I've met neither Robert Phillips nor Daniel N. Clark (nor Jerry Votendahl) but wish to comment on recent opinion page exchanges concerning them. After all, on Nov. 20 Mr. Phillips wrote, "Folks, if possible, please read both letters and decide for yourselves."
I accept that invitation to read and decide (and comment).
Incidentally, I also support everyone in our sheriff and police departments, but my conclusion after reading the letters is to agree completely with Mr. Daniel N. Clark that challenging another writer to meet for a fight ("in the ring at a boxing club and we will straighten it out in the first round ... and yes, it could turn out to be fun - for one of us!") is indeed a lapse of civility and threat of violence.
I'm normally against censorship and appreciate the U-B opinion page editor's generous policy of printing all letters within certain guidelines, but I believe Phillips' boxing ring challenge crosses the line. I'm sure I'm not the only U-B reader to be quite surprised at that particular language on the opinion page and would have thought the author might have received a call from the editorial page editor to reconsider the wording or better, removing that paragraph altogether.
As my occasionally popping jawbone would attest, I've not been one to cringe at a threat of fisticuffs and may have on rare occasion wished the good (bad?) old days were still en vogue when an insult was resolved by a slap with a glove and a choice of weapons. However, in the 21st century we have laws, courts, and (if required) anger management courses.
Mr. Phillip's response that his challenge was "simply inviting Votendahl to a sporting event and never mentioning violence" doesn't pass muster. Not even tongue-in-cheek. Most "folks" know quite well what occurs in a boxing ring and can read between the lines to understand exactly what the writer had in mind - beating up Mr. Votendahl in one round. That is a form of verbal bullying. Look it up.
I've not always sided with Mr. Clark's opinions, but do believe he is a peace-loving gentleman. To misconstrue his well-mannered and worded response as "trash talk," a "huge lapse of civility and ethics" and a "false statement" is nothing short of preposterous.
If any apologies are forthcoming from anyone, my vote is they should be offered by Mr. Phillips.