December 18, 2012

Never let a tragedy go to waste: URI Professor Calls NRA Terrorists, then Wages Insular Self-promotion Campaign

Marc Comtois

in the wake of the Newtown, CT massacre, URI History Professor Erik Loomis is getting national attention (h/t) for his tweets calling the National Rifle Association terrorists and other rational, academic thoughts (your tax dollars at work, Rhode Island!). As reported at Campus Reform:

“[I] want Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick,” Erik Loomis, a professor at the University of Rhode Island (URI), tweeted.

It “looks like the National Rifle Association has murdered some more children,” he added.”

Can [we] define NRA membership as dues contributing to a terrorist organization?" he asked in a separate tweet.

Loomis’ comments come on the heels of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 young children and six faculty members dead.

The professor contended Democratic lawmakers should exploit the tragedy to force more restrictive gun control measures into law.

“You are goddamn right we should politicize this tragedy,” Loomis tweeted. “[F]uck the NRA.”

“Dear Republicans, do you know the definition of family values?” he continued. “It’s not having our kids FUCKING SHOT AT SCHOOL! Fuck the NRA.”

The professor could not be reached for comment at the time of publication and URI was did not provide a spokesperson for comment to Campus Reform in time for publication.

According to the school website, all members of the URI community pledge to help foster an “inclusive environment recognizing and respecting diversity.”

According to his resume, Loomis, who got his PhD from the University of New Mexico in 2008, has research interests in Environmental History, Labor History, Late 19th-Early 20th Century U.S. History and the U.S. West. He has 2 papers pending publication: "Lives Under the Canopy: Spotted Owls and Loggers in Western Forests," to be published in Natural Resources, Law Journal, Summer 2012 and "Preserving Nature to Preserve the Republic: Laurens Bolles, New Mexico's Cold War Conservatonist," to be published in New Mexico Historical Review, 2013." He is also working on a book, "Empire of Timber: Work and Nature in the Pacific Northwest Forests". Based on these articles and his interests, it looks like Loomis would really prefer to be working out West. Wonder why he ended up at URI?

Meanwhile, instead of responding directly to the Campus Reform interview request, Loomis has decided to continue to wage his battle in the comfort of the Twittersphere. Oh, and he would really like someone to pay him to write a book for all of the attacks he's enduring because he so bravely spoke out...on Twitter....from a college campus. As a few of his tweets explained:

The right-wing intimidation campaign against me for saying the NRA was a terrorist organization continues. Will not succeed....In fact, I'd like to write up my story of right-wing intimidation for a magazine....I feel a reasonably major publication should be interested in this. Could be wrong, but I don't think so.
Rahm Emmanuel was quoted as saying something along the lines of never letting a crisis go to political waste and signs are pointing to that happening. Professor Loomis obviously embraces this mindset. But he's taken it all one, self-interested step further. Professor Loomis craves attention, you see. And wouldn't an article detailing his struggle as a brave, academic tweeter against the forces of the NRA and the right-wing blogosphere just look excellent on his Curriculum Vitae?

UPDATE: Brave, Brave sir Robin ran away. Prof. Loomis has deleted his Twitter account...too bad for him it's been captured for posterity. He was also visited by the RI State Police. Angry man.

UPDATE 2: URI has issued a statement (via their Facebook page):

URI President David Dooley responded today by saying, "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."

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Can you imagine paying a small fortune for your kids to be "instructed" by this raving lunatic? I agree with him on one thing: people displaying such clear signs of mental instability and emotional illness shouldn't be allowed to own guns. Paranoia, rage, and radical politics aren't a good mix.

Posted by: Dan at December 18, 2012 10:57 AM

When I was a kid, the NRA was proud of the fact that not a single member had ever been convicted of a felony. Long time ago, back then "Ducks Unlimited" was a hunter's group and Abercrombie & Fitch was a gun store.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 18, 2012 11:04 AM

Another reason for the complete separation of School and State. From daycare up.
The noxious, toxic Left was rubbing its hands with glee, calculating political ploys to take guns away from working people while these kids were still lying dead in their classrooms.
Now word is filtering out that this scumbag was a leftist vegan. He sure looks like a "marriage equality" type to me.
Flood the gun stores and make this the best week in US history for gun sales.
Piss off a leftist-buy another gun.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at December 18, 2012 1:34 PM

At one time under federal law, people with felony convictions lost their right to own guns. Now every year, thousands of felons across the country have those rights reinstated, in red states, by activist conservative right-wing-nut judges. In several states, they include people convicted of violent crimes. The process became commonplace in many red states since in the 1980s, after Congress started allowing state laws to dictate these reinstatements -- part of an overhaul of federal gun laws written for congress by the NRA

Posted by: Sammy in Arizona at December 18, 2012 3:33 PM

Thanks Sammy. That pretty much explains why felons are allowed to possess firearms here in Rhode Island...right? Think much?

