Opinion: Memo to UC Berkeley protesters: Violence doesn’t help your cause

Demonstrators protest at UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza against a scheduled appearance by Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos.

Demonstrators protest at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza against a scheduled appearance by Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos.

(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

To the editor: Protesters engaging in destruction fail Gandhi’s well-proven lesson: Nonviolent civil disobedience plainly reveals brutality of the opposition or authorities and legitimately garners public support for the principled protesters. For example, the images of carnage on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 remain fresh today. (“UC Berkeley — home of the free speech movement — finds itself under fire from left, right and Trump,” Feb. 2)

It takes more courage to stand peacefully in the face of brutality, thereby revealing it, than to violently silence those whose words are abhorrent. Bad ideas succumb only to better ones, not to violence.

Those opposing President Trump need more of our numbers to be thoughtful, get serious and own the principled, thoughtful side of the conflict while exposing the weakness and brutality of the administration. And when some among you veer into violence, walk away and let them be exposed too. Then the public shall see who are the adults in the room.


Much is at stake, for everyone.

David R. Fertig, Pasadena


To the editor: If UC Berkeley officials are correct and the rioters Wednesday night were not students, why did the students who wanted to peacefully protest conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos not stop the outsiders?

Why did they allow them to hide in their crowd? Why did they not start grabbing rioters and turning them over to the police? By failing to do this, they supported those who believe they have the right to destroy other people’s property and commit acts of violence against them. And this invalidates everything they are supposed to stand for.

Shame on you, UC Berkeley students.

Tim Watts, Livermore, Calif.


To the editor: As abhorrent and ridiculous as I find Yiannopoulus, I don’t think he deserves fiery protests. Being the center of attention is his only interest. Had he spoken without incident, he would not have met his goal.

I hope UC Berkeley students will get back to fighting for things that matter.

Christina Hosmer, Laguna Niguel


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