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Secret society will launch effort to punish resident, his family and businesses in order to stifle free speech.

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Secret society will launch effort to punish resident, his family and businesses in order to stifle free speech.

ANONYMOUS GROUP THREATENS RESIDENT

By Christine Snow, Editor, Dubois Frontier, March 4, 2021

Secret society will launch effort to punish resident, his family and businesses in order to stifle free speech.

An anonymous group has threatened a local man for writing letters to the editor in the Dubois Frontier in an attempt to silence him and squelch his First Amendment rights. In addition to his family, included in the threats are the newspaper and its advertisers.

Jim Bruner received an unsigned letter on Friday, Feb. 26 from a person or persons calling themselves “The Secret Society of Dubois Conservatives (not ‘Republicans’).”

Citing that Bruner’s “incendiary letters offend our political ideologies,” the letter states that “an anonymous group of 543 Dubois area patriots have decided to ban you from writing to the Frontier ever again from this point forward.”

Further, the group states that it will boycott the newspaper and all of its advertisers in an attempt to bankrupt them.

“If (editor) Christine (Snow) chooses to print anymore of your letters, we will all cancel our subscriptions to the Frontier, stop using any businesses who advertise in their pages, and refuse service to anyone who doesn’t follow our lead, thereby bankrupting the Dubois businesses who indirectly support the publication of your political views.”

Bruner has submitted opinions to the newspaper over the course of many months, at times making reference to a family member with whom he has had political discussions.

The letter states that the group is “expanding our cancellation of all things Bruner, and will...extend our wrath onto your family...”

The letter compares the threat to silence Bruner to recent events, in which the author believes Bruner and supporters on his “side” have “trounc[ed] on the rights of people who do not share your left-wing ‘republican’ beliefs.”

Going on to point out several instances where they believe that fraud occurred in the November 2020 election, the letter states that Bruner’s “side” has “made a mockery” of voting.

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EDITORIAL by Christine Snow, Dubois Frontier

WE MUST REJECT ALL INTIMIDATION

Oftentimes, living in this small community, it seems we are somewhat protected, or removed, from the strife and conflict across the country. But more and more, Dubois is becoming a microcosm of the nation, complete with all its discord and hostility.

It has gone a step beyond simple disgruntlement and frustration now, with an anonymous someone– or group of someones– using harassment and intimidation in an attempt to silence one of our residents for voicing his opinion. And not only is the threat aimed at this individual and his family, but was inclusive of anyone and any business that is viewed as aligning with his perspective.

The Frontier was included in the threat of boycott with the attempt to bankrupt, along with many of our local businesses.

Businesses advertising in these pages aren’t making a political statement, they are simply trying to make a living. They don’t check your political preferences at the door; they’re grateful you came in the door.

This newspaper is, quite succinctly, just doing its job, which includes protecting free speech– the same freedom given to each of us. 

The purpose of this page is to encourage vigorous debate and provide a platform for sharing ideas– whether they are in support or opposition. 

The intent is not to batter people into submission, but to stimulate discussion, foster communication, promote understanding and perhaps facilitate solutions.

As a community, are we going to stand for this? Will we be silent and allow this behavior and these tactics to prevail over not only what is right, but what is decent? If we do not stand up to this bullying, what’s next? Will we draw the line before our businesses are forced to close their doors? Before one of our neighbors is harmed? Or will our resolve to resist and our courage only surface afterwards, once the damage has been done?

Whether it is a group of 543, or 50, or a single individual, this cannot be acceptable. This must not become the norm.

Ironically, the last line of the letter sent to our neighbor reads, “What a pathetic point in our history.”

Perhaps that is one point on which we can all agree.