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.
- Dec. 18: He’s a Lumberjack, and He’s OK: The Wobbly Scholarship of Erik Loomis, Ph.D.
- Dec. 18: Herbert Marcuse, Wile E. Coyote and the Auto-Beclownment of Erik Loomis, Ph.D.
- Dec. 18: Is It ‘Metaphor’ to Suggest Erik Loomis Should Be Sodomized by Orangutangs? UPDATE: Is Professor ‘Head on a Stick’ Now Under State Police Protection?