This afternoon at 2:30 pm at the University of Florida's Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, White Nationalist Richard Spencer will address attendees concerning his jaded views on America and the future. The University tried to deny him the opportunity, was threatened with a lawsuit, and then relented, setting the stage for today's event. Students are up in arms and most oppose his appearance, yet the University agreed to terms as a First Amendment issue. You can agree or disagree, but freedom of speech is an inalienable right and a public institution is a natural place for such an event. After all, the University has no problem with allowing speakers for Marxism not only on campus but also in the classroom with a significant number of biased professors spewing their dogma routinely. Sadly, universities are no longer a place where any discourse on any subject is generally allowed.
Now having said that, I also know that the big concern is violence. With a large police presence on hand to protect citizens, will bands of troublemakers use the event as an excuse to foment destruction? This has happened around the country in the past and the violence is not limited to one point of view. While many of Spencer's supporters are prone to violence when provoked, opposing groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa have a huge track record of burning and destroying public and private property. One only need look at Berkeley, Seattle, Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas and many more cities to see examples of death and destruction caused by those seeking to create chaos and fear out of a peaceful society.
Governor Scott did the right thing in responding to Alachua Country Sheriff Sadie Darnell's request for a state of emergency. In the event that large and unruly crowds gather, regardless of their position, and threaten others, public safety becomes paramount. But when you refuse to allow speech, as is so common in places like Berkeley, the flame just stays lit. And even in the case of Berkeley, where people from the right, nowhere near the viewpoint of Spencer wish to speak, they are usually denied using the threat of violence as the reason. UF should be congratulated for making the right decision, albeit a very difficult one. To do otherwise establishes a precedent of free speech deprivation.
The police are on site to stop violence, including damage to public buildings, private businesses and and physical harm. In Berkeley for example, arson was prevalent and even one professor was charged with a felony for beating someone with a large lock. This was largely caused by the police standing down, something that also happened in Charlottesville and has been confirmed as such by a Justice report. Thankfully, that isn't likely to be the case in Florida.
So, if Scott did nothing in response to Darnell's request, he would be severely criticized. And yet, by doing something, the Monday morning quarterbacks of the Left have already criticized him and game day is just now getting ready to unfurl. And as far as banning certain items, those very items can, and have, been used violently in the past. Cases in point include both Berkeley and Charlottesville, where full water bottles were used against innocent people who were largely there out of curiosity. There are plenty of pictures available for those who want to do a little research, some reports indicate bottles filled with bodily fluids being hurled instead of water. I even have a personal source from Charlottesville, a University of Virginia student who watched the action from a safe, yet nearby, place.
So, take a "chill pill", Gainesville and let the man speak. His despicable views will ultimately show him for what he is and, besides, his number of followers isn't even large enough to elect a single Congressman. Stay home, avoid the confrontation from both sides, and the police presence will take care of the rest.
Remember, if you take an offensive action against the body of a police officer, you will be the loser. They have a job to do and if necessary they will do what is necessary to quell the problem and yes, sometimes that requires physical force. Why not, instead, stay away, avoid the confrontation and do something positive for mankind? Entering a potential riot never does that.
As for me, I'll stay home and pray for calmer heads to prevail. Beside, I'm too old to get in the middle of a mob, nor do I have any inclination to do so. There are too many things of beauty in the land around me to waste a beautiful day getting worked up over anyone filled with hate.