Okay, the press has gone a little nuts. I was there, this is what really happened.
Some crazy bitch was invited by the Young Conservatives or something to speak in Ottawa and a UofO building was picked as the venue. This was probably a bad idea as it is a school building with little to no security and multiple entrances and exits. Secondly, it was organized by a STUDENTS group. Last night was not a "threat to security" but a "lack of organization" and "overreaction by media".
My friend Megan and I love crazy people, so when we heard Ann Coulter was going to speak on campus we thought we hit the Crazy Jackpot. There was a website telling us to register via email if we were students. So we did. When we got to campus there was a big snaking line around the building. So we joined the line and playfully made fun of Coulter with everyone around us.
Once we got close to the building we were told by "Coulter in Canada" organizers (of which there were only around three) that there were three lines. One line for non-students who need to pay, one line for students who have registered and received a confirmation and one line for students who haven't received a confirmation. We were in the third line. So yay. Except the "lines" looked like this:
So already, we have the makings of an angry mob. Later, a small group of protesters (they looked like CFS members who the majority of the university abhors) came to chant about getting Ann Coulter off campus and how hate speech isn't welcome, etc etc etc.... The people in the line/mob pretty much just laughed them off (conservatives and liberals) and the occasional angry conservative would start a "free speech" chant, but it was really quite tame. People joked about Coulter's laser eyes, etc. The protester's most violent move was banging on the wall and playing an irritating high pitched siren.
At one point, they all rushed into the main lobby and then the rest of the "lines" started squeezing in too. Megan and I were kind of in the middle of the line so we just kind of were swept up with the line into the auditorium. There was one idiot person in a jean jacket who rushed to the front of the crowd saying: "Medical emergency! Medical emergency!" and then when she got up there they were like: "psyche!" and of course this person was a bucket of laughs the rest of the evening. They would occasionally shout: "RUSH THE DOORS". People just gave her the raised eyebrows. At this point, Jane took a lovely photo of the crowd:
People were still jovial and nobody was really pissed off. The people at the front of the crowd started making ridiculous rumours to send back down the line. Example, Omg! Obama and Coulter are having a debate in there! and Somebody just streaked the stage! Of course, Coulter wasn't even in the auditorium at this point.
Unless there was some kind of violence that nobody saw, I hadn't seen anything except for mild squishing. If anybody who was there saw a brick go through a window, or a fight break out, let me know. But I just saw a big crowd. The majority of whom were actually waiting to see Ann Coulter, not to protest her presence. I would say the group of protesters was around twenty people, maximum. And there is no way in hell that two thousand people were there. MAYBE a thousand, but more like 600. The reason the event was cancelled was because the organizers assumed that only about 400 people would show up. Not because there was a "security threat" as the majority of news casters seem to be reporting.
If the reason that the CoulterCon was cancelled was due to threats of physical violence, I'd like to point out the hypocrisy of it all (as has every other commentator). Free speech for everybody except idiots? Unfortunately that's not how it works. If you believe in free speech, you've got to believe that even people with the opposite opinion to yours can spout their nonsense. Unfortunately, the events of last night worked in Coulter's favour. If she had gone on with her speech, made an ass of herself, and the media reported the evil and hateful things she was saying, people would have just laughed her off and no more would have been said. Now I've heard about her on EVERY news show and The goddamn View this morning. (For the record, Whoopi thinks we were exercising our rights as students to kick her off campus and Hasselbeck think that humanity is dead or something).
I'll leave you with the National Post's report on the American assessment to our reaction to Ann Coulter in Canada.