The Left Turns on Itself as BLM Shuts Down ACLU Event

Guy Benson, October 11, 2017

This is a leftover story from earlier in the month, which was largely overlooked in the hyper-drive news cycle.  It might as well bear the headline, "revolution eats its own."  This chapter of the Campus Madness chronicles 
comes to us from William & Mary College in Virginia, where students affiliated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) interrupted a free speech event sponsored by the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  Reason's Robby Soave describes the melee, which was so persistent in its disruption that the scheduled speech was eventually cancelled: 

Students took to the stage just a few moments after [W&M alum and ACLU official Claire] Gastañaga began her remarks. At first, she attempted to spin the demonstration as a welcome example of the kind of thing she had come to campus to discuss, commenting "Good, I like this," as they lined up and raised their signs. "I'm going to talk to you about knowing your rights, and protests and demonstrations, which this illustrates very well. Then I'm going to respond to questions from the moderators, and then questions from the audience."  It was the last remark she was able to make before protesters drowned her out with cries of, "ACLU, you protect Hitler, too." They also chanted, "the oppressed are not impressed," "shame, shame, shame, shame," (an ode to the Faith Militant's treatment of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, though why anyone would want to be associated with the religious fanatics in that particular conflict is beyond me), "blood on your hands," "the revolution will not uphold the Constitution," and, uh, "liberalism is white supremacy.

This went on for nearly 20 minutes. Eventually, according to the campus's 
Flat Hat News, one of the college's co-organizers of the event handed a microphone to the protest's leader, who delivered a prepared statement. The disruption was apparently payback for the ACLU's principled First Amendment defense of the Charlottesville alt-right's civil liberties. Organizers then canceled the event; some members of the audience approached the podium in an attempt to speak with Gastañaga, but the protesters would not permit it. They surrounded Gastañaga, raised their voices even louder, and drove everybody else away.

"Liberalism is white supremacy" is an interesting one.  These protesters weren't content to show up and register their illiberal objections to the ACLU's principled stance on the First Amendment and free speech by carrying placards or asking tough questions.  They weren't content to chant and yell to make their presence known.  They weren't even content to effectively commandeer the event and read a prepared statement from the microphone.  No, they didn't rest until the scheduled remarks were called off -- and then proceeded to ensure that curious students couldn't even engage in private conversations with the speaker, hounding everyone away from the venue.  A total shut down.  For "justice," or something  The university responded with a requisite expression of disappointment, as other students bemoaned their classmates' aggressive censorship:

Laith Hashem, ’19, was bothered by protesters’ refusal to engage in an open, two-sided discussion...“I think they had every right to do what they did. I don’t agree with their method, [but] they’re completely entitled to their opinions,” Hashem said. “But the thing I disagreed with most was that every opportunity they had to have a discussion, both with the speaker and the audience, they responded by increasing their volume and shouting louder.” Hashem, who was one of the students hoping to speak to Gastañaga, said he was disturbed by the aggression he perceived, as it bordered on not just verbal assault, but physical intimidation.  “Silencing certain voices in order to advance the cause of others is not acceptable in our community,” College President Taylor Reveley said in a written statement. “This stifles debate and prevents those who’ve come to hear a speaker, our students in particular, from asking questions, often hard questions, and from engaging in debate where the strength of ideas, not the power of shouting, is the currency.”

"Unacceptable." Does that word mean that there will be sanctions for the violators?  Or is this just another administration going through the motions of feigning interest founding principles, without taking the risk of inflaming a noisy 'victim group'?  Via Legal Insurrection, here are some video lowlights, including the disruptors repeating the Orwellian and constitutionally-illiterate refrain, "hate speech is violence:"

Meanwhile, Hot Air's John Sexton is tracking another incident, this time at the University of Oregon, where a speech by the school president was interrupted by chanting left-wing students who took over the stage:  "The loud group of a few dozen students did not have a cohesive message but did express concerns over tuition costs, with the leader referring repeatedly to 'CEO Schill,'" reports The Oregonian. "Charlie Landeros, who led the march onstage and spoke using a bullhorn, said the group represented UO students who felt their voices weren’t being heard by university administrators. 'Over the summer there has been a huge proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda plastered all over campus,' Landeros said, adding he feared it could escalate to a violent hate crime. 'We’re here to stand against that.'"  They're claiming a "huge proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda" on campus over the summer.  Color me skeptical, because the hard Left has taken to referring to any speech they dislike as "white supremacy" or "neo-Nazism," no matter how preposterous.  When those terms are abused, they their meaning is diminished -- which, in turn, perversely gives some cover to the real thing.  Keep in mind that these students are admittedly "standing against" a hypothetical "hate crime."  More unfocused, authoritarian, speech-hostile histrionics:

Sexton notes the irony that the administrator's speech was going to include a defense of free expression: "At the core of any great educational institution is freedom of speech and its corrollary—academic freedom...In other instances and at other universities, students seek to disinvite or to shout down speakers they don’t agree with…If someone says something we don’t like, we should not try to shut them down. That is not what we do in an open democracy," President Schill was going to say. The students weren't interested in that message; indeed, they believe the opposite to be true.  I'll leave you with this Stanley Kurtz piece documenting other instances additional recent incidents along these lines.  Flash mobs of leftist students are becoming more brash and aggressive -- and their targets aren't confined to right-wingers anymore.  If the ACLU (!) isn't safe from this nonsense, nobody is.  Hopefully the expansion of this phenomenon will inspire more pro-speech liberals to join the anti-End of Discussion coalition, which cannot succeed if it's comprised exclusively of conservatives.



Blacks vs. Police

Walter E. Williams, October, 5, 2017

Let's throw out a few numbers so we can put in perspective the NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Many say they are protesting against police treatment of blacks and racial discrimination. We might ask just how much sense their protest makes.

According to "The Washington Post," 737 people have been shot and killed by police this year in the United States. Of that number, there were 329 whites, 165 blacks, 112 Hispanics, 24 members of other races and 107 people whose race was unknown. In Illinois, home to one of our most dangerous cities -- Chicago -- 18 people have been shot and killed by police this year. In the city itself, police have shot and killed ten people and shot and wounded ten others. Somebody should ask the kneeling black NFL players why they are protesting this kind of killing in the Windy City and ignoring other sources of black death.

Here are the Chicago numbers for the ignored deaths. So far in 2017, there have been 533 murders and 2,880 shootings. On average, a person is shot every two hours and 17 minutes and murdered every 12 1/2 hours. In 2016, when Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee, Chicago witnessed 806 murders and 4,379 shootings. It turns out that most of the murder victims are black. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that Chicago has a 12.7 percent murder clearance rate. That means that when a black person is murdered, his perpetrator is found and charged with his murder less than 13 percent of the time.

Similar statistics regarding police killing blacks versus blacks killing blacks apply to many of our predominantly black urban centers, such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and Oakland. Many Americans, including me, see the black NFL player protest of police brutality as pathetic, useless showboating. Seeing as these players have made no open protest against the thousands of blacks being murdered and maimed by blacks, they must view it as trivial in comparison with the police killings. Most of the police killings fit into the category of justified homicide.

NFL players are not by themselves. How much condemnation do black politicians, civil rights leaders, and liberal whites give to the wanton black homicides in our cities? When have you heard them condemning the very low clearance rate, whereby most black murderers get away with murder? Do you believe they would be just as silent if it were the Ku Klux Klan committing the murders?

What's to blame for this mayhem? If you ask an intellectual, a leftist or an academic in a sociology or psychology department, he will tell you that it is caused by poverty, discrimination and a lack of opportunities. But the black murder rate and other crime statistics in the 1940s and '50s were not nearly so high as they are now. I wonder whether your intellectual, leftist or academic would explain that we had less black poverty, less racial discrimination and far greater opportunities for blacks during earlier periods than we do today. He'd have to be an unrepentant idiot to make such an utterance.

So what can be done? Black people need to find new heroes. Right now, at least in terms of the support given, their heroes are criminals such as Baltimore's Freddie Gray, Ferguson's Michael Brown and Florida's Trayvon Martin. Black support tends to go toward the criminals in the community rather than to the overwhelming number of people in the community who are law-abiding. That needs to end. What also needs to end is the lack of respect for and cooperation with police officers. Some police are crooked, but black people are likelier to be victims of violent confrontations with police officers than whites simply because blacks commit more violent crimes than whites per capita.

For a race of people, these crime statistics are by no means flattering, but if something good is to be done about it, we cannot fall prey to the blame games that black politicians, black NFL players, civil rights leaders and white liberals want to play. If their vision is accepted, we can expect little improvement of the status quo.

Editors Corner

Fall has arrived and now the battle has begun. Leaves by the million are falling and I like millions of others either rake or blow them out of the gutters, off the porches, walk ways, driveways and yards. The battle will end sometime in December and we will get a nine month break and then we start all over again. On the flip side the colors are beautiful and weather cooler.