Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is speaking today on the University of California at Berkeley campus.
Who is Ben Shapiro, and why is he seen as controversial?
Shapiro is a Harvard Law School graduate who has worked as a lawyer, writer and political commentator. He was an editor at Breitbart but left the site in 2016 due to its overtly pro-Trump stance during the election. Shapiro is now editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire.
Prior to the 2016 election, Shapiro spoke on campus to the UC Berkeley College Republicans without incident and with “basic security.” Because of his conservative leanings, Shapiro has since been caught up in the backlash against controversial figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter. Earlier this year, UC Berkeley students destroyed $100,000 worth of property during riots in reaction to a scheduled appearance by Yiannopoulos, a self-identified “alt-right” figure.
What is UC Berkeley doing to prepare?
As shown in the headlines, the school is preparing for possible violence. Safety measures include a visible police force and a closed perimeter on campus. Law enforcement can also use pepper spray to halt rioters after a 1997 ban on pepper-spraying protesters was lifted in time for the event.
We choose whether or not we want to wallow in feeling offended, and we need to learn to let people speak even if we disagree with them. Shapiro’s words aren’t why UC Berkeley is implementing unbelievable safety measures – rioters who start fires, break windows and throw Molotov cocktails are.
“[Ben Shapiro] just speaks the truth with reason, facts and common sense,” Glenn said. “If protesters turn violent and set fires, that will be because someone decided to get violent and set fires.
“It won’t be Shapiro’s fault; it will be because the protesters chose to do that.”