My First Piece for Huffington Post . . .

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

. . . is on the SWAT killing of Tucson resident Jose Guerena.

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78 Responses to “My First Piece for Huffington Post . . .”

  1. #1 |  Abhishek | 

    Radley, I really like Reason magazine. I subscribe to them, and I have donated to them. So, when I came to know of your move to the Huffington Post, I was sad. I thought it was a big loss for Reason. I still think so.

    But I am no longer sad about your move. This article and the reactions over there have converted me. Over 2500 comments already! Your readership is now a hundred times bigger, if I have to make a rough extrapolation. That’s gotta be good for our cause. You made the right choice.

  2. #2 |  MikeZ | 

    @Dan Oh I agree the sue for millions mentality seems dysfunctional, it just seems like a vicious circle situation. If the government screws up and immediately apologized and took corrective actions I’d guess the average person would be OK. However the government can’t apologize or take corrective actions without admitting they did something wrong and open themselves up for an easier lawsuit. That in turn makes you pissed off and want to sue for whatever you can get. In the long run I think the coverups and lawsuit verdicts cost more. To me though the problem is at least as much fault in the “don’t apologize” camp as the “sue for millions” side.

  3. #3 |  Rune | 

    @Zargon #35

    Since this is a stereotypingfest, let me answer your hypothetical: The commentariat would be equally outraged at your scenario, since we all know that the liberal commentators at HuffPost are all high-school drop-out* stoners** living either in their mothers basement or a crammed single bed-room flat.

    Now, isn’t it about time that the agitatortots stop the infantile name-calling?

    *see plenty of references to them being mouth-breathers being bandied about in the comments here
    ** go to HuffPost and read the comments. Plenty of outrage over SWAT being used in a pot operation. Also, we all know that the dirty HuffPo hippies smoke weed, don’t we?

  4. #4 |  Kukui | 

    Is anyone else reminded of the South Park Episode (S3 E8) where everyone goes to Mr Mackey’s Meteor Shower Party, when the ATF shows up thinking it’s a suicide group. The ATF ends up spraying bullets into anyone who steps outside. Sheriff Dupnik seems to be using similar tactics. I once thought South Park emulated life, but now I think it’s vice versa now.

  5. #5 |  Ben | 

    Excellent article Radley. I know a lot of people around here didn’t like your move to HuffPo, but I was excited about it. Liberals are the more natural audience for your work because they will react more vehemently to injustice and the curtailing of civil liberties. HuffPo has a huge readership and if you can continue to spread the outrage over there, we could some day actually see some movement in the younger demo of liberals when it comes to police powers and the drug war.

  6. #6 |  Zargon | 

    Unfortunately, I do not share your optimism. I won’t descend into name-calling, as I didn’t before, but a less sympathetic victim wouldn’t get over 4k comments with 95% positive, guaranteed, even if the individual comments here don’t mention the victim’s status (although many do reference his status as a marine).

    People can imagine themselves in the shoes of this guy. People won’t be able to imagine themselves in the shoes of the high school dropout with a minor rap sheet and 2 ounces of pot, so they won’t care.

    And as always, around here, there’s nothing more I’d rather see than my pessimism being proven wrong.

  7. #7 |  Rune | 


    Just for the record, the name calling comment wasn’t aimed at you =)

  8. #8 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Starting with a maximally sympathetic victim was an excellent move.

    I’ll be curious to see how the folks at Huffington post react to a story with a more typical victim. How many of you who have strong beliefs about what the reaction will be are habitual readers at HP? I’m not a reader, so I don’t have a strong opinion.

  9. #9 |  Harry Lime | 

    Great article, although it seriously makes my blood boil. Also, it you google Jose Guerena you are now the first webpage to come up (after the Googe News results). That’s great.

    Question though: what’s the next option? I’m guessing the Sheriff’s Dep’t will whitewash the investigation and release some bogus results, and then the family will sue for Section 1983 violations. Is there any way to get the DOJ involved?

  10. #10 |  Highway | 

    I think the calls for civil lawsuits are just what people, consciously or unconsciously, feel is the only remedy. You never hear about anyone on police departments facing criminal charges for these horrid acts, because they’re never brought. Never things like manslaughter, negligent homicide (which is frequently warranted when the police invaders ‘accidentally discharge’ their guns into victims), or even conspiracy charges. So it’s not even thought of that these are criminal acts, even though they are.

    Plus, people have the naive idea that if ‘they’ have to pay a huge fine or settlement, ‘they’ will change their behavior. Hah. Having to pay an extra 5 or 10 million for a bunch of lawsuits doesn’t change the behavior of the police. What it does is make their budget (which is essentially given to them, not earned in any way, shape, or form) run out of money, and then they go whining to the public that they need a bigger budget, or they just do it themselves with more and more specious forfeitures. There’s no personal liability for any of those folks. So they’re not going to ‘learn’ any lesson.

  11. #11 |  c andrew | 

    Highway, I agree that they probably will go whining for more budget. And in a just society the electorate would use that opportunity to rub their noses in their criminal and sociopathic behaviour. But there are far too many folks out there who haven’t been royally screwed by the police/prosecutor/judiciary iron triangle and don’t know anyone who has. Since they are fundamentally lacking in empathy, they don’t realize what an injustice it is. That’s why libertarianism has to “happen” to people.

    Unfortunately, when libertarianism happens, often the person is either dead by police action or discredited by a conviction (in the eyes of the mass of sheep out there.) That’s why I think Radley’s work is important; if he can open enough eyes, then the discrediting/personal smear tactic used by these thugs will no longer be effective. Perhaps we will see the day when actions like these will bring murder under color of law charges.

