My column this week is about a tale of two marches. I make what I believe to be the rather obvious case that the people who attended the Women's March here in San Luis Obispo two weeks ago are the same people (though in much smaller numbers) that showed up this past Tuesday in an attempt to silence Milo Yiannopoulos last Tuesday at Cal Poly.
As I've come to expect over the past few months, the commenters offer cogent, topical arguments to my points. Just kidding, they make fat jokes.
A couple additional points to what I wrote in the column:
I talked to several protestors and I have no doubt that there were at bare minimum a couple dozen—and likely many more—people who attended both the Women's March and the anti-Milo protest.
In fact, the number of protesters near the entrance numbered no more than 25 until the anti-Trump immigration order march made its way through campus. Once that march, certainly in the spirit of the Women's March which condemned any effort to enforce the nation's immigration laws, concluded at the University Union, more than half those marching (probably 75 or more people) made the 100-yard trek to join the other anti-Milo protestors.
Does anyone really believe that the Venn diagram of marchers at the Bay Area Women's March and those thousands that showed up at UC Berkeley to protest Milo are two completely distinct circles that do not overlap?
Another item that I witnessed, but did not include in my column, was a woman identifying herself as Eleanor with GLAAD taking photos of everyone who arrived at the entrance and identified themselves as being on the VIP list.
At Berkeley, I wouldn't be surprised if there were orders from on high, whether that is the chancellor's office and/or the Berkeley mayor and police chief, to not engage protesters committing illegal acts against property. Of course, that eventually leads to illegal acts against people, because the rioters feel emboldened.
I have a working theory that a large number of non-violent protesters are actually a desirable presence to those who are intent on creating chaos.
If you have the situation you had at Cal Poly where the number of protesters was about 150 people, with maybe another 100 lookie-loos, then a sufficient number of law enforcement can deal with any violence confidently and decisively. I think this is what happened at Cal Poly.
At Berkeley, you had at least 3,000 protesters, and maybe just a few hundred rioters and a woefully insufficient and timid police presence. Part of that timidity may be explained by the fact that they don't know what the other 2,500+ "peaceful" protesters might do if they move in to enforce order on the rioters.
In effect, the large number of peaceful protesters act as a sort of human shield. You can't count on them to stay peaceful, so you have to calculate your response based upon the totality of the protesters.
If you really do not want to see violence at a Milo event, if your aim is peaceful protest, you're better off staying home, writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, or commenting on one of my columns.
I did offer a short summary of my opinion of Yiannopoulos' actual talk, that ended up on the cutting room floor. For those who are interested, here it is:
While I did not get in to see Yiannopoulos’ speech live, I did watch the Internet stream later that night.
For all of the attacks on him as a hatemonger and every other slur the left hurls at him, the body of his talk against America’s current abortion-on-demand legal regime was virtually indistinguishable from talks given by pro-life advocates from the Susan B. Anthony List or Lila Grace Rose’s Live Action group.
Yiannopolous’ satirical intro and the question-and-answer session at the end were no more vulgar or obnoxious than that of most stand-up comedians nowadays, aside from the targets being special classes identified by the left for special protection. I’ve seen rougher attacks on people in old videos of comedian Don Rickles’ stand-up routines.
If the left can’t tolerate Yiannopoulos, then it can’t tolerate millions of Americans who hold roughly similar views. That does not bode well for our republic.
In the end, liberals would like to have it both ways. For reasons of optics they want to claim the peace and solidarity of the Women's March. They'd also like to shut people like Milo up, but don't want to be seen doing so, because that's...what's the word?... fascist.