A classy response to death threats

The President of The Arizona Republic writes:

As someone who has spent a career in thebusiness of words, it’s unusual to find myself speechless.

Yet, there I was, a little more than two weeks ago.

What is the correct response, really, to this?

YOU’RE DEAD. WATCH YOUR BACK.

WE WILL BURN YOU DOWN.

YOU SHOULD BE PUT IN FRONT OF A FIRING SQUAD AS A TRAITOR.

How did I come to be hearing these threats?

More than a year ago, The Arizona Republic’s editorial board began taking a stand against the actions and positioning of Donald Trump. In piece after piece, we made it clear that his principles weren’t conservative. They were bad for the party, bad for Arizona, dangerous for America.

But in its more than 125 years, The Republic had never endorsed a Democrat for president. So, over the many months of the campaign, we found ourselves with this question: Endorse no one, or endorse a Democrat for the first time in our history?

They decided to endorse Clinton.

To the anonymous caller who invoked the name of Don Bolles — he’s the Republic reporter who was assassinated by a car bomb 40 years ago — and threatened that more of our reporters would be blown up because of the endorsement, I give you Kimberly. She is the young woman who answered the phone when you called. She sat in my office and calmly told three Phoenix police detectives what you had said. She told them that later, she walked to church and prayed for you. Prayed for patience, for forgiveness. Kimberly knows requires compassion.

To those who said we should be shut down, burned down, who said they hoped we would cease to exist under a new presidential administration, I give you Nicole. She is our editor who directs the news staff, independent of our endorsements. After your threats, Nicole put on her press badge and walked with her reporters and photographers into the latest Donald Trump rally in Prescott Valley, Ariz. She stood as Trump encouraged his followers to heckle and boo and bully journalists. Then she came back to the newsroom to ensure our coverage was fair. Nicole knows free speech requires an open debate.

To those of you who have said that someone who disagrees with you deserves to be punished, I give you Phil. Our editorial page editor is a lifelong Republican, a conservative and a patriot. He was an early voice of reason, arguing calmly that Donald Trump didn’t represent the values of the party he loves. Phil understands that free speech sometimes requires bravery. 

And threats to her personally:

To those of you who have said Jesus will judge me, that you hope I burn in hell, that non-Christians should be kept out of our country, I give you my pastor grandfather. He was imprisoned and tortured for being a Christian, and suffered the murder of his best friend for also refusing to deny Christ. He taught all that freedom of religion is a fragile and precious thing.

Much as my grandfather taught, I also know there are a lot of things worth standing up for.

If you don’t like an editorial, you are free to complain or unsubscribe. But threatening violence is always wrong.

Of course in NZ, it is the Herald hires you if you threaten violence against people for their views!

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