“Freeze! You’ve Got Illegal Substances!” — YAL UC Irvine

On Thursday, May 30th, 2013, Young Americans for Liberty at the University of California – Irvine  held a very successful speakers forum on the War on Drugs.

With well over 325 students in attendance, this has been one of YAL UCI’s most successful events yet, thanks to generous professors and our fantastic tabling event for promotion!

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At the event, Director and Producer Paul Feine, of the Reason Institute; Retired Lieutenant Commander and L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) speaker Diane Goldstein; and UCI Professor Al Valdez (a former police officer and expert on gangs who’s been a regular guest on the History Channel’s Gangland) all gave their interesting perspectives on the effects of the federal government’s criminalization and war on drugs.

Issues brought up during the free-range styled forum included issues such foreign policy, how the War effects students, the border violence, the rise of gangs, issues of federalism, trillions being spent, California’s overcrowded prisons, racial profiling, etc. 

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(Director and Producer Paul Feine of the Reason Institute/TV/Magazine)

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(L.E.A.P. Speaker and Lt. Cmdr. Diane Goldstein, retired)

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(University of California, Irvine Professor Al Valdez)

Director Paul Feine even showcased his new and upcoming film, America’s Longest War, soon to be released in the Fall. 

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(YAL Officer, Krista Lopez, invites students to participate in the Q&A session)

Following the speaker’s forum, students were welcome to participate in the Question and Answer session — where questions ranged across the board: questioning legalization vs. decriminalization, the Portuguese model on the War on Drugs, the collapse of nations such as through the British Opium Wars in China, pro-criminalization, etc.

question 1

question 2
Overall, the event was a success, due to our week-long tabling efforts where some of us dressed as members of the SWAT team, President Obama, and Reno 911’s Lt. Dangle — dressed in his notorious short-shorts ; ). Students were even surprisingly glad to receive fake citations! — though dressed merely as fliers promoting our event as we went up to people and asked, 

“Excuse me sir/ma’am, this is unacceptable behavior. This warrants you a citation! Move along sir/ma’am.” (Owing homage to South Park of course.)

Citation 1
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Clubs, too, were open to gain publicity with their fundraisers by agreeing to be mock “raided “ by the SWAT team and “handcuffed” by Lt. Dangle on suspicion of possessing and selling “controlled substances.”

Cop Kissing Obama's Ring

Obama Salut
Moreover, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts were also effective in creating a buzz. Much witty commentary gives credit to one of our officers, Joshua Trujillo. 

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Facebook
As the icing on the cake, professors even agreed to offer extra credit for students on condition that students took notes. Seems reasonable right? Talk about a captive audience! 

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Ultimately, students and Professor Valdez found YAL to be a fantastic organization and our other night’s special guest speakers, Paul Feine and Lt. Cmdr. Goldstein, commented how organizations participating in grassroots activism like YAL are vital to the liberty movement’s future. 

In fact, students and speakers were left with so much enthusiasm that to this day we’re asked and given comments to the tune of: 
“So when is your next event?”, “When and where can I go to your meetings?”, or “You guys are so legit!”

Unfortunately, I’d have to answer saying, “Sorry. Next Fall as our Spring Quarter comes to a close.” Our mailing list, full of potential new members, quickly doubled afterward!

For more photos, please check out our Facebook Group Photo Album or our Flickr photo sets 

Special thanks to our Regional Coordinator, Adam Weinberg, for being a phone call, text message, email, or Facebook message away from us!  Hands down, THE best in the West!

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