Gov. Ronald Reagan Taught Us How to Deal With Rioters, Deceptive Media Way Back in 1969

(AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers)
AP featured image
Former President Ronald Reagan appears on a railcar platform making a speech during a whistle stop on the campaign trail, but as a hologram, on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. The Reagan Library says it worked with the same Hollywood special effects wizards who helped bring singers Michael Jackson, Maria Callas and Roy Orbison back to life on stage. Officials say the goal is to allow visitors to see Reagan back in the Oval Office, campaigning or at his beloved ranch. (AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers)


To the chagrin of people who value stability over chaos and the rule of law over anarchy, participants in this year’s “peaceful protests” haven’t been held accountable for their actions or even chastised for being out in large crowds and not socially distancing during a pandemic – because they’re participating in an Approved Social Justice Activity™.

For years leftists have held “rallies “or marches at which they verbally and sometimes physically harassed people who disagreed with them or outright banned dissenting thought and the media have dismissed any thought of holding people accountable for their actions or upholding the rule of law. That trend worsened during Donald Trump’s presidency courtesy of Antifa, with “protesters” showing up as if they’re going to battle and physically assaulting those who don’t agree with them or even just senior citizens who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Still, people in the leftist media and in academia refuse to condemn the lawless, un-American assaults.

As it has in almost every area of life, 2020 has taken that trend to a new level and it seems that the only “crime” leftists want to prosecute is the crime of wanting to charge “protesters” with crimes – making us wonder how society has fallen so far.


It turns out that this excuse of “you can’t prosecute them because they were protesting social injustice!” is a holdover from the 1960’s. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan dealt with the ongoing protests at UC Berkeley and even with professors who stood up for students/hangers-on who tried to take over state-owned land through adverse possession and turn it into a People’s Park.

When Berkeley officials gave the students and protesters a few days’ notice that construction would begin on the university’s planned sports facility at the site (so they could get their s**t out of the way), the protest leaders vowed to “physically destroy the university” if construction moved forward.

Reagan wasn’t having any of that.

In the early morning hours of May 15, 1969, Reagan sent California Highway Patrol and Berkeley police officers to secure an 8-block perimeter around the park while a chain-link fence was constructed. Around noon that day, during a protest at another area of campus, the topic of the People’s Park came up and the Student Body President shouted, “Let’s take the park!” The crowd then stormed toward the park chanting, “We want the park!”

Eventually, over 6,000 rioters jammed the area. Law enforcement officers were outnumbered at the start and were forced to retreat; the rioters set their patrol cars ablaze. Additional officers were called in from adjacent areas, and when all was said and done one rioter was killed and 128 injured in the melee, and 111 law enforcement officers were injured (one of whom was stabbed in the chest).


A week later the group of Berkeley professors met with Gov. Reagan in Sacramento, acting as if he and the police officers were in the wrong. Here’s how he dealt with them, as shared by Reagan Battalion on Twitter.

One professor whined that they’d offered to negotiate many times, and Reagan’s scoffing reply shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s followed his career:

What is to negotiate?

(See, the air traffic controllers and terrorists should have been forewarned.)

The professor kept at it, claiming that as a public university the community of Berkeley had some say-so in how the land was used. Reagan shut him down in the way I wish more leaders would shut down members of the left-wing press and groveling elected officials:

All of it began the first time some of you who know better and are old enough to know better let young people think that they had the right to choose the laws they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest.

But he had more:

I’m sick and tired of the argument about whether some effort to enforce law and order is going to escalate anything at all. The plain truth of the matter is, this has to stop, and it has to stop like the day before yesterday. And it’s going to be stopped, whatever it takes.


Don’t miss the bonus joke at the end:

I was picketed a few days ago in California by some youngsters that had signs that said, “Make Love, Not War.” The trouble is, they didn’t look like they were capable of doing either.

And that, friends, is why Reagan is known as the Great Communicator.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos