Thanks to free speech, Berkeley has braced for war.
Thursday, Ben Shapiro descended on UC-Berkeley to give a speech covering a multitude of topics. While speaking, he addressed matters ranging from personal responsibility to identity politics. He also took the time to denounce the Alt-Right and have an open Q&A session.
Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?
Yes, that is a ridiculous question, but hours before Ben Shapiro’s speech, concrete barriers had been erected, campus buildings were shut down, and a secure perimeter was erected. The City Council even voted to allow police to use pepper spray in case another riot erupted during the course of the speech.
On the other side of the battle line, Antifa was also preparing for the event. The group hung signs around UC-Berkeley which insisted that the ironically named anti-fascists needed to “fight for what’s true and what we must do.” Refuse Fascism also insisted that fascism “will not stop if militant resistance stops.” Insistent on silencing everyone who disagrees with them, the anti-fascists and their counterparts were gearing up for protest against a string of right-wing speakers slated to speak at Berkeley
Ben Shapiro was just the beginning.
Later on, there will be speeches given by individuals like Milo Yannopoulos, Steve Bannon, and Ann Coulter. Given the track record of protests, riots, and terror attacks by Antifa in response to speeches given by conservatives and other right-wingers, it is perhaps appropriate that the police were better armed and more physical obstacles put in place.
At the same time, it is also heartening to know that, in the wake of Ben Shapiro’s speech, there were only nine people arrested, and there were no injuries. In spite of the violence encouraged by left-wing terror organizations, all of the protests against Mr. Shapiro seemed to be peaceful and respectful. It is refreshing to see some humanity and decency considering the violence that seems to besiege individuals who attempt to exercise their right to free speech.
Even though UC-Berkeley has turned into a garrison for the time being, it is inspiring. Perhaps this is a turning point. I would be remiss to ignore the peaceful protestors and everyone who makes their voice heard without the use of political violence. I cautiously hope that this is a turning point for the nation: I hope that people are becoming more willing to listen and talk peacefully. At this point, only time will tell if my hopes, and indeed the hopes of a civil and prosperous nation, are in vain.