy for a libertarian. No foaming at the mouth, no unscripted (or even carefully scripted) rants about the Federal Reserve, no calls for the reconstitution of the old South, etc., etc. In fact he seems like just a plain old decent guy. I emphasize that because he’s quickly becoming one of the country’s most well-known libertarians, and I’m so sick to death of the stereotype of the selfish, don’t-care-nuthing-’bout-nobody-else libertarian that I’m still pleased to see the stereotype rebutted not by argument but just by a real-live libertarian’s character.
Of course it’s not really surprising. Balko’s emphasis is on civil liberties, which is all about caring about what actually happens to people who get run over by the power of the state. Very simply, he cares a hell of a lot more about the victims of the war on drugs than most liberals do.
A big thanks to him for coming–a lot of people told me how much they enjoyed his talk.
Update: Our local newspaper, the Daily Telegram, has a nice article about his talk, including a video clip (which I can’t get to embed properly–sorry).