Ben Shapiro is speaking at Berkeley tonight and the entire campus seems to be preparing for the worst. Tuesday the city council voted in favor of allowing police to use pepper spray against violent protesters. Late last week school officials announced police would be closing 6 buildings, including the student center and student union, so campus police can create a perimeter around the hall where Shapiro will be speaking. That perimeter will include concrete blockades as well as officers.
— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) September 14, 2017
Shapiro himself seems to find the preparations both surprising and amusing. In an interview with NBC Bay Area he said, “I’m just coming to campus to give a speech about the uselessness of violence in political discourse and in the United States generally as well as the problems with identity politics and now half the city’s being shut down.” He added, “Everyone’s treating it like Godzilla’s coming to town. I know I’ve been working out, but I don’t think I’m that threatening.”
Asked about the change in policy regarding the use of pepper spray, Shapiro replied, “you get violent with a cop, you get pepper-sprayed. Why is this controversial?”
Assuming the campus doesn’t burn down tonight, both Milo Yiannopolis and Steve Bannon are scheduled to speak at Berkeley later this month as part of what is being dubbed Free Speech Week. The response to those planned speeches is to literally evacuate the entire campus, at least that’s what 76 members of the Berkeley faculty called for yesterday. From the Daily Californian:
The letter was co-written by seven faculty members, including campus associate teaching professor of African American studies Michael Cohen. It calls upon faculty to take three steps: cancel classes and tell students to stay home; close buildings and departments and allow staff to stay home; and not penalize students who are afraid of coming to campus.
“This is a clear threat to public higher education,” Cohen said. “People are coming to humiliate others and incite violence. … The boycott is a refusal to allow this to happen on our campus.”
This is exactly what Antifa and the far left always seek to do when campus speakers they disagree with show up: Shut it down. In this case, they’re not trying to shut down the speech itself but the entire campus around it. Retreat to your safe spaces, everyone!
Reading this, you could almost believe it was the right that rampaged through campus earlier this year, smashing windows and setting things on fire. But of course, it wasn’t. It was Antifa that was doing those things as well as beating people they judged to be Nazis.
Update: Godzilla is coming!
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) September 14, 2017
Update: From the AP, this level of security is nuts:
Bank of America, a frequent target of Antifa, is prepared:
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) September 14, 2017