In an op-ed for USA Today published Wednesday, Hayden Williams, a conservative activist assaulted on the University of California-Berkeley campus two weeks ago, explains what triggered the attack and offers his perspective on why the suspect felt compelled to resort to violence against him.
“Students are commonly told now that words are literally violent and can be responded to with physical force,” Williams writes. “I don’t mean verbal threats of violence or efforts to intimidate, I mean words that express ideas that the listener finds offensive or disagrees with.”
The result: “Increasingly, leftists believe they are justified to respond to ideas disagreeable to them with open hostility and even force.”
The man charged with assaulting him — who pleaded not guilty Wednesday, despite video evidence and corroborating eyewitness accounts of his violent actions — felt empowered to use physical force to suppress a minority viewpoint on campus, conservatism, Williams suggest.
“The message that provoked my attacker was our sign that read ‘Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims,’ a reference to the recent case of Jussie Smollett, who was charged by Chicago police with filing a false police report about an apparently fictitious attack,” Williams explains. “My attacker said we were promoting violence, which, in his view, gives him permission to use any means necessary to shut us down. The irony is that the sign was intended to warn of the danger of disregarding facts and jumping to judgment in an effort to confirm a narrative our feelings tell us is true.” – READ MORE