Perhaps the folks up Berkeley are finally starting to wise up. If you tolerate violent protests, you’ll get more of them. If you telegraph that there will be consequences for those who break the law during demonstrations, the students may be less tempted to go on a rampage.
Last week, conservative speaker Ben Shapiro addressed a group of students at the University of California’s flagship campus. The speech went off without a hitch despite fears that progressive agitators would try to scuttle the address, as they had earlier this year when other right-wing speakers came to campus. Instead, a few hundred protesters marched outside the venue without incident.
That’s how it should be.
The difference this time? The police turned out in force. The Associated Press reported that they “sealed off the building where Mr. Shapiro was speaking” and also installed “barricades to keep protesters at a distance.” This is stark contrast to previous demonstrations that led to injuries and property damage when the authorities refused to intervene.
Campus administrators were so intimidated by the progressive mobs that the Wall Street Journal reported last month the school spent $9,000 to install a new door in the chancellor’s office to give him a quick exit in case he was endangered by student protests.
A Cal-Berkeley spokeswoman told the AP that security for the Shapiro event cost $600,000. “It’s an incredible amount of money,” she said. “And while we don’t regret that we spent it given the event was held peacefully, we certainly would have rather spent it on other purposes.”
Such large security expenditures wouldn’t be necessary, of course, if school administrators had previously done their jobs instead of cowering in the corner while the inmates looted the asylum.