  12. #12 |  c andrew | 

    And now, I take off my rose colored glasses…

  13. #13 |  Cyto | 

    The comments at HuffPo were interesting. Remarkably few “Team Red/Team Blue” comments, and they were routinely countered. This was the perfect story to start the HuffPo crowd on the weekly nutpunch diet. Loudmouthed liberal democrat sheriff in a liberal democrat county with a 2 tour serving marine veteran and a wife recorded on the 911 tape begging for help for her husband. Pretty much hits all the notes to allow them to empathize with the victim and completely blunt the “team red / team blue” reactions.

    Now you can hit them with the Puppycide isolated incidents to completely tickle their predispositions. A couple of videos of puppies getting shot should completely win the crowd over.

    And wow, what an impressively large crowd. I had no idea they were that big.

  14. #14 |  André | 

    Jesus, now it’s nearly five thousand comments. And more are pending.

    Radley, thank you so much for “selling out” and moving to a platform where you get hundreds (thousands?) of times more exposure.

    I think you might want to post a short follow-up on Cheye Calvo in the next month. I don’t think the HuffPo audience will take kindly to puppycide either.

  15. #15 |  Troy | 

    Holy shit, nearly 5000 comments. Way to go Radley. I would like to think that you just kicked a hornets nest.

  16. #16 |  Mister DNA | 

    Jesus. Almost 5,000 comments already… way yo go, Radley!

    I’d like to echo TomG’s (#18) sentiment – thanks for the mention of William Griggs. I’m a huge fan of his blog.

    Just a sort of off-topic comment that might be of interest to Agitator readers: Buy a Roku device. They start at 60 bucks, and even if you don’t use Netflix, it’s still a good investment. In addition to the Liberty Radio Network, which features Griggs’ 2-hour radio show, the Roku features Livestation, which has live streaming broadcast of several 24 hour news channels not available to most cable subscribers, including Al Jazeera English and RT.

  17. #17 |  Lucy | 

    As much you were my favorite Reason writer, I’m starting to realize how potentially awesome this move to Huff is. I mean, they still have the worst layout of any legitimate site I have ever seen. But you could get so many converts from semi-sensible liberals. This is fantastic.

  18. #18 |  PIMAFAIL | 

    I would love to see the faces of those Pima County Pigs when they read your piece, Radley. You nailed ’em to the fucking wall! Bravo!

  19. #19 |  TomG | 

    Radley – I don’t know if you read MetaFilter, but I just noticed a post about this raid, featuring your HP article. You are getting some good compliments, sir.

  20. #20 |  TomG | 

    nvm, I now see that you are a member. I really ought to join up, been lurking there many years.

  21. #21 |  Cyto | 

    Sooo… I was complementary of the HuffPo commentariate. Then I tried clicking on the little “bloggers” filter to see what might be there. So sad…


    13 hours ago (3:52 AM)
    I’m a little bothered by Balko’s quoting a member of Oath Keepers, though. They’re a hate group and encourage sedition in the military ranks over the president’­s birth certificat­e. Not cool. He might as well be taking quotes from the John Birch Society.

    and in response:

    You are not too far off. Balko is a former senior editor for Reason magazine, which supports the Libertaria­n viewpoint. Many Cato institute types swear by that publicatio­n, and they along with the John Birch Society were founded and funded by the Koch family.

    Sigh. This was the only “blogger” response other than James Peron who posted on the same incident as Radley.

  22. #22 |  Zargon | 

    To be fair, you can’t possibly hope for unanimous positive responses. Radley could be writing a story about how a Satan-worshiping KKK member cop tortured and killed 666 babies, kittens and puppies in a to-scale replica of Auschwitz they built in their backyard using public funds earmarked for helping disabled kids, and somebody would find some rationale to defend them.

    Seeing lots of comments, and seeing 95% of them positive is about as good as you’re ever going to get, because some people have already made up their mind, and will grasp at whatever facts they need to to convince themselves they were right all along.

  23. #23 |  CTD | 

    Holy balls! 6,000+!

    I’ll be interested to see the reaction when Radley trains his eye on an element of authoritarianism that’s near and dear to the HuffPo community’s heart.

    I remember the reaction amongst his readers when Matt Yglesias suggested that maybe our professional licensing regimen has gotten a little out of hand…

  24. #24 |  Kristen | 

    @Zargon, they wouldn’t be defending the Satan worshipping KKK cop so much as trying to make it seem like Balko’s information is illegitimate based on teh evul Kochtopuz. Those types looove guilt by association and if you’re in the Kochtopus then, by gum, they just ain’t ever gonna agree with you.

  25. #25 |  Greg | 


    I join you in surprise, especially this far in. Very initially encouraging. Radley generally strings together a tight story that doesn’t leave a whole ton of wiggle room for the trolls (unlike the majority of HuffPo scribes). Perhaps this actually generates some ‘spect.

    Being the headliner didn’t hurt either, but regardless 5K+ is nothign to sneeze at.


    Don’t know where you were writing, but I swear there were others who were out there being ignore right along with you.

    Better late than never I guess…

  26. #26 |  TC | 

    Radley did not read all of the comments, but the few I did, I’m like WOW!!!

    Still taking short breaths, but you focus on things every American should be totally outraged about and so few seem to be exposed to.

    Besides as long as you don’t say the words, Bush or Palin you will be fine!! :)

    So far so good!

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    …at least an attempt to suppress details until the department can come up with a narrative that mitigates the damage.

    Beautifully said.

  28. #28 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Quite frankly, I don’t believe Guerena did anything except walk to his door to open it. Any chance those SWAT fucktards planted his rifle on his body and forgot to switch the safety?