Well today was quite the interesting day. The outspoken Ann Coulter canceled her speech stating Young America’s Foundation pulled its support amid threats of violence. She stated her decision was “a dark day for free speech in America”. Coulter also stated “I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team”. Coulter said “I’m so sorry Berkeley canceled my speech. I’m so sorry YAF acquiesced in the cancellation. And I’m so sorry for free speech crushed by thugs”.
Berkeley is no stranger to violence. That is a fact. It is also a fact that they have a stand down policy. Violent protesters know this. They know that Berkeley is so afraid of stepping on someones right to free speech that they will allow people to be beaten in front of them. They are unable to gain control and offer a venue without violence.
They were open and stated there was a very large concern of bodily injury or death and couldn’t guarantee safety which based on past incidents, they were truthful meaning they could not guarantee her safety.
Now both sides are stating the other cancelled. Now of course it really doesn’t matter. I believe Berkeley stated you come at your own risk and Coulter said hmm no thank you.
How could this have been avoided? Well Coulter could have hired her own bodyguards to guarantee her safety from the thugs as she stated as well as her crew of people. That didn’t occur though and I wonder why. Why didn’t she pay for the security?
A few reasons come to mind. She is a stubborn person that wants to be right or she wasn’t using her own money so it was an automatic response to blame Berkeley for the lack of security or she played this game like a pro meaning she knew she wasnt going and therefore planned what she would say…free speech has been taken away…let’s protest even more. Of course there are protests occurring even though she isn’t there and she is doing the TV news circuit. Sitting comfortable watching it from the sidelines and not getting her hands dirty.
Berkeley has to get policies in place to allow for peaceful protests and to make it clear that if you break the law, the police in full riot gear will be waiting for you and prepared to take all measures necessary and needed to protect people and property. They are not there yet but they need to move. The president takes funding away from business and cities so he should pull any funding for Berkeley until they have a fully functioning new policy in place.
On the flip side of this, free speech is never really free. It comes with a cost. Granted, we in the US can say anything we want but I believe we also have to be prepared to accept the consequences of our actions. Sometimes people don’t like what we say, how we say it or the anger that is verbalized so they just might punch you in the mouth on the low-end and on the high-end, you could be seriously hurt or killed for what you say. You have to be the one to determine if what you believe in is worth getting hurt over. If it is then be prepared for the consequences and if not cancel the speech.
In my perfect world, no one would be hurt over the words they say. They wouldn’t have to worry about violence for giving a speech and they wouldn’t have to worry about a riot on a university campus because someone with different views came and spoke. In my perfect world I could go and hear a speech and hear people’s reactions instead of seeing them. In my perfect world I could listen to Ann Coulter and maybe, just maybe learn something that I didn’t know.
We don’t live in my perfect world now do we, nope. I lose my opportunity because of my fear of this type of violence. I have never believed in hurting someone for the words that they spoke and therefore couldn’t imagine it happening to me but I also know in that type of environment, it would. Shame on the violent protesters and Berkeley for not having a functioning plan in place and shame on Coulter for preaching free speech but walking away with clean hands.
I think we all need Peace!