Wednesday was an exciting day in politics for Omaha as Ben Shapiro, host of the popular podcast and editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire came to speak at Creighton. Turning Point USA (TPUSA), who had a new chapter recently formed at Creighton University, sponsored the event. general admission tickets were available on January 31 but sold out within a couple hours, and there was still so strong a demand for seats that people were offering cash money for tickets on the TPUSA Facebook Page up until the day of the event.
I was ready to grab tickets once they became available, and then I showed up a couple hours before the doors opened to get a good seat inside (along with a a few dozen of other people). We arrived just as a busload of security personnel showed up to secure the event. There were also officers stationed on rooftops and on horseback, while several others with full riot gear assembled, looking prepared for trouble. It was truly bizarre, particularly since only TWO protesters showed up — with a single sign to share between them.
Inside, there were 1900+ other people gathered for the “sold out” event, some of whom sponsored the event and got good seats down on the floor. (Some also got to take pictures with Ben Shapiro at a private meet-and-greet beforehand in the Old Market.) Such noteworthy VIPs included Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and several state senators in the front row. As one of the many attending for free, my seats was up a few rows into the bleachers, stage right.
The event itself started about an hour late, but then Ben Shapiro came out to a very enthusiastic crowd around 9:20. He gave a half-hour talk that focused on the Second Amendment in the wake of the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida. Shapiro outlined the rights stated in the Constitution and laid out a bullet point plan on how to prevent future shootings, one of which involved not publicizing the name of the shooter. After his talk, Shapiro had about half an hour of Q&A, most of which also involved the second amendment but also included a few pointed questions from a liberal guy and more questions (and an “air high five”) from a guy I’m pretty sure was stoned.
It was an exciting event, though I had to go back to the live stream of the speech to catch everything Shapiro said, as the acoustics in the arena made it difficult to hear (and I spent half the time taking photos, of course). Mostly, I was amazed to see how many young conservatives there were who not only came to the event but also helped to organize it. The absolute overkill with security was amusing too, of course. Creighton University is most definitely not UC Berkeley.
Video from the event (Q&A here)