Days after the threat of leftist violence forced Ann Coulter to cancel a planned speech at the University of California-Berkeley, a student senator told the school newspaper the presence of so many police officers on campus is traumatizing to minority students.
Juniper Angelica Cordova-Goff told the Daily Californian in an email that the police’s “continued, heightened presence re-traumatizes students who come from communities with complicated relationships to the state.”
Jeff Roorda, a retired police officer who now serves as business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, classified Cordova-Goff’s complaint as being among “the petty slights of the hypersensitive.”
He reminded her of what real trauma would be like.
“What is really traumatizing are bullets from the guns of criminals,” Roorda told WND. “That’s a lot more traumatizing than having a police officer there making sure you don’t get murdered by a criminal.”
In her comments to the school paper, Cordova-Goff wrote: “I do not think campus safety must rely on the police. I think [UCPD] must be active in recognizing the trauma their presence alone brings to some students and work to limit visibility while remaining an open resource to those who choose to use it.”
But it’s not a police department’s job to simply be there for those who choose to use it, according to Roorda. Rather, policing requires a visible presence in the community to prevent crime before it happens.
“We’re not the fire department,” Roorda said. “We don’t just show up as buildings burn down. The uniformed presence, more than anything else law enforcement does, is the number-one thing that we do that deters crime. It’s the fear of being apprehended and punished that keeps most people from doing crimes. I mean, we’ve got to deal with the rest of the knuckleheads who aren’t smart enough to be scared of that, but imagine what the world would look like if there was no fear of apprehension and punishment.”
Scott Greer, deputy editor at The Daily Caller and author of “No Campus For White Men: The Transformation of Higher Education Into Hateful Indoctrination,” views this student’s comment as a natural outgrowth of the modern American campus culture.
“It makes sense that campus activists would direct their ire against police, whom they see not as protection, but as an occupying army full of racists,” Greer told WND. “I’m actually surprised more groups have not called for similar ‘de-policing’ at other schools considering Black Lives Matter’s views on cops.”
He added: “Minority students of course would not be safer or happier if police left campus, but the idea seems great to some activists due to their blind hatred for police.”
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Roorda, who authored “The War on Police: How the Ferguson Effect is Making America Unsafe,” does not think Cordova-Goff speaks for most minority students or most minority Americans. He agrees with Greer that most minority students would not truly be happier if there were fewer police on their campus.
“In every neighborhood where law enforcement is, no matter what the racial makeup is, the majority of people there are happy to have the police presence, and they want the cops there, they want law enforcement doing its job,” Roorda asserted. “It’s this fringe-y element that thinks anarchy will bring peace that we can’t assuage, and that we can’t afford to assuage.”
Cordova-Goff also spoke out immediately after UC Berkeley officials canceled Coulter’s appearance on April 19. She told the Los Angeles Times she was glad the event was canceled because Coulter’s rhetoric targets “marginalized communities,” including African Americans, Latinos and LGBT students, who have a right to feel safe on their own campus.
“I don’t think that anyone’s free speech is being impaired,” said Cordova-Goff, a third-year student who was studying political science and Chicano studies. “I think sometimes the free speech amendment is used as a way to frame violent conversations as a matter of free speech.”
Her classification of Coulter’s rhetoric as a ‘violent conversation” also showcases an all-too-common modern campus mentality, Greer noted.
“To the offended students, what Coulter says is not just wrong, it’s hate speech,” he said. “And if somebody spews hate speech on campus, then minority students are going to get hurt…somehow. There’s no evidence to back up these claims – yet this justification is always used to shut down any speaker the demonstrators disagree with.”
The University of California Police Department posted more than 300 mutual aid officers around the Berkeley campus as a precaution after Coulter’s speech was canceled, according to The Blaze. Violent clashes between left-wing and right-wing protesters had already sprouted up in the area, and the police department feared more ferocious protests could be on the way.
Coulter initially planned to come to Berkeley anyway, but reversed course after the two campus groups sponsoring her appearance pulled their support, not wanting to jeopardize student safety.
Roorda said if he could talk to Cordova-Goff, he would tell her it’s not doing anybody any good to vilify the police.
“It’s exactly what’s wrong with the post-Ferguson environment: In all of these high-profile police encounters, all of the attention is paid to the police side of the encounter when what we know in looking more closely at these encounters is that the violence and the bad decision-making comes almost exclusively from the other side of the confrontation, and until we’re willing to address that side of the confrontation we’re never going to make any progress,” Roorda told WND. “But it’s easier to just pretend like it’s law enforcement’s problem and throw hundreds of millions of dollars toward body cameras and other police reforms than it is to create opportunity for kids that live in the inner city.”