Dec. 20th, 2012

elbales: (Bitch please - BSG)
So on Friday, a University of Rhode Island prof named Eric Loomis expressed his outrage over the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, by tweeting, "I was heartbroken in the first 20 mass murders. Now I want Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick." (LaPierre is the head of the NRA.)

The right-wing punditry promptly shit concrete bricks... in spite of the fact that "head on a stick," like "heads will roll," has become a way of saying that there need to be consequences. A way that right-wing commentators use just as much as anyone else.

So someone then contacted the FBI and claimed that Loomis had threatened LaPierre's life, because that statement was so obviously a credible threat, and the RI State Police questioned Loomis, and then his dean hauled him into a meeting, and then, and then, the University of Rhode Island issued a statement:

The University of Rhode Island does not condone acts or threats of violence. 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.


So the best explication of just exactly why this whole thing is total bullshit comes from a post on a blog called Crooked Timber, which I'd never heard of before about half an hour ago:

Even to suggest that Loomis’s tweet constitutes a “threat of violence” is an offense against the English language. We are dismayed that the university president completely fails to acknowledge the importance of academic freedom and of scholars’ freedom independently to express views (even intemperate ones) on topics of public importance. This statement—unless it is swiftly corrected— should give alarm to scholars at the University of Rhode Island, to scholars who might one day consider associating themselves with this institution, and to academic and professional associations that value academic freedom.


Loomis doesn't have tenure. His livelihood has been jeopardized by this witch hunt.

This is not what academic freedom is supposed to be. I hope you'll consider signing on to the Crooked Timber statement. I have.

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