North Dakota's District 36 Rep. Luke Simons is being accused on social media of responding too aggressively to a Facebook user on his official page, after the user questioned the validity of assertions made in a post penned by the state lawmaker.
In his original post, Simons said:
"I have had several of you doctors call me within the state and a few out of the state tell me that you are being silenced by the clinics and hospitals that you work for. Some of you are starting to speak up. This article was brought to me by a doctor buddy of mine in Dickinson wrote by another doctor. If you think masks work I would question your research," Simons wrote.
The respondent, Randy Mormon, replied to Simons post saying, "I doubt a doctor brought this to your attention. You do have a history of misinformation."
Replying to Mormon, Simons said: "Randy, why don’t you stