Well obviously people can bring guns to Sarkeesian’s talk

As you probably already know, yesterday evening Utah State made a statement saying that Anita Sarkeesian had canceled her talk scheduled today October 15. Here’s why:

Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
Anita Sarkeesian has canceled her scheduled speech for tomorrow following a discussion with Utah State University police regarding an email threat that was sent to Utah State University. During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue.

I’m just fucking stunned.

So that’s it – we can’t have freedom of speech or association – we feminist women, we anyone who says something that bullies don’t like. We can’t have it because bullies will announce they’re going to shoot us and other feminists if we go to X place and talk, and because the officials at X place won’t take the most basic and obvious step to protect us.

That’s really brilliant, isn’t it. Now they’ll just do that for everything. No feminist will be able to appear in public ever again.

I’ll quote again from their statement 3 hours earlier, at 4 p.m., where they said they would take every step.

Sarkeesian’s talk will go ahead as scheduled, and we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our students. Prior to the threat, Utah State University police were already making preparations for security as the speaker had received similar threats in the past. Enhanced security measures will now be in place, which include prohibiting backpacks and any large bags.

The safety and protection of students and staff is paramount at Utah State, and we will take every precaution to ensure that attendees will have the opportunity to hear Sarkeesian, a national speaker, tell her perspective about an important topic. As an institution of higher education, it is important that we provide our students with rich learning experiences from a variety of sources.

They will prohibit backpacks and large bags, but they will not prohibit guns. Guns will be allowed. People will be permitted to bring guns to the talk. Guns are ok, guns are fine, it’s only backpacks and bags that are a problem. It might be possible to suffocate someone with a backpack or a bag.

Will the government be issuing us with targets to wear?


  1. aziraphale says

    Well, obviously, if a bad guy with a gun attempted to kill the speaker, he would at once be taken down by the good guys with guns.

  2. Malachite says

    The cognitive dissonance is astounding. Entitled to carry backpacks. Can ban backpacks.
    Entitled to carry guns. No can ban guns.

  3. A Hermit says

    I guess when the President of the USA gives a speech in Utah the Secret Service can stay home since he’ll be well protected by all the legally armed citizens in the audience…

  4. themadtapper says

    I think it comes down to a very fundamental philosophical ideal, whether to err on the side of doing good or to err on the side of preventing bad.

    To the gun fondlers, all those problems like accidental shooting deaths, threats of violence and subsequent follow-throughs, availability of deadly weapons to people who absolutely should never be allowed near one… those are acceptable casualties. Better to err, in their minds, on the side of those handful of people who might use one to successfully drive-off or kill a home invader, or more accurately to err on the side of “preventing the gubbmint from taking muh freedums”, than to err on the side of trying to reduce needless deaths and domestic terrorism (gonna call it what it is; threatening to kill a public speaker is terrorism by any reasonable definition of the word).

    It’s not just guns on which they hold this stance. These same people will almost invariably hold the same stances on crime and poverty. Better to err on the side of preventing “moochers” from getting an easy ride than to tolerate a few of them to make sure you help everyone in need. Better to err on locking up as many offenders as possible than to let a few go to make sure you don’t lock up anyone who shouldn’t be there. Better make punishments as stiff as possible, to err on the side of too much punishment rather than not enough, than to try to make sure you don’t create a worse villain than what you locked up in the first place.

    You see it in their need to equate vengeance with justice. You see it in their refusal to compromise politically so they can “stick to their principles”, cost to society at large be damned. They’re the people who would admire Alan Moore’s Rorschach rather than recognize him as an object of criticism. They don’t care if they make things worse in the long run; there is a principle they have to stand for regardless of cost. “Even in the face of Armageddon. No compromise.” Frankly, if sticking to your principles consistently leaves things worse off, you really ought to rethink your principles.

  5. says

    Louisiana keeps voting for laxer city gun laws. I’m very concerned that this will lead to LSU soon becoming a concealed carry campus. Yet another reason to hurry up and finish my PhD and leave…

  6. A Masked Avenger says

    Regardless what one things of firearms in general, it’s outrageous that they can’t restrict them in the case of a specific and credible threat. And although IANAL, I’m willing to bet my ass that they would have no difficulty making it happen if the speaker were the governor of Utah, let alone the President.

    On the charitable side, I assume they proposed to ban backpacks and such in order to prevent anyone bringing in bombs or rifles–two things they can restrict, because bombs are already illegal in Utah, and the carry laws probably don’t mention rifles in this context.

    On the other hand, the school told a newspaper that, “The threat we received is not out of the norm for (this woman).” At first I thought this was just a statement of fact–that Ms. Sarkeesian gets this kind of threat all the time–but in retrospect, I’m inclined to say that they aren’t taking the threat seriously precisely because she “gets them all the time.” Killing spree? Meh. They always say that, and it hasn’t happened yet, right?

    Which leaves me doubtful whether they’re even trying to catch the person who issued the terroristic threat. I certainly hope they do, and catch the culprit, and throw the book at them, but I can’t help wondering if they’ve already dismissed it as a “prank.”

  7. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    Forget it Jake Ophelia, this is Chinatown Utah.

    I also wonder how the law works with regards to other public spaces. If Mitt Romney were coming to speak at BYU and received a threat like this, the University would be powerless to do anything? What about governmental buildings? There was a fairly strict screening when I did jury duty at the LA courthouse years ago (for obvious reasons.) How does this work in UT?

    I must say this whole thing is so upsetting. I had a tough time sleeping because of it. Our country (and the human race) just disgusts me some times.

  8. carlie says

    I would think that any convention would want to boycott Utah, given that they are incapable by law of protecting anyone who comes there. And that goes for the other open carry and concealed carry states too, assuming Utah isn’t the only one that has enshrined into law that no private space CAN restrict guns.

  9. johnthedrunkard says

    During the Tea Party’s first flush of publicity, there were several occasions where members carried ‘open’ firearms to political events where the President was speaking. Amazingly, law enforcement managed not to shoot even ONE of them.

  10. sonofrojblake says

    No feminist will be able to appear in public ever again.

    Hyperbole much?

    May I be the first to welcome any feminist who wishes to appear in public in, say, the UK to come here, where they will find no members of the public legally owning, much less carrying, handgun, concealed or otherwise. I can’t promise it will be safe-there are nutters everywhere. But if you asked “Will guns be allowed in the auditorium?” in any civilised country, the organisers would probably look at you like you were the nutter.

  11. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake, you imply you believe that the USA is not a civilised country.

    (Hyperbole much?)

  12. sonofrojblake says

    @John Morales:

    Guns will be allowed. People will be permitted to bring guns to the talk. Guns are ok, guns are fine

    Um, no, not hyperbole much. No.

    Whereas suggesting that because Anita Sarkeesian can’t do her talk safely in Utah, “No feminist will be able to appear in public ever again” obviously is. Unless you believe appearing anywhere other than the US isn’t “appearing in public”. In which case, parochial, much?

    I’d very much like to see another university, somewhere other than Utah, somewhere dare I say it more civilised, offer Ms. Sarkeesian a safe place to give her presentation (and pay her expenses to get there…), and make the point forcefully that there ARE safe places. If it was in the UK, I’d pay to see it.

  13. Donnie says

    Under Title IX, could she have requested bullet proof glass to be installed at the University’s expense? Will those of us who consider ourselves feminists and work for social justice in the public sphere be required, due to State gun law restrictions against reasonable accommodation, be required to own their own ‘Pope Mobile’?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *