‘Head on a Stick’ Tweet Lands U. of Rhode Island Professor in Hot Water

Erik Loomis, an assistant professor of history at the university, has come under fire for his comments on Twitter about the National Rifle Association in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. One of his tweets said that he wanted to see the National Rifle Association chief executive’s “head on a stick.” Conservatives denounced his choice of words, but Mr. Loomis later wrote in a blog post that it would be “completely absurd” for anyone to take his metaphor literally. He added that he had become the latest subject of what he called the “right-wing Two-Minute Hate.”

The university’s president, David M. Dooley, said in a written statement that the institution “does not condone acts or threats of violence” and added that the professor’s remarks “do not reflect the views of the institution.”

The professor said he had been visited by the state police as a result of the controversy and told the Associated Press the authorities were concerned about his safety. Mr. Loomis’s Twitter account has been deactivated.

“In my world, calling for someone’s head on a stick is a metaphor to hold them responsible for their actions. I think the last time “head on a stick” actually meant murder was sometime around 1450,” said Loomis is his Tuesday post.

In that same blog post, he also mentioned he was visited by Rhode Island State Police.

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