By now you’ve no doubt heard about the scheduled speech by Ann Coulter at Berkeley which may or may not be cancelled at this point. When Allahpundit dug into the story yesterday he repeated one observation which bears revisiting again this morning.
We’re getting closer to the inevitable moment when someone is literally murdered on an American campus because a right-winger tried to speak.”
That’s rather chilling, but it’s also obviously a very real possibility. Sadly, this reality gives Berkeley the perfect excuse to cancel an appearance by yet another conservative speaker. But that may be easier said than done because Coulter is saying she plans on showing up anyway. (Associated Press)
Ann Coulter fired off an angry stream of tweets Wednesday vowing to speak as planned next week at the University of California, Berkeley after campus officials called off the event for security concerns.
“I WILL BE SPEAKING NEXT THURSDAY,” the right-wing commentator tweeted, calling the move to cancel her planned event on April 27 a ban on free speech…
University officials sent the Berkeley College Republicans a letter Tuesday, saying that officials and campus police had determined they could not ensure the safety of Coulter, audience members or protesters expected at the event.
“We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue,” said the letter from Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton. “Given current active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully.”
I wanted to expand on what Allahpundit already provided to cover two points this looming disaster is bringing to light. One is the basic question of whether or not Berkeley actually can stop Coulter from showing up next Thursday and speaking. In theory I suppose they can deny her access to any of the buildings even though they are sort of the property of the taxpayers. They do control access and scheduling for the halls. But what if Coulter brings her own microphone and amplifiers and tries to set up in the middle of the quad? Since it’s school property I guess they can make the case that it’s still under their control, but now you’re in a situation where campus police and administrators may have to be literally standing in the gates and physically blocking her from entering in a show of quasi-military force. Can you imagine a worse press debacle for Berkeley or a more perfect PR moment for Coulter?
Their other option is to simply stand aside, let her try to set up in the public square and do her thing while putting out a statement that they have washed their hands of the matter and are not responsible for what happens. But if it’s taking place on school grounds, they are still responsible if it turns into a bloodbath. Berkeley is out of good options at this point.
The second item to address here is the question of not only how Berkeley, but also the mainstream media will try to spin this story. In the end, that may be what Coulter is going for far more than any prepared text she has ready on the subject of immigration. If she shows up and this thing spins out of control, where will the media be able to assign the blame? People showing up to hear her speak certainly aren’t there to cause trouble. But when the inevitable crowd of figures dressed in black shirts with hoods and face masks (the new, preferred uniform for liberal activists) shows up and begins taunting and then busting heads, how will the school and the MSM pin this on conservatives? Will they blame Coulter for the crime of simply being there and talking? I’m sure some will be happy to try, but that’s pretty much on par with telling a rape victim that they shouldn’t have worn such a short skirt.
At one time I might have cautioned against having Coulter speak, but there’s simply too much of this going on now. (In case you hadn’t heard, Linfield College in Oregon just cancelled an engagement by conservative speaker Dr. Jordan Peterson.) I don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but at this point I’m actually hoping that Coulter does show up next Thursday. And there needs to be a significant group of people with good quality cameras filming the ensuing events from all angles. If this thing goes badly pear shaped there should be a record available which isn’t “edited for time” by the major news networks.