Posted by: Max D at December 18, 2012 4:16 PM

Uh Sammy, CT is a BLUE State. Just saying.

Good analysis here:

From the article: "You see, the media can't blame the murders on a lack of gun control because Chicago has the toughest gun control laws in the country. The media can't blame the murders on a lack of high taxes or big government because Chicago is wholly owned by Democrats and their machine. This is also why the media can't blame the GOP."

Posted by: Mark at December 18, 2012 4:24 PM

IMHO, there are two kinds of cowards evident in this tragedy. The first is the perp who shoots his sleeping mom and goes on to slaughter helpless children. The second is this professor and others that will gleefully jump on the bandwagon and exploit this incident, purposefully ignoring all the other incidents (LA riots, etc.) where weapons preserved lives.

Posted by: Mike at December 18, 2012 4:34 PM

Mr. Loomis has since deleted his twitter account. Guess he could dish it out but couldn't take it.

Posted by: jgardner at December 18, 2012 4:35 PM

This guy Loomis is not the only total scumbag employed as a professor at our expense-if only he were an aberration,but he has a lot of company.
I actually am against arming educators myself because they are not there for that purpose-they are in schools to teach.Security relating to an intruder bent on doing harm should be handled by a person specifically trained for that.Preferably off duty or retired law enforcement personnel.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 18, 2012 4:48 PM

Hopefully this episode was "hitting bottom" for Loomis and he'll use it as an opportunity to get some much-needed counseling or mental health treatment. What an embarrassment for URI. This man should not be teaching.

Posted by: Dan at December 18, 2012 5:54 PM

Where does Sammy get his "facts"?

When did gun ownership come within federal purview, any more than driver's licenses or voter qualification? Even with machine guns, the Feds exact a tax, but the license is from local authorities.

Not so sure about the Feds anyway. Used to know the widow of an ATF agent. On passing, he left her with a dozen machine guns he had "seized". When I had guns stolen, I called the police and gave them a list. Being younger, and more naive, I asked if there was any chance I would get them back. The detective looked at the list and said "If any cop finds guns like these, you will never see them". No "assault weapons" there, Fox Sterlingworth, Browning Superposed, Walther PPK/s.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 18, 2012 7:13 PM

I'm glad to hear that Warrington has done his part in keeping guns from getting into the wrong hands.

Posted by: Phil at December 18, 2012 8:36 PM

"Brave, Brave sir Robin ran away."


"He was also visited by the RI State Police."


Posted by: Monique at December 18, 2012 8:57 PM

"When did gun ownership come within federal purview, any more than driver's licenses or voter qualification? Even with machine guns, the Feds exact a tax, but the license is from local authorities."

I can remember one instance when I had to testify in federal court on a felony gun charge. The defendant, a real whack job, had made past threats to at least one federal judge. At the time, he was found with the gun, he was a felon but had no crimes of violence on his record. The US Attorney couldn't wait to get his hands on the case. The nut did 19 months federal time. You wouldn't get that much time in state courts with a crime of violence conviction.

Posted by: Max D at December 18, 2012 9:23 PM

Max - I worked in the US Attorney's Office as a legal intern. One case I'll always remember - a 20-something-year-old got busted a couple of times for marijuana, then was found with an unregistered handgun on him. He plead guilty up front because he expected a slap on the wrist - never hurt anyone after all. Well... turns out the Federal Sentencing Guidelines have all kinds of "bonus points" for drug crimes and gun crimes committed within years of each other. He got 4-5 years in Federal prison when all the points were added up. The Guidelines might be a good idea if we didn't have such draconian drug laws in this country, but as they stand, they lead to some truly horrific outcomes. If he wasn't a hardened criminal, he is now.

Posted by: Dan at December 18, 2012 9:58 PM

If URI does not condone acts or threats of violence,when are they going to fire him?

Posted by: helen at December 18, 2012 10:00 PM

Dan--seriously? Your model citizen (my words) was busted "a few times" with an illegal substance and was "found" (nice spin there) with an unregistered handgun on him and I'm supposed to feel sorry for him? Perhaps there are a few people walking around today that wouldn't be if this "unfortunate" boy had been left on the path he was on. Felons and people with records should be banned from carrying weapons, and punished severely for carrying them. Actions have consequences.

