At a critical crossroads with respect to free speech

Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter is playing a dark game of whack-a-mole with the University of California at Berkeley over her invitation to speak on campus Thursday. As they have done with other conservative speakers, UC Berkeley administrators have larded ridiculous requirements on Coulter and have arbitrarily and capriciously changed the dates and times Coulter will be allowed to speak.

The administration is using the tired excuse that because leftist thugs disrupted a planned speech by narcissistic conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopolous with violent, bloody attacks and arson the Berkeley Police Department refused to prevent or put a stop to, Coulter either can’t speak at all, or must be subject to rules that will prevent most students who want to hear her from attending.

Here in Colorado Springs, a few weeks after the Berkeley debacle, our police did not hide inside and let things burn like the Berkeley police did. Instead, they put on an effective show of force and determination that kept a speech by Yiannopolous at UCCS entirely peaceful.

Coulter has said she will speak Thursday, daring the administration to arrest her for doing so, and the students who invited her have warned the administration they will sue the university if it doesn’t stop violating their civil rights. It is about time somebody sue them.

We are at a critical crossroads with respect to free speech that we have not seen since the riots of the civil rights era and Woodrow Wilson’s wholesale imprisonment of more than 175,000 people who resisted his plan to inject the U.S. into World War I.

This time the coordinated conspiracy to suppress speech is coming from the Marxist left in the guise of masked “antifa” thugs who disrupt conservative gatherings with violence. Recent violent pushback by Trump supporters during confrontations fomented by these terrorists have the thugs looking for “combat training” and firearms, according to an article on The Blaze.

A self-identified Communist on Reddit, MrDocProfRyan writes “Antifascist tactics aren’t about convincing anyone… Antifa is only there to keep committed fascists from organizing a physical presence.”

This is clear evidence of a criminal conspiracy and violation of 18 U.S. Code § 241 that makes it a crime if “two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person . in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same” and if “two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured.” The penalties can include up to 10 years in federal prison or up to life in prison or the death penalty for killing or attempting to kill someone.

This 1948 law was a response to ongoing racist attacks against blacks that authorized the federal government to intervene when law enforcements officials in southern states refused to take action against intimidation, arson and murder by the KKK and other disguised, anti-black racists.

After a brutal attack by county Sheriff’s deputies and Alabama State Police dispatched by Governor George Wallace on black voting-rights activists attempting to peacefully march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, President Johnson finally acted to quell the violence.

On March 21, some 3,500 marchers left Selma, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, under the protection of federalized National Guard and military troops, arriving in Montgomery four days later with a crowd of some 25,000 who had joined them on the way. The Voting Rights Act was enacted shortly thereafter.

What the “antifa” Communists are doing today is exactly what the KKK did in 1948.

The protection of the rights of everyone, Conservative, Liberal or Communist, to peaceably assemble and engage in free speech is no less important, and no less a duty and obligation of President Trump than was securing the voting rights of blacks in 1965.

The remedy to the continued criminal acts of so-called “antifa” terrorists is no different and no less necessary today.


Originally published in the Colorado Springs Gazette

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