The Left Responds to Speech with Violence Once Again

Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines has become well-known for her outspoken activism in defense of women's sports and sex-protected spaces. Last week, she was met with opposition while giving a speech at San Francisco State University. This is to be expected on a liberal college campus, but National Review reports that radical Leftist protestors in attendance expressed their opposition through violence instead of through exercising their right to protest peacefully:

Turning Point USA and Leadership Institute invited Gaines to speak at an event on the SFSU campus exploring women’s athletics and the inequalities that female competitors could face against transgender opponents.

Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer from the University of Kentucky, was reportedly forced to barricade herself in a room for three hours for her own safety when student protesters became violent and unruly.

“She told me she was hit multiple times by a guy in a dress. I was shaking. It made me that mad. It makes me sick to feel so helpless about it,” Gaines’s husband, Louis Barker, told Fox News. “She was under police protection and was still hit by a man wearing a dress.”

Unfortunately, this is a pattern that has become all too familiar, especially in higher education. Speech that students don't agree with is met with harassment and intimidation.

In an op-ed for the New York Post, Brad Polumbo writes

Nonpartisan free-speech groups like the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression are already condemning this incident. FIRE Program Officer Amanda Nordstrom said, “Mob censorship is never an appropriate reaction to speech, even and especially speech that some consider controversial, and the First Amendment does not protect silencing speakers via disruption. Public universities have a non-negotiable duty to ensure protected speech can occur on campus — without violence or intimidation.”

This is exactly right. It shouldn’t matter what your views are on the questions surrounding transgender inclusion in sports. It’s never acceptable to use mob intimidation or violence to shut down speech you disagree with. Everyone has the right to express themselves without fearing for their physical safety — especially on a public college campus that is legally bound by the First Amendment to respect and protect this right. 

Beyond the free speech concerns, the attack on Gaines is especially poignant. As the Independent Women's Forum's Kelsey Bolar noted, things have been turned so upside down in today's society that feminism is "where violence against women is not just acceptable, but encouraged"

The Washington Free Beacon explains that Gaines is now considering legal action against the university:

"The campus police did nothing. The dean of students was there and did nothing," Gaines said. "There will be no repercussions unless I have something to do with it."

Gaines also slammed an administrator at San Francisco State who praised the protest in a university statement while leaving the alleged assault unmentioned. 

"I am also proud of the moments when our students demonstrated the value of free speech and the right to protest peacefully," vice president for student affairs Jamillah Moore said in an email to students. "It took tremendous bravery to stand in a challenging space."

"I'm sorry did this just say PEACEFUL.... I was assaulted," Gaines said in response to Moore's statement. "I was extorted and held for random. The protestors demanded I pay them if I wanted to make it home safely. I missed my flight home because I was barricaded in a classroom. We must have different definitions of peaceful."

The ends always justify the means for the radical Left, and last week's unacceptable attack on Riley Gaines was no different.