Posted by: Mike at December 19, 2012 9:34 AM

Mike - While you may subscribe to the black-and-white "malum prohibite" philosophy that breaking any law automatically makes someone a bad person deserving of whatever severe punishment is set by the state - no further analysis necessary - I examine whether breaking the law actually harmed or risked harm to others and whether the law and punishment are just and proportional. Labeling somebody a "felon" isn't meaningful when the felony consists of carrying a plant with mild intoxicating effects. I sincerely wonder, if government drew a square on the sidewalk, posted signs, and made it a felony to step within the square, if you would then support sending people to prison for walking within the square. Anyone who would break the law in one instance "could" be a loose cannon willing to commit all manner of crimes of violence, but then again, so could anyone else - the school shooter, for example, had a clean record. To the extent that those who perpetrate victimless crimes deserve any punishment, I fail to see how 4-5 years in Federal prison will accomplish anything but destroying what remains of the individual's life. I doubt many reflect on how long a period that actually is to spend sleeping, watching daytime TV, and reading magazines in a cell, or the negative effects that will likely have on a person.

Posted by: Dan at December 19, 2012 10:00 AM

What is the University of Rhode Island's definition of "positive change" and when will they fire Loomis?

Posted by: helen at December 19, 2012 8:19 PM

How can the University of Rhode Island reconcile it's stated committment to "fostering a safe,inclusive and equitable culture" when it continues to expose students to a history teacher who wants to repeal the 2nd Amendment and frequently tweeted using the "F" word to describe and villianize people who belong to an organization that supports the 2nd Amendment?

There is nothing "safe,inclusive or equitable" about the extremely biased rantings of this teacher,who influences young,impressionable minds.

URI get a clue.

Posted by: helen at December 19, 2012 8:36 PM

Information from Marc's post-the teacher wrote a paper about spotted owls and logging.

Spotted owls populations are decreasing because of competition from their cousins,the barred owls.

The Obama administration approved a program to shoot barred owls in an effort to preserve the spotted owls.

Spotted owls are losing ground because the barred owls are better predators and more flexible in their food choices.
There are also other reasons which I do not remember at the moment.

I wonder if the teacher blamed logging for the plummeting of the spotted owl population without mentioning the competition from the barred owls and did his article mention the Obama approved program to shoot the barred owls in order to save the spotted owls.

Posted by: helen at December 19, 2012 9:06 PM

"Never let a crisis go to waste" 28 people are dead. Parents, siblings, relatives, friends and total strangers are still coming to grips. Yet You, , Politicians, Talking heads, and our Propaganda like media are playing politics. YOU AND ALL OF THE ABOVE MAKE WE WANT TO PUKE. I have several high schoolers in my town who have applied to URI School of Pharmacy. I will make sure they know the "Mental Instability" present in URI's tenured staff.

Posted by: Tim Quas at December 20, 2012 6:58 AM


Nice straw man argument/hyperbole. Thought you were better than that. What I "proscribe" to is the concept of responsibility and the outdated thought that actions have consequences. If some punk with a record carries a gun, he goes to jail. Period. Life is tough--it's tougher when you are stupid. I also appreciate brevity.

Posted by: Mike at December 20, 2012 8:44 AM

Mike - The implication in both of your comments is that breaking a law - any law - makes somebody a "punk" deserving of no sympathy. If you allow for the possibility that there may be harmful or misguided laws on the books, then you should be aware that that level of nuance doesn't come across in your posts at all. To the extent that I am poking holes in a straw man, it is the straw man you have chosen to present through your phrasing.

Marijuana laws are stupid laws. They bear no relationship to actual harm, they needlessly destroy lives, and they erode respect for rule of law. Now you can certainly argue that it's unwise for people to violate such laws because of the consequences, but that doesn't make violating such laws immoral, and my entire point was that the consequences are not proportional. "Actions have consequences" isn't a meaningful sentiment when the consequences are arbitrary.

Posted by: Dan at December 20, 2012 10:50 AM

No Dan--my perception is that anyone who "repeatedly" breaks the law--please don't leave that out--and then decides he also illegally needs to carry a gun deserves no sympathy. Correct.

Posted by: Mike at December 21, 2012 9:05 AM

@Tim-I don't think the insanity extends to the School of Pharmacy professors-they teach a real subject,not some amorphous BS passing for "liberal arts" or "humanities".I've had dealings with URI pharmacy students at the VA Medical Center in Providence at the diabetes clinic and they are professional and reflect coming from a good educational milieu.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 21, 2012 11:39 AM
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