These days, the word “Berkeley” has become a synonym for “intolerance.” As conservative speaker and commentator Ben Shapiro makes his way to the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, he’s having to ask for something no speaker should have to ask for in America.
In a Twitter thread posted Monday, conservative speaker and writer Ben Shapiro called for everyone attending his event to remain nonviolent and demanded that the Berkeley Police Department “do their jobs” to stop any violence from breaking out.
Shapiro, who is scheduled to speak in Zellerbach Hall on Sept. 14, stated during a Fox News interview Friday that he anticipates Antifa will come to his event, and he asked that people not come to his event “ready to do violence in defense of my free speech.” He added that protecting free speech was the job of campus police exclusively, since the Young America’s Foundation had already paid the almost $16,000 security fee, which he called unfair.
The Berkeley College Republicans have hosted Ben Shapiro in the past, inviting him to speak on campus in April 2016 to no backlash.
In his tweets Monday, Shapiro stated that the police had no excuses for not stopping violence and that preventing people from engaging in political violence would maintain the “covenant of civilized society.”
While it’s true that Shapiro has spoken at Berkeley before, that was then and this is now.
In April 2016, many progressives were content with the belief that Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president. Then November happened.
Almost immediately, the Left lost its collective mind. It turned out the reason so many of them were worried about violence following a potential Hillary win was because of something called “projection.” Cars were burned, windows were broken, and the idea of a conservative speaker being able to speak at the most liberal college without concern became a dream.
Shapiro is right to call on the police to do their jobs. Clashes between free speech demonstrators and Antifa this past weekend marked the second time Berkeley police had failed to prevent violence by masked Leftist thugs. There’s a reason to be concerned.
Will Berkeley police do what they’re supposed to do, or stand down? Who knows. What I do know is that Shapiro is right to expect they keep the peace.