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This post is part of a new “Student Spotlight” SFL blog series in which we honor the best and brightest student activists in our network by highlighting the top student, group, and event of the week and share their accomplishments to inspire other leaders to step up their game in advancing the cause of liberty.

Congratulations to SFL’s student of the week, Maurie Franco! She is the Communications and Webinars Director in EPL Ecuador. She is in charge of building EPL’s reputation by empowering the EPL brand in the media, universities, and schools. She is also responsible for overseeing social media marketing, their internal communications, and the corporate image of EPL Ecuador. Here is more about her work in her own words:
I’m an Economics undergraduate student at UEES in Ecuador, with minors in International Economic Relations and Social Entrepreneurship. Thanks to my school friend, Alejandro Rengel, I joined SFL in February 2013 with the hopes of having a positive impact on people surrounding me. When I began my journey promoting liberty and liberty ideals, I never imagined I would meet as many people as I have, and especially, meeting such valuable people that I now call my friends, who are committed to changing the reality of our country and achieving a different Ecuador.

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Recent warfare has seen increased use of “drones,” unmanned aircraft used either for surveillance or armed with missiles. According to a UK report, the US Air Force has increased use of drones over 600 percent from 2004-2010. At any given time in 2010, there were at least 36 US drones in the air over Afghanistan and Iraq. Although drone violence is extensive, expensive, and killing thousands of innocent people, public outcry has been relatively minor. Though there have been small community protests across the United States, there’s been no nation=wide outcry against these drone strikes. Why is that? Why aren’t we outraged by this senseless violence on a national level?

Over five years of drone strikes carried out by the United States has resulted in 2,400 deaths. A 2012 study revealed that only 2% of casualties were the people targeted. The rest were all civilian casualties, often referred to collateral damage. In addition to the civilian casualties, the drone program has other costs that are equally as staggering. Winslow Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information has challenged official reports that drones cost $4-$5 million per unit. The MQ-9 Reaper model of drone costs $120 million per group of four units and related equipment, called a CAP. He also points out that the fact that they are unmanned makes them no cheaper in the long run. Though they cost less to fly, the mission lengths are drastically longer, meaning that costs remain high. The Air Force announced in January of 2012 that they would cut their manned aircraft programs in favor of drones to save money. Wheeler however found that one CAP of drones cost around four times as much per year than the cut aircraft, an A-10 fighter jet.

A drone strike in Yemen, aimed at eliminating potential terror threats, killed 12 people in a wedding party in May of 2014. The most deadly drone attack in Yemen killed 41 people, 21 of whom were children (Woods 2012). Ferea al-Muslimi, a young man from Yemen, gave an interview to National Public Radio (NPR) in which he commented that the Yemeni people are starting to see the drone strikes as a fact of life. He said “Mothers in the past used to tell their kids ‘Go to sleep or I will call your father.’ Now they say, ‘Go to sleep or I will call the plane.’”

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I’ll start with this: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” –Desmond Tutu.

After hearing the Darren Wilson verdict last night, one I fully expected, I proceeded to spend a few frustrating hours on social media in order to observe the aftermath and to vocalize my own support for Michael Brown. Now, with a night of reflection, I’ve gathered a number of thoughts that I feel compelled to share, lest I explode all over my computer screen and drop half my friends for their depressingly illogical arguments.

Nov. 24, 2014 is an important day in American history. Last night, our nation awaited a verdict whose implications will be studied in classrooms for years to come, assuming the State does not completely infiltrate and derail the systems of education by then. Given its prominence, at the very least, you should care about the outcome of the State of Missouri vs. Darren Wilson. However, more than that, I submit that you should be angry at the verdict, and more importantly, cognizant of its many implications. To that end, here are just three takeaways:

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One of our speakers for the upcoming 2015 ISFLC February 13th-15th  will be Jeffrey Tucker! 

Jeffrey Tucker is Chief Liberty Office of Liberty.me, a social network and online publishing platform for the liberty minded. He is also distinguished fellow Foundation for Economic Education, executive editor of Laissez-Faire Books, research fellow Acton Institute, founder CryptoCurrency Conference, and author five books.

Check out the links below to learn more about Tucker’s work:

Articles, blog posts & more about Tucker:
Lectures & Interviews:

In the first post of this series, I gave some reasons why libertarians ought to reject the practice of punishment. As an alternative, I suggested that the only proper role of law is dispute resolution, and that law’s violence can only be used in either direct defense or the collection of restitution. In effect, this eliminates criminal law, leaving only civil law in its place.

In what follows, I’ll try to bolster that conclusion by briefly showing why libertarians ought to oppose criminal law, beyond just the illegitimacy of punishment.

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