...this one designed to deflect attention from the real consequences of NRA opposition to meaningful gun control. There is a good statement on the matter, and contact information, here. (I disagree with the statement, however, that there is an issue of academic freedom here, except indirectly; it is, however, very much a First Amendment issue about free speech and the right of state university professors to express controversial views without being hounded out of work by cyber-mobs. As I've noted, this right protects even reprehensible fools like Glenn Reynolds.) The University of Rhode Island President has, so far, handled this terribly, and ought to issue a public apology for carelessly adopting the right-wing lie that Professor Loomis had threatened the head of the NRA with violence.
UPDATE: I commend Professor Protevi's letter to the University administrators as a good model, especially his first paragraph which sounds all the right notes (I agree with the thrust of the second paragraph too, but I think the key message for the University administration to get is that they smeared a faculty member based on a right-wing blogosmear.)
AN ADDENDUM ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM: Some readers asked why I didn't think this implicated "academic freedom," except indirectly, so let me add a few words about this. There is a tendency to use "academic freedom" to mean "the freedom of academics to say anything," an interpretation which finds no support in the law or in AAUP interpretations of academic freedom. What "academic freedom" clearly encompasses is the right of academics to teach and write in their areas of expertise according to their best professional judgment, without sanction. A faculty member's "tweets" about issues of the moment are not protected by academic freedom, unless those issues are rather clearly within his or her area of professional expertise. But any US citizen's "tweets" are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits a state entity, like the University of Rhode Island, from sanctioning the "tweeter," no matter how many NRA fans are offended, for good or (in this case) absurd reasons.
The only "indirect" implication of this affair for academic freedom is this: the irresponsible statement by the Universityy of Rhode Island President might well communicate to faculty whose research relates to issues of gun control, in one way or another, that if their research offends proponents of absolute gun rights, the University will sooner "duck for cover" than stand up for the work. That would be a reasonable inference to draw from the fact that the University has not made a clear statement about the constitutional rights of Professor Loomis to offend partisans of gun rights and the NRA. He has that right, no matter how many right-wing blowhards e-mail the University.
ANOTHER: A nice confirmation of the strategy of the Crooked Timber bloggers is that we now see even brain-dead hacks (this one a clinical law professor) professing their commitment to Professor Loomis's job security. Of course, some of these brain-dead hacks have reason to worry, and not because of inflammatory tweets.