The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

University President Repudiates Professor’s Violent Anti-NRA Messages UPDATE: Associated Press Article Whitewashes Loomis Scandal

Posted on | December 19, 2012 | 55 Comments

University of Rhode Island Professor Erik Loomis

An assistant history professor whose angry Twitter rants against the National Rifle Association caused an online controvery this week “does not speak on behalf of the University [of Rhode Island],” the institution’s president declared yesterday.

Erik Loomis, a progressive blogger who teaches history at URI, was widely criticized for messages he posted on his Twitter social-networking account, calling the NRA a “terrorist organization” and saying he wanted the gun-right group’s CEO’s “head on a stick.” Loomis’s obscenity-laced tirade, inspired by last week’s school shooting in Connecticut, was highlighted by the non-profit group Campus Reform.

“The University of Rhode Island does not condone acts or threats of violence,” university president Dr. David M. Dooley wrote in a message sent yesterday. “These remarks do not reflect the views of the institution and Erik Loomis does not speak on behalf of the University. The University is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and equitable culture that aspires to promote positive change.”

Dooley’s repudiation of Loomis’s comments came in the wake of widespread attention from conservative bloggers to a series of Twitter messages the professor sent Friday after a mentally ill man killed 20 children and seven adults in Connecticut before committing suicide.

“Loomis not only blamed [the NRA’s Wayne] LaPierre for the shooting in Newtown, Conn., but Republicans everywhere,” Laura Byrne of Red Alert Politics wrote. “[Loomis] proceeded to send multiple tweets dropping the F-bomb directed at the GOP, LaPierre and the NRA . . . Loomis advocated immediately politicizing this heart-breaking tragedy in another vulgar tweet containing the f-word.”

After Campus Reform’s Oliver Darcy reported Monday on the professor’s online rant, Loomis mocked Darcy as a “David Horowitz wannabe,” a reference to the former 1960s New Left radical who has become a prominent conservative intellectual and frequent critic of academic leftism. Loomis ridiculed his critics as “right-wing morons” who were too stupid to understand his comments as a “metaphor.”

Darcy’s report on Loomis’s comments quickly attracted notice from leading bloggers, including University of Tennessee Law Professor Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds and Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection site, as well as American Thinker and others collected by the blog-aggregation site Memeorandum. Yet Loomis continued to treat the controversy as a joke, writing a sarcastic post at a liberal blog with the title, “Fame, I Wanna Live Forever,” remarking that “metaphor is really, really hard for conservatives to understand.”

However, as Loomis acknowledged, complaints about his violent rhetoric drew attention from Rhode Island State Police and required him to attend a meeting with a university dean. And his mocking attitude toward the controversy ended Tuesday after Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site pointed out that Loomis had re-Tweeted an especially obnoxious message: “First f–ker to say the solution is for elementary school teachers to carry guns needs to get beaten to death.”

Twitchy also noted that in 2011, Loomis had condemned former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s use of “violent rhetoric.” Tuesday afternoon, Loomis deleted his Twitter account, and the University of Rhode Island president issued his statement — addressed to the “university community” — repudiating the professor’s messages.

After his remarks first provoked a public backlash this week, Loomis had claimed he was the victim of “right-wing intimidation.” Tuesday night, in a blog post that continued this theme, Professor Loomis was still attempting to shift responsibility for the controversy onto his critics: “I am too tired to post anything coherently. With the death threats, it’s been a bit crazy. I can assure all of you that I will not be intimidated.”



UPDATE: Professor Donald Douglas writes that, before Loomis deleted his Twitter account, it “was practically flooded with blood from all the violent tweets and retweets he’d been sending out. It looked literally as if he’d blown a gasket, losing complete control of his faculties. At that point it became no longer a free speech issue but a public safety issue.”

Indeed, Loomis seemed to be emotionally unbalanced.

UPDATE II: Erika Niedowski of the Associated Press writes a news article about dishonest one-sided whitewash of Professor Loomis’s demented and offensive comments. It is genuinely scandalous that Loomis is employed at taxpayer expense, but the AP evidently doesn’t want anyone to know what this deranged academic actually said.


UPDATE III: Michael Graham is “not a super-smart campus liberal like Erik Loomis” (and there is no lifetime tenure for talk-radio hosts).

Also, Easily Annoyed Law Blogger Is Easily Annoyed.



  • Zilla of the Resistance

    Professor Loomis was still attempting to shift responsibility for the controversy onto his critics:
    “I am too tired to post anything coherently. With the death threats,
    it’s been a bit crazy. I can assure all of you that I will not be

    Accuse the accusers! Leftism is a mental disorder.

  • Alamo City Pundit

    Stnading by for Firing the Academic Dweeb, in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . . .

  • Red Dawn

    Still waiting. I suspect it may be awhile.

  • Film Ladd

    “The University is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and equitable culture that aspires to promote positive change.”

    While reading this, I had no beef with “safe,” no beef with “inclusive” (although we’re starting to get a bit iffy), no beef with “equitable” (although this word has often by hijacked to mean the opposite of its original meaning), but then saw the statement go completely off the rails at the end.

    I’d rather go to a University that aspires to promote my higher education, wouldn’t you?

    If I’m a student there, I’m not paying them tuition so that they can “promote positive change.”

    What the hell is that? What does it mean?

    No, I’m paying them tuition so I can prove to the world with my diploma that I’m educated, and marginally more employable than the other person who doesn’t have a diploma.

  • Dai Alanye

    “metaphor is really, really hard for conservatives to understand.”

    With Loomis and liberals like him, the term ought to be “metafive” in the spirit of Victor Borge, since gross exaggeration is a key part of their critiques.

  • JeffS

    Lefties always hate the taste of their own words.

    Their feet, however, those they they love the taste of.

  • K-Bob

    Oh come on! Next you’ll be telling us you don’t know what “social justice” means.

  • K-Bob

    In over the transom:


    This is a good time to declare you are a Native American

    — Ward Churchill

  • Bob Belvedere

    Any fan of Victor Borge is all right with me.

  • Combatvet67_71USArmy

    If Loomis is an example of the intellectual quality of URI Asst Profs, the students would be well advised to transfer. He runs off at the mouth then blames others for his own idiocy. He’s a loser.

  • Taxpayer1234

    Ew. He even looks like a dickweasel douchebag.

  • Taxpayer1234


  • Neo

    “These remarks do not reflect the views of the institution and Erik Loomis does not speak on behalf of the University. The University is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and equitable culture that aspires to promote positive change.”

    Part of being “inclusive” demands having to “embrace the horror” of idiots like Erik Loomis on the staff of the University.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Is it just me, or does he look like the demented cousin of Jim Carrey’s The Riddler?

  • alibaba

    sounds like someone who is on the edge and a threat to the public!

  • Adjoran

    He looks like a nut who belongs in an institution.

    If they put bars on RIU, they can keep the fruitcake.

  • JeffS

    Indeed, Loomis seemed to be emotionally unbalanced.

    Just thinking ahead here, but ….. how restrictive are Rhode Island gun laws?

  • Film Ladd

    It’s a point that should be mentioned at every opportunity – these institutions have no idea why they even exist.

  • Pell

    This weirdo’s picture smacks of someone mentally disturbed

  • K-Bob

    Yes. And we should make more of those opportunities. It’s time to flood the zone (hmmm. I just realized I hate that cliche) with pushback on these clowns.

  • richard mcenroe

    Look at that face. Another smug, arrogant, ignorant manchild…

  • Liberty At’Stake

    So, does the unhinged lunatic retain his cushy perch in the faculty lounge?

  • richard mcenroe

    Interestingly, from what Deborah Leigh heard from the university, Loomis is not tenured…

  • JeffS

    Associated (with terrorists) Press whitewashing what Loomis said? Color me (un)surprised.

  • Becca Lower

    It’s important that this update was added. Liberal bias used in the service of stealing taxpayers’ hard-earned money is disgusting and needs to be called out.

  • 20thCenturyVole

    Why no, I don’t care about the opinion of some dickhead History Prof at a cow-town college in a microscopic state. Why do you ask?

  • Quartermaster


  • Wombat_socho

    +1 for Victor Borge reference.

  • Wombat_socho

    If he doesn’t have tenure, URI may decide to just fire him to stop the PR bleeding.

  • Coffeepot

    This guy is violent. He should be removed until he is approved for return by a psychologist. End of story.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Did Loomis ever say if he was a top or bottom “lumberjack”? I am guessing a bottom.

  • Becca Lower

    I kinda thought he looked like Matt “I’m in an anti-fracking movie funded by foreign oil co.s” Damon myself.

  • Matthew W

    DAMN !!!
    Wish you hadn’t posted his picture

  • Finrod Felagund

    Heh, now you’re making me flash back to “Team America: World Police”.

  • pabarge

    click to look at Erica who used to be an editor at The Hill. Never forget that The Hill is part of the vast left-wing MSM complex.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    I suspect Loomis also likes his feet in the air…but in a manly lumberjack camp follower sort of way.

  • Becca Lower

    You’re welcome!

  • K-Bob

    I am too tired to post anything coherently. With the death threats, it’s been a bit crazy. I can assure all of you that I will not be intimidated.

    Of course, you won’t, Erik old buddy. You and your demented friends on the left are the ones trying to intimidate law-abiding citizens. And it ain’t working.


  • JeffS

    I’ll be he loves saying “BOTTOMS UP!” in bars.

  • slp

    As an assistant professor, Loomis does not have tenure.

    It appears from his Twitter outburst that he is, at times, mentally unbalanced.

    One can only hope that he never gets tenure anywhere, any time.

  • Badger Pundit


    Over at “Crooked Timber,” a highly respected academic blog, eight professors have posted a statement arguing that “academic freedom” is being jeopardized by what they characterize as a “witch hunt” against Professor Erik Loomis. Here is their statement:

    I’m trying to determine what “academic freedom” interest they’re defending, but it seems they don’t want to tell me. Especially for academics, they seem remarkably uninterested in competing views. Their blog is set up so that comments are moderated. A comment I left over an hour ago was never approved. I just tried posting another, different comment, and it was rejected immediately, so it appears they’ve banned me from their site, even though I authored the most detailed examination of Professor Loomis’s academic work written during the last several days (a review of his Ph.D dissertation, posted by Mr. McCain late last night).

    Meanwhile, as of 5:30 p.m. today Eastern time, the Crooked Timber bloggers had approved 150 comments, all positive.

    Given that the academics currently mounting the principal defense of Professor Loomis apparently are trying to duck an exchange of views (just as, ironically, Professor Loomis did by deleting the Twitter account which his critics were using to express their disagreement with him), I’m posting here the comment that “Crooked Timber” just rejected. If it’s of value, perhaps Mr. McCain can promote it to a guest post, which might increase the odds that someone at Crooked Timber will be kind enough to offer a response.


    I don’t understand what issue of ACADEMIC FREEDOM you’re addressing. I’d appreciate if you could clarify this.

    My understanding is that: (1) Professor Loomis teaches American history; (2) he frequently wrote on a PRIVATE Twitter account (not affiliated with his university) about matters not bearing on his academic responsibilities (e.g., politics, current events, football); and (3) a controversy arose about certain tweets related to the recent school shooting — ones which, obviously, don’t relate to his official duties.

    Now, I understand that the controversy over his PRIVATE conduct might have implications for whether or not the university renews whatever contract it has with him, and/or ends up granting him tenure. But what does that have to do with academic freedom, that is, the ability of a member of the academy to freely write and speak within one’s academic field, even if one’s views in that field are seen by some as controversial?

    Not infrequently these days, someone engages in controversial private behavior which comes to wide attention on the internet, and ends up loses his or her job as a result. For example, a women at a private company in Massachusetts was fired last month because of a Facebook photo of her acting disrespectfully at the Tomb of the Unknowns. What is the interest of academics, generally, in taking sides in a controversy over the PRIVATE behavior of someone who happens to work at a university, regarding whether or not that behavior should lead to a change in job status?

    If there really isn’t an issue involving academic freedom here, just be up front and say so. I find nothing wrong with you and others saying you know and respect Professor Loomis, and that you don’t think his recent private conduct should lead the university to change his job status. What I don’t understand is the statement that some issue of academic freedom is involved.

    Your statement mentions your concern about academic freedom AND freedom of speech. Just because the private conduct at issue happened to involve SPEECH about current affairs doesn’t seem to add anything here, if your institutional concern is about freedom of speech within a university setting. All that is involved here is one’s freedom of expression in one’s private life, when commenting on topics of private interest (that is, not falling within one’s academic field). Professor Loomis’s expression on Twitter seems no different in kind from the expression by the Massachusetts women on Facebook (the controversial photo), which got her fired as the price of her private exercise of the freedom of expression.

    I appreciate your offering the opportunity to comment. Thanks for your consideration.

  • Pingback: Obesity? Oh, that's not your fault, either. Blame this Bacteria! - Lowering the Boom()

  • Quartermaster

    I have met tenured Asst. Profs. It depends on the institution whether there is an automatic promotion to associate upon receiving tenure.

  • ThomasD

    Sure they do.

    1. Protect their phoney-baloney jobs.

    2. Inculcate future leftists

    They are the like the clerisy of the middle ages – the ones who sat back and watched while the Inquisition suppressed free thought and heresy against the orthodoxy.

  • Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » I KNOW I HAVEN’T: Don’t get too excited about Professor Loomis. “Professor Loomis’ vivid tweets ar…()

  • Paul H. Lemmen

    I just wonder if he wears those ridiculous looking “hipster” glasses for the image or because they restrict his vision to the narrow world he inhabits, where there is no up or down and anything outside the very narrow angle of his self-absorbed field of vision?

  • Dave Ivers

    I was thinking that he looks like the typical metrosexual who should have a douchebeard and his metaphorical ass kicked frequently. Except he’d probably like it.

  • Pingback: #Metaphor: Academics Sign Their Own Death Warrants by Defending Loomis : The Other McCain()

  • sharinite

    Why do progs always have to look so dorky and stupid? Please! However, it is a fact that 95-98% of academia is so extreme leftwing progressives aka democrats nee marxists that of course they support this imbecile….the thought that he actually might be in a classroom is disgusting. Hate is hate and he is more responsible for Lanzas than the average citizen in this country. It is probably because he is as deranged as Lanza was…clown, as are his supporters!!!

  • sharinite

    I know, his supporters death threats to anyone who doesn’t go along! Talk about wacky!