Friday, September 15, 2017

Sometimes, less is more

In the end, not much happened at the Shapiro talk at Berkeley (compared to what might have happened), which is a Good Thing. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro delivered his speech at the UC Berkeley campus on Thursdayunder extraordinary security that required attendees to pass through metal detectors and police barrcades that held back hundreds of protesters.

The event at Zellerbach Hall appeared to do what UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ has said she hoped for when she declared a free speech year on campus: provide an open exchange of ideas. Shapiro’s speech included a question-and-answer session in which audience members respectfully challenged his opinions.

Security cost the university an estimated $600,000. Police from all nine Bay Area counties were brought in to keep order on and off campus and to secure Zellerbach and the surrounding area, which was off-limits to anyone without a ticket to the event. The large contingent of law enforcement was a deterrent, said Margo Bennett, of the UC Berkeley police. crowd in the street was loud, but not violent.”

The evening stood in stark contrast to the Feb. 1 fiery chaos that shut down an appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and resulted in $100,000 worth of damage to the school’s student union and smashed windows at downtown businesses. At that event, black-clad protesters infiltrated police barriers. None of those so-called antifa protesters showed up for Shapiro. Still, UC Berkeley officials said they went to “unprecedented lengths” and used extraordinary measures to prevent a similar result...

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