Shot: The Wall was finally constructed — Chaser: At UC Berkeley

**Written by Doug Powers

Yesterday, construction began on “The Wall” — well, sort of — and it wasn’t along the US/Mexico border. Plot twist:

#UCBerkeley installing concrete k-rail barrier around Zellerbach. Expecting protests against @benshapiro speech tonight. @nbcbayarea

— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) September 14, 2017

And that was just for Ben Shapiro’s appearance at UC Berkeley. Security was very tight so as to ensure that nobody exercising First Amendment rights got their heads bashed in by pro-peace free speech advocates:

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro delivered his speech at the UC Berkeley campus under extraordinary security that required attendees to pass through metal detectors and police barricades that held back hundreds of protesters.

The event at Zellerbach Hall appeared to do what UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ has said she hoped for when she declared a free speech year on campus: provide an open exchange of ideas. Shapiro’s speech included a question-and-answer session in which audience members respectfully challenged his opinions.

Thanks to “Free Speech Week” coming up, that concrete barrier put up Thursday might get some more use later this month:

As part of its new commitment to embracing all views, the campus is playing host to the four-day long event, sponsored by the Berkeley Patriot, the on-campus conservative student newspaper. From September 24th through the 27th, Berkeley students will be treated to speeches from a number of controversial right-leaning speakers, including firebrand Ann Coulter and former White House senior adviser, Steve Bannon.

Each day will feature a different theme: “Feminism Awareness Day” on the 24th, “Islamic Peace and Tolerance Day” on Sept. 25, “ZUCK 2020” on Sept. 26, and “Mario Savio is Dead” on Sept. 27 (the late Mario Savio being a pioneer in Berkeley’s “free speech movement” in the 1960s, establishing the school as a hotbed of ideas and an incubator for often counter-cultural thought).

When you have to construct a Maginot Line for fear of violent backlash against free speech from people who call themselves “anti fascist” irony is so dead it can’t even be identified with dental records.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe