"I don't see something incorrect with it": Rhode Island professor defends homicide of right-wing protesters in Portland
Most people were disgusted by the murder of Aaron "Jay" Danielson, a member of the right wing Patriot Prayer group, in Portland. Professor Erik Loomis from the University of Rhode Island is not one of them. Loomis defended the murder by Michael Reinoehl, an Antifa member who apparently pursued Danielson before he shot him down. Loomis insisted that any problem of shooting down right-wing counter-protesters is tactical, not moral.
I testified in the Senate about the erosion of free speech and the increase in violence on our campuses and in our streets. Antifa and related groups have succeeded in driving anti-free speech agendas as students and faculties justify attacks on people with opposing views. Loomis has long advocated extremist views and violent language, including calling for Wayne LaPierre's "Head on a Stick."
In his last post, Loomis seems to justify the murder of those who hold opposing views. He adopts the rhetoric of the antifa extremists to label those on the other side of the protests as "fascists" and then justifies all means to resist them, including what appears to be murder. While Loomis does not call it murder, he disapproves of the murder because it involved someone he classified as a "fascist".
In his blog post entitled “Why was Michael Reinoehl killed?” Loomis is not outraged that Reinoehl killed Danielson, but that the police killed Reinoehl. (Police say Reinoehl pulled a gun when they tried to arrest him). Loomis insisted it was murder:
“Michael Reinoehl is the guy who killed the fascist in Portland last week. He admitted it and said he was afraid the cops would kill him. Well, now the cops killed him. I am extremely against conspiracy theory. But it is not currently a conspiracy theory to wonder if the police simply murdered him. The police are shot through with fascists from the front to the rear. They worked openly with the fascists in Portland, just as they did in Kenosha, which resulted in dead protesters. "
Loomis seems more concerned that he advocates a "conspiracy theory" than a justification for murder. When Loomis replied to the comment that “Erik shot a man,” he replied, “He killed a fascist. I don't see anything wrong with that, at least from a moral point of view. "Then he added," Tactically, that's a different story. But the same thing could be said about John Brown. "
So it is only a tactical, not a moral, question to persecute and murder someone with opposing views?
Loomis has repeatedly referred to John Brown. Brown was, of course, responsible not only for the attack on Harper & # 39; s Ferry, but also for the Pottawatomie massacre that started the time called "Bleeding Kansas" and involved the hacking of five unarmed settlers who were considered slave-friendly .
Most of all, Loomis admitted, “The problem with violence is that it's usually, though not always, a bad idea. I agree. “Then he added
“Yes, sometimes violence is necessary to cause major physical harm, i. H. Self-defense, to avoid or to defeat a literal army of fascists trying to kill people. But ideologically I think that the idea that violence is good when directed against our political enemies is a central component of fascism, and therefore ideological opposition to this idea should be the opposite – that violence is usually bad unless the specific context of this situation calls for a violent response. "
The specific context in Portland is that Danielson advocated his own views with a right-wing group, as protesters from Black Lives Matter have done. He was persecuted and murdered, which Loomis finds perfectly moral.
Loomis' rhetoric and views are strikingly similar to those in the "Bible" of the Antifa movement: Rutgers Professor Mark Brays Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. As I found in my testimony from the Senate, Antifa bears strong resemblance to groups that emerged during previous periods of attacks on freedom of expression. The mere replacement of anti-communism with anti-fascism does not essentially change the same purpose of anti-free speech of these movements. The purpose of state or nongovernmental threats is not only to silence opponents, but to prevent others from joining them. The absolutism of their goals is used to justify any means to achieve them. In particular, Antifa's categorical rejection of opposing views as worthy of protection is strikingly similar to the view of anti-communists during the Red Fear. Antifa supporters refuse to recognize opponents' views as legitimate or "disagreement". Their goal is not to live together, but, as stated in the Antifa handbook, to "end their politics". Bray and other academics liberate students from the limits of what they consider to be false "allegiance to liberal democracy." Once violence is freed from the values of free speech and democratic values, it simply becomes politics in another way. It is exactly the mindset that was used against communists and Marxists in the 1950s.
What stands out is how Danielson is no longer treated as a person of family or even individual worth. Loomis seems to wallow in the idea that such lives are no longer relevant and can be taken for purely tactical reasons. It is the liberating element of extremism. Once Loomis and others are disconnected from the boundaries of morality, they can adopt a license to use violence, even murder, to advance their agenda.
It is especially troubling for an academic to advocate such hateful and violent views. There are likely many Conservatives in the Rhode Island student body that Loomis would also label as "fascists." Under this view, your life would be both fungible and worthless. It is often difficult to advocate the freedom of speech for people like Loomis when it justifies not only the silence but the actual killing of people with opposing views. Loomis, however, is the price for free speech.
Remarkably, however, few of his colleagues have come forward to denounce his statements. In fact, the last time the university president criticized Loomis' rhetoric of violence, he was attacked by other faculties for joining the critics of Loomis. We have seen universities denounce academics who espouse opposing views, but this academic can reportedly defend murder without his peers generally and immediately condemning him. Indeed, academics have been fired for declaring "All Lives Matter," but Loomis doesn't even immediately condemn that this life doesn't matter when it is actually ended in the name of the common good. This was clearly done in his personal, not academic, capacity. However, this does not mean that other scientists cannot resist such hateful, violent views.
Update: As some of our commenters noted, Professor Loomis responded:
Chop Koch Brothers
I think I support murder. Meanwhile, his preferred policies are killing people all over the world every day. But hey, I'm not being bought and sold by capitalists. I wonder what it feels like to be a gross person.
I'm not sure where the reference to the Koch brothers came from as I've never had a connection with them (and have criticized them in the past), but Loomis continues his signature style of hurling insults rather than the underlying ones Address issues raised on the blog.
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