Alleged attack on board member must be taken seriously
School board member Joe Enge made a chilling statement in Tuesday’s Appeal when he suggested that he was threatened and punched at a local casino because of the views he has expressed in writing or during school board meetings.
“I’m a hundred-percent sure it’s related to who I am. But is it something I wrote, is it something on the school board?” he asked. In fact, he said this is the second time he has been assaulted by someone he didn’t know.
We don’t know if Enge’s words or views were truly the motivation for the alleged attack, or if it was more random in nature. But if Enge is accurate, it’s critical that the case be brought to justice quickly and that an example be made of the attackers. One of the fundamental values we hold sacred in our society is free speech, the ability to express our views no matter how unpopular they may be. On any level, whether it’s in the privacy of a home or on the grand scale of our nation’s capital, physical intimidation to silence those who we disagree with is intolerable.
There’s no question that Enge’s views, and sometimes his manner of expressing them, have raised some hackles and, based on that, it seems possible that his claims are true. While his views may seem abrasive to some, it’s important that they be heard. Just ask the 8,800 city residents who voted for him and are counting on him to express them.
Of course, even if the alleged attackers had other reasons for their actions, we hope the case is solved quickly. Violence in any form is unacceptable. But if, as Enge suggests, it was done to repress freedom of speech or over views he has expressed, then it’s more serious.
In fact, it’s a principle so important that many Americans have died to preserve it.