When I first saw the video of the Berkeley riots from this past weekend, I thought to myself, well, it’s good that those on the Political Right are fighting back. After a few minutes, though, I realized that unless the police and the courts stop this, someone will eventually get killed.
It’s hard to blame folks on the Right for showing up prepared for a fight, especially in radical whack-a-doodle Berkeley. The authorities there – if you can even call them that — seldom do anything about the Lefties who engage in violence. Indeed, the police in Moscow-by-the-Bay are always ready to accommodate the Leftists.
This from the “Event Planning Checklist” portion of the Berkeley Police Department’s website shows police offering to perform “symbolic arrests”:
That sentiment is also reflected in what the Berkeley police did when the fighting broke out on Saturday, namely standing idly by.
The administration at UC Berkeley is also useless.
Granted, these pencil-pushing pinkos can’t stop what happens off-campus like Saturday’s riot. But they don’t actually do much when it happens on campus, as was the case when left-wing thugs shut down Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech there in February.
In its feckless press release following the Milo debacle, the administration claimed that, “The University and the UCPD went to extraordinary lengths to plan for this event and put the appropriate resources in place in order to maintain security.”
And they’ve since learned how to improve their security: Just cancel such events.
As David French noted a few days ago, this has all become a farce:
If the media accurately and comprehensively reported on leftist mob violence, it would see that a pattern has emerged: On campus and in the streets, a violent or menacing core seizes the ground it wants, blocks access to buildings, and shuts down the speech or events it seeks to suppress. This violent core is often surrounded and protected by a larger group of ostensibly “peaceful” protesters who sometimes cheer aggression wildly and then provide cover for the rioters, who melt back into the crowd. After the riot, the polite progressives condemn the violence, urge that it not distract from the alleged rightness of the underlying cause, and then do virtually nothing to enforce the law and punish the offenders.
Congress can fix the problem by enacting a law so that any college or university where an exchange of ideas is canceled because of inadequate security loses a year’s worth of federal funding. That means all funding, including money for students such as Pell Grants. Ditto for police departments that do not enforce the law.
Loss of funding will give police departments like Berkeley’s an adequate kick in the pants to enforce the law. It will incentivize universities to call on police if an event is threatened by left-wing thugs. And perhaps student protestors will be a little less inclined to cheer on rioters and let them melt back into the crowd when their taxpayer-funded tuition will be yanked.
As the saying goes, conscience is that little voice saying your funding may be jeopardized.
If universities and police departments need some idea on how to enforce the law, they can look at the example of Auburn University, where police enforce a no-mask policy at events. And if Congress needs to find the courage to do something like this, well, they can talk to the current president:
Unless the law is enforced against rioters—unless they are arrested, forced to pay substantial fines and face serious prison time—they will only escalate their violence.
Sooner or later, someone will get killed. It’s not too late to prevent that.
Cutting off federal funds to permissive universities and police departments is a good first step.