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Update: Sarkeesian cancels USU talk after threats

"Police wouldn't take steps to prevent concealed firearms at event"

Update

Anita Sarkeesian has had to cancel her appearance at Utah State University tomorrow following discussions with campus police who, due to state gun laws, could not stop people attending the event with hidden firearms.

The university has also released a statement.

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.

Original story

Utah State University has today received vile terror threats attempting to stop a talk by Anita Sarkeesian. The threats have not been successful, with USU campus security helping to make sure the event can still go ahead.

The university confirmed to The Standard Examiner that the threats were received this morning in an email to Ann Austin, director of the Center for Women and Gender Studies at USU.

GamesIndustry.biz will not be publishing the deranged ranting of the email here, but the text promised to use guns and pipe bombs to kill staff, students and attendees to the event. Specific threats were also made against Sarkeesian.

The event has not been called off and will take place tomorrow at USU's Taggart Student Center Auditorium at 11.30am.

The threats mark the latest shameful episode in a recent rise in aggressive behaviour towards women in the industry. This behaviour has resulted in a number of people being forced from their homes and subjected to abuse online.

On Saturday Sarkeesian used Twitter to address the issues of such threats at her public engagements and called on the industry to take a stand.

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Latest comments (16)

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
I have Chula Vista in my mind's eye, and I'm fucking terrified.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Simple: The FBI needs to step in here, get that damn idiot's info and take some action. Period. This all sucks, but it would suck less if the people running these agencies had balls and did their damn jobs.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
And, waaaaitaminnit...

It's the 21st century, dammit. Anita doesn't even have to be in the same state to give that talk. Jeez. Be defiant, lady. Just set up an online conference session through one of the many services that do that sort of thing and have the school broadcast it to people who want to see it. They DO have computers and the internet in Utah, right? All this running away to post tweets isn't doing much but emboldening those who don't want her to appear anywhere in public. I'm not a fan of the man myself, but Salman Rushdie was zipping around in public for ages after that fatwa got put on him. It's time to stand up to the dopes, I say...

That and who picked an open carry state anyway without checking the legal issues out? She's never going to circumvent that law in any state it's followed in, so unless she wants more of this nonsense, it's time to think ahead before she finds out the clowns will do this again and again in certain areas where they can get away with it.

I can't believe I'm coming up with ideas for people smarter than I, but there you go. Problem solved (temporarily).
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Show all comments (16)
Rachel Weber Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz3 years ago
"All this running away to post tweets isn't doing much but emboldening those who don't want her to appear anywhere in public"

"Unless she wants more of this nonsense, it's time to think ahead"

Wow, someone threatens a school shooting and you still find a way to blame one of the potential victims. I'm staggered.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
C'mon, Greg. I know you're smarter than this, you've shown it before.

If someone would have actually gone through with this - a remote chance, yes, but what if - then it would have been a worldwide story as to why no one was responsible, AND people would be dead. Come on now.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 3 years ago
Scientology could do very little to stop Anonymous threats (many of them *very* serious).

I'm not surprised that people without 100's of millions of dollars or direct connections to the police force can't do any better.

Good luck, they are behind seven proxies.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 15th October 2014 9:46am

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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters3 years ago
Greg, the threat was aimed not just at Anita Sarkeesian but anyone else who wanted to go to this talk and hear what she wanted to say. Just because she'd be miles away in safety doesn't mean everyone else watching the screening would be.
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Lewis Pulsipher Game Designer, Author, Teacher 3 years ago
In many states with concealed weapons laws, an institution can (and do) ban concealed carry within its boundaries/buildings. Is Utah so antediluvian that the option isn't available there? Insanity.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
@Lewis - LIterally speaking, in this case, yes. They are. There is a state law stating that people can carry concealed weapons on state universities. I haven't researched it enough to be definitive, but I'd be willing to bet that universities were included literally as a reaction to the shootings at Virginia Tech and at Sandy Hook. The answer in many conservative states to the spate of school shootings has literally been "guns? Let's respond with MORE GUNS!"

EDIT: Wikipedia has an effective summary of Utah's gun laws: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Utah In this case, conceal carry is permissible with a permit, and open carry is fully, 100% allowed. I just did the research, and the statute actually - literally! - states that a local authority may not inhibit the right of people to carry arms. Local authorities and state entities are defined under 53-5a-102 (5)(b) as "public school districts, public schools, and institutions of higher learning", which USU qualifies as being a public school (I.E.: USU can't do anything, but BYU can). Here's the statute: http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE53/htm/53_05a010200.htm

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 15th October 2014 5:03pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Look, I get all that. But yup, America is lousy with gun laws, period. I didn't know threats were directed to attendees so my fault there for not checking that out. Apologies.

STILL, that should NOT stop her from speaking or people from listening, dammit. If someone threatens your audience, use the internet and have the speech online from an undisclosed location and anyone who wants to hear her can DO SO where they FEEL SAFE. It's not THAT hard to plan ahead of the assholes and sadly, it's going to be necessary to do so until they can be dealt with.

Take a page from the civil rights movement and don't let yourself be silenced is what I'm saying...

And I'd direct any future ire at the lousy law enforcement going on, as this seems to be a MAJOR part of the problems in all these growing cases. That people can throw up threats like rice at a wedding and not see some cop at their door or place of work or wherever they can be tracked (and yes, I'm all for surveillance in circumstances like this) is just baffling because at the end of the day, this is terrorism we're talking about., not just some harmless trolls "making noise and exercising" their "rights" (as I've heard this behavior defended as).
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GREG PABICH President & CEO, ACTIVE ENTERPRISES, LLC3 years ago
God, I hope we are not going to use the attempt to limit her access to free speech as an excuse to trash our rights under the Second Amendment. Everyone catch your breath and think about the over reaction that is developing here
Time and again, legal, licensed concealed weapon permit holders NEVER[/b] are the cause of unwarranted shootings/mass killings. In fact, their training/marksmanship/vetted skills often are what prevents a wack job from being able to carry through on a crazed plot.
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I don't think it's in very good taste to be defending the Second Amendment(which, as many of us here are European, we generally take a pretty dim view of anyway) when we're talking about someone issuing incredibly disturbing and violent death threats.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
I happen to quite like the 2nd, myself - even as a relatively liberal American - but many states specifically loosened their firearms laws in response to other school shootings. That looks to me like a "fuck you" to the victims.
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Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media3 years ago
@Greg Pabich
Concealed Carry Killers documents 386 incidents in 32 states and the District of Columbia since May 2007, resulting in 540 deaths involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns. Fourteen of the victims were law enforcement officers. Twenty-six of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 125 victims.
Updated (so higher numbers, sadly) here.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 3 years ago
@John
If you go through a VPN, then pipe through Tor no one can possibly ever find you. Not even the NSA.

Using Tor is the default behaviour of the more serious raiders.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
After finding out more about this, I find it kinda shocking the police felt there was no threat at any point.
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