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Oct 18, 2014

Woman-hunting Season in Utah!

On Oct. 15 media critic Anita Sarkeesian canceled a lecture at Utah State University, not because of three death threats—one of which promised "the deadliest school shooting in American history"—but because firearms would be allowed in the theater in SPITE of the threats! Here's the University's explanation: "Given that she had received many of the same sorts of threats and none of the threats had materialized into anything specific, that was part of the context of the investigation. That led us to believe that the threat was not imminent or real." (She is more concerned with the student's safety than they are?)

Sarkeesian said that campus police did not alert her to the threat until late Tuesday, after her plane had landed at Salt Lake City Airport and she already had seen news stories about it. But it keeps getting worse! Utah State Rep. Curt Oda (R) who is the chair of Utah's House Law Enforcement Committee accused Sarkeesian of "overreacting" to the threat, saying she should have felt more secure with gun owners at the lecture. Fortunately the Salt Lake Tribune's editorial pointed out this is a solution in which "any number of untrained gun lovers might set up a crossfire that would cause even more bloodshed."

I was upset enough that a public official would so minimize such a threat, to fire off a letter to Rep. Oda, who wrote right back. He labeled Sarkeesian and I "anti-gun, pro criminal". Eager to hear how he'd identified us as "pro-criminal", I asked (since he claimed to be an expert) if any of the 86 school shootings in the US since Sandy Hook had been perpetrated by criminals instead of the kind of gun-toters he assumed would protect the public in the case of a mass shooting. He of course didn't answer, but instead called my complaint "threats and harassment", including a veiled threat of his own ("know that I have bcc'd my friends in Montana...") Somehow my complaint for not protecting Ms. Sarkeesian turned into itself a perceived threat!

Then he goes on to say "police do not have to put themselves in harms way to protect you... Police carry guns to primarily defend themselves." (sic) This is the CHAIR of the Law Enforcement Committee, suggesting if you want protection, don't look to the police, buy a gun!

Sarkeesian has vowed to not speak in Utah til weapons are banned from schools, encouraging others to join her. Though no one has asked me to speak in Utah, I'm boycotting it anyway til they come to their bloody senses! This would be an unbelievable story in any other nation than the gun-hungry US. What sort of nation have we become?

[Our letter thread can be read at the link below. Warning: it gets weird!]

9:16 AM,  Oct. 18, 2014 

Dear Rep. Oda,

I have never written to an out-of-state representative before, but this is so important I cannot keep silent. I read the story in the Salt Lake Tribune in which you are quoted as saying Anita Sarkeesian "overreacted" to the threat against her life, saying "she should have felt more secure with gun owners at the lecture."

I am appalled that you have such a cavalier attitude to both death threats and guns in public places.

As both a public speaker and a frequent tourist, I am boycotting Utah until your bizarre state comes to its senses and bans guns from schools!

Tim Holmes

10:21 AM,  Oct. 18, 2014 

Mr. Holmes

As a speaker, I'm sure you know that the media doesn't always report everything.  I was not cavalier about the threat at all. I told the reporters that I despise terrorists and hope they catch the threat maker and throw the book at him.  

My comment about "overreacting" was not about the threat but about the fact that she had never canceled prior engagements with all the threats she gets but only decided to cancel after she found out that our law allows law abiding citizens with concealed weapon permits (backgrounds have been checked) to still have guns.  She also refused the substantially increased security offered by the university and the city police departments.

She obviously has a secondary anti-gun agenda beside her feminist work. 

I also do a lot of speaking but, unlike you, I fear places where law abiding citizens are put at a great disadvantage against criminals who carry unlawfully and don't care about the law.  Utah enjoys some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation and we have not had school shootings, unlike the states where gun free zones are everywhere. I try very hard to avoid Gun free zones which I equate to Free kill zone for the bad guy.  

If you are also an anti-gun, pro criminal zealot, who fears the law abiding, then I'm very comfortable with you not coming to Utah.  We allow concealed weapon permit holders on the streets, in restaurants, stores, bars, and all government buildings that are not specifically restricted. So it appears there would not be any place YOU could feel comfortable. 

I'm surprised that a person from Montana would be anti-gun unless you are one of the many transplants who have been trying to change Montana culture, which is very much like Utah's.

So, invite you to only go to states that believe it is more important to protect criminals than lawful liberty minded citizens.

Curt Oda

10:56 AM,  Oct. 18, 2014 

Dear Rep. Oda,

Regardless of how you choose to characterize me, ("anti-gun, pro criminal", are you serious? I am pro-criminal because I fear people with guns?) I am concerned about public safety and I am rather astonished that you are not.  I had to pick up my niece from 4th grade the day of the Sandy Hook shootings. She was terrified to go back to school after that. Have you studied the school shootings in this nation? Do you find ANY of them were criminals? Do you not have children or care about them?

When a woman has received specific death threats, one of which promised "the deadliest school shooting in American history" and "I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs", your charge of "overreacting" seems ludicrous in the extreme.

I hope you are prepared to stand by what you say because I am posting our communications on social media. If you do stand by what you say, prepare to defend yourself. (And I am talking with words, not bullets, just to be clear!)

Tim Holmes
PS.  I appreciate your taking time to speak with one who is not a constituent.

1:35 PM,  Oct. 18, 2014 


I have also gotten death threats from anti-gun people and yes I have studied school shooters in detail, obviously way more than you have, and that is wih law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and mental health specialists.

I am very public safety minded. I am the chair of the House law enforcement committee and work very closely with police, who by the way in Utah are more than 90% on my side, so don't go blasting off unless you know what you're talking about. In fact, the Utah Sheriff's Association was the first in the nation to write a letter to Obama telling him that they will not stand for any federal encroachment on our constitutional rights, primarily our Second Amendment.

Do whatever you want to do!  You may post this conversation wherever you wish. Just know that I have bcc'd my friends in Montana and across the country who feel as I do. They qill ve posting yoir cimments as well.  Seems like all you anti-gun people have in the end are threats and harassment. Well, I'm sorry but threats and harassment don't work with me. I do what I do because it IS the right thing to do.

I am a statesman, not a politician.


2:22 PM,  Oct. 18, 2014 

Dear Rep. Oda,

I have not heard of any school shooters among the 86 such shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook who were criminals. But apparently you and your experts are more informed.  Please forward to me the list of school shooters among that number whom you discovered have criminal records. I was under the impression that a great majority of these killers were ordinary citizens with guns. If the press has been lying to us, we the people need to know.

You wrote to me "Seems like all you anti-gun people have in the end are threats and harassment."
Listen, I wrote to you to stand up for protection for the woman who'd received specific death threats whom you feel doesn't need protection. That sounds like threats and harassment to you? And you are the CHAIR of the House law enforcement committee!? What is the world coming to?

Do you have no sense of shame, Mr. McCarthy?

Tim Holmes 

11:41 PM,  Oct. 19, 2014 

Amazing Tim!

I never said they were criminals prior to their act. Don't put words in my mouth!  The bad guy I'm referring to is the actor at the time.  For you to infer that I said otherwise is disengenuous and dishonest.  To also say, "great majority of these killers were ordinary citizens with guns," tells me that you are clueless.  Perhaps we could just say that a great majority of these killers were troubled democrats?  

Yes, WE are definitely better informed. You simply go off on emotional rhetoric rather than logic. 

You are the type that believes police must and will get to you to protect you. The SCOTUS has said police do not have to put themselves in harms way to protect you.  When seconds count, police are just minutes away.  Police carry guns to primarily defend themselves.  More than 2.5 million times per year, good people stop bad people by the use of guns and in less than 3% is a shot ever fired.  98% of the time the bad guy leaves when he finds out the good guy has a gun.  It is also true that most persons planning an incident will look for Gun Free zones to carry out their ill deed. My wife and I experienced a near robbery but my posture told them to go find an easier target. I didn't have to expose my weapon at all. 

About 80 to 90% of mass killers have been shown to be either on or had recently gotten off psychotropic medication. Only a small percent of mentally ill become violent and a small percentage of those become killers.  From your deduction, we should fear 'all' who are on such medication.  If I were you I think I would not go to any state where there may be people on psychotropics, or any state where there may be people driving around after their license was revoked for drunk driving, or any state where you may have to face a political enemy that you think is not a genuine person.

From one of your website links:

"While I'm just as cranked up about my political enemies as the next guy, it occurred to me that if I were camping out with my worst enemy I doubt whether either of us would lie awake plotting how I could kill each other as our rhetoric often seems to imply. Much as we enjoy hurling insults at those stupider than ourselves, when people inhabit the same space our natural tendency is to take care of each other. It's just a matter of separating the genuine person from their weird ideas. Not only that but overcoming this deep desire with hatred actually saps a great deal of energy and attention. So why is it so hard to find that concern in public space?"

[Oda refers to original here]

Interpreting your quote above from one of your websites, it appears you are concerned about a person getting threats only if they are liberals.  You talk about separating the genuine person (your political enemies) from their weird ideas. I don't try to brainwash (separate weird ideas) anyone. I only give logical information to allow each to decide for themselves.  If they still do not agree with me, so be it. It is not my problem, it is theirs.  But you seem to want to make everyone think like you. 

I am also very concerned about anyone getting threatened, but I care about everyone's ability to defend oneself and have taught many women how to defend against an attacker, all with full approval from various police agencies.

I also told you that the media didn't report it all.  But you don't seem to want to acknowledge such details. 
McCarthy seems to be accurate in your case and he was certainly correct about what was happening. He was just too late.  I will guess your heroes to be Norman Mattoon Thomas, Mao, Lenin and Marx. 

Good luck with your speaking engagements and vacations. More and more states are allowing permit holders to be armed in stores, restaurants, bars, and on school campuses (including teachers and staff), so your choices are becoming more limited.  

Just as the rest of those who have opposed me this week (all 7 plus you), it is obvious you don't get it and will never agree with logic so let's just agree to disagree.  Positive comment emails were 10 to 1.  

I will not be responding further.  I have liberty minded patriots to talk to. 


10:25 AM,  Oct. 20, 2014 

Dear Rep. Oda,

Thanks for your thoughts, but they are no clearer than before. You have called my complaint about your dismissal of Ms. Sarkeesian's real fears "threats and harassment", you have called her "anti-gun, pro criminal". When I asked what criminals you were referring to (certainly not Sarkeesian herself, but perhaps school shooters?) you say "I never said they were criminals prior to their act. Don't put words in my mouth". Are you serious? "Pro-criminal" was your precise wording! Do you not understand that anyone can go back and look at the transcript? You say (Joe) "McCarthy seems to be accurate in your case", implying I am anti-American. Is that necessary? I am rather astonished that for a public official you are not more careful with your words.

I originally wrote to you to get clarification on your dismissal of Ms. Sarkeesian's fears for her life and those of USU students as an "overreaction" so you could clarify yourself. You say your comment was taken out of context and that "the media did not report it all". But rather than clarifying the situation you go on to call me and Ms. Sarkeesian terrible names. That is no defense, sir! It seems the larger you open your mouth, the more foot you insert! Is this your idea of serving the public? If you had a manager, at this point they would usher you quickly offstage.

You go on to say even more troubling things about what we can expect from police protection: "police do not have to put themselves in harms way to protect you... Police carry guns to primarily defend themselves." (sic) I think many would be dismayed to hear that this is how the chair of the House Law Enforcement Committee views police protection: that if you feel threatened don't count on the police because they will only protect themselves. I would ask for further clarification but I fear I would only win me more insults. I thank you not to reply if that's the case.

I don't expect you to satisfy me, a non-constituent with a concern, but I am appalled that you haven't a greater respect for your office and the people you serve. They deserve to know who is representing them. May our dialog– now public– help them in that regard!


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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.