I appreciate the tough decision that University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce had to make about allowing controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at the university. I applaud her courage, but am disheartened about the behavior of the demonstrators. I guess we are lucky compared to what happened this week at UC Berkley, where his event was canceled and damage was done to the university.
I fully support those that wish to assemble, demonstrate and protest, but fear that their message and events are now being taken over by those that intend to cause damage and harm. It is a right given by the US Constitution and I have sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution. I just wonder how many individuals out there understand that with rights come responsibility. The right to assemble, demonstrate and protest includes the responsibility of not becoming violent, causing harm to others, or damage to property.
I do not mind being inconvenienced by those marching in the road, blocking a path, and such. It causes those of us that may not be aware of the issue at hand to think about it and become more aware if necessary. Yet when it becomes violent, the message is lost and possible support may be gone. I am sure that those doing the peaceful part are just trying to get a message out, but that message is overshadowed by violence that has occurred. Their peaceful protest has now become a venue for those that wish to cause damage. This is the equivalent of a group using women and children as human shields, such as Al Qaeda and ISIS do.
I hope that those organizing these protests are learning from these experiences and will do something to stop being turned into pawns for those that wish to cause damage. I would hope that the organizers will find a way to take their power back and work with law enforcement in stopping the ones that wish to use their peaceful protest to cause violence. Educate and advise those involved with the event to open up their ranks so law enforcement can remove the ones causing damage. Or ask them to assist with identifying those individuals later. Take back the power of your assembly to get a message out and not lose the possibility of gaining support from those that have become aware of your message.
Brian G. Hess