Controversial columnist and media figure Ann Coulter is scheduled to give a free talk at the University of Colorado Boulder campus on Wednesday, March 21, and campus officials will no doubt spend the time between now and then preparing for potential trouble.
After all, the outfit sponsoring Coulter's appearance is Turning Point USA, the same right-wing organization behind Milo Yiannopoulos's January 2017 appearance at CU Boulder, which was marked by multiple arrests and doxing threats later deemed to have been an inside job, and a February CSU event that led to a clash between Antifa protesters and white supremacists.
Among the groups already preparing for Coulter's arrival is the Northern Colorado Relief Coalition, which posted the following on its Facebook page: "The same chapter of Turning Point USA that invited Milo Yiannopoulos to CU Boulder last year is now inviting Ann Coulter to speak. We are disgusted beyond words that any group would choose to bring Coulter (a blatant bigot, racist, Islamophobe, Western chauvinist, misogynist and anti-Semite) to speak. Coulter is not welcome in Colorado!"
As we've reported, Turning Point USA's website says its mission is "to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government."
But while the group tries to portray itself as mainstream, critics consider its members to be virulent hate-spewers who fuel racial division and unrest.
No wonder passions were so high outside Yiannopoulos's address at CU Boulder last year, when his minions baited those who turned up to decry him by ripping signs from their hands or holding up placards that mocked them.
That's not to mention a threatening e-mail posted on "the_donald" Reddit page (Twitter handle: @theDonaldReddit). The unedited intro reads: "I go to CU Boulder, and got a student ticket to see Milo Yiannopoulos speak tonight. I, along with all ticketholders, just got this disgusting email. The Liberals trying to shut him down tonight don't understand the irony of protesting against fascism as they shut down other opinions. Sad!"
Here's the e-mail, which stated in part: "We know who you are, tonight we will know your faces. The identities of attendees will be released to the public on a list of known Neo-Nazi sympathizers. We do not tolerate fascists."
Yiannopoulos supporters quickly suggested that they'd been the victims of an online hack. But CU Police Department Public Information Officer Scott Pribble later told Westword, "We have learned that the College Republicans student organization sent an e-mail Monday to attendees with event information, but those attendees’ e-mail addresses were listed in the ‘To’ field and not blind carbon-copied."
As a result, Pribble continued, "We believe that someone on that list sent or helped to send an offensive e-mail to the rest of the recipients. While CUPD is still investigating, at this time they do not believe an online hack occurred."
More protests took place the following March, at a Turning Point USA Conference in downtown Denver. But this response didn't dissuade TPUSA founder and executive director Charlie Kirk from scheduling a chat at CSU's Lory Student Center on February 2.
According to an account of what went down by the Denver General Defense Committee, a progressive group affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies, the resulting protest began as "almost entirely peaceful," with "a small presence of Young Republicans, Proud Boys and other fascist groups" limiting their engagement with counter-protesters to invective.
That changed around 9 p.m. on the 2nd with the arrival of a contingent from the Traditionalist Worker Party, which is widely believed to hold white-supremacist views. "Police formed a line blocking the north side of the plaza and, to the confusion of everyone in attendance, declared over a loudspeaker that this was an unlawful assembly and that everyone had to disperse or face police action. The protest itself was winding down, so there was little reason to announce this," the piece states.
"Immediately after declaring the protest an unlawful assembly, approximately a dozen members of the TWP appeared on the opposite side of the plaza wearing riot gear masks and carrying large metal flashlights and a flag with a neo-Nazi symbol on it," the article goes on. "Earlier in the night, police had combed through the anti-racist protesters and took away canes, flag poles and harassed a medic for carrying trauma shears because these items 'could be used as weapons.' Police made no clear effort to disarm the TWP, demonstrating a double-standard and destroying the illusion of impartiality."
Shortly thereafter, the GDC story posits that police tactics involving a "long range acoustic device" squeezed the protesters between the cops and the TWP forces, which then "attacked members of the crowd with their shields and flashlights. Some protestors were injured, including a member of the Denver Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World and General Defense Committee. This fellow worker sustained injuries to the head that required sutures."
These and other wounds went unacknowledged by the CSU police department, which made no arrests and stated that the only person hurt was an officer whose ATV "hit a patch of ice and tipped to its side."
As for Coulter, one person posting on the Facebook event page for the March 21 address offers an indication of what kind of greeting she may receive from non-supporters.
"Ann Coulter is a racist bigot who is absolutely fine with murder and genocide," the item begins. "The fact that TPUSA invited her is disgusting and the University of Colorado Boulder should be ashamed to host this purveyor of hate speech. #NoPlatform."
Accompanying these assertions are the following quotes from Coulter:
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"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." — This is War, Townhall, 12 September 2001
"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building." — Deliberately provocative remark, as quoted in "Coultergeist" by George Gurley at The Observer (25 August 2002). The interviewer then told her that she should be careful, and she agreed: "You’re right, after 9/11 I shouldn’t say that." Later, in "An Interview With Ann Coulter" by John Hawkins (26 June 2003), she also stated, "Of course I regret it. I should have added, 'after everyone had left the building except the editors and reporters.'"
"I'm getting a little fed up with hearing about, oh, civilian casualties. I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning." — Interview with George Gurley in The New York Observer (10 January 2005)
The Turning Point USA blurb about Coulter's stop in Colorado strikes a very different note.
"Please join Turning Point USA at CU Boulder as they host best-selling author and renowned political commentator Ann Coulter," it reads. "After Ann was unjustly kicked off of the UC Berkley campus, she is ready to take on the current political climate we face today."
If past is prelude, she may have to deal with plenty of other things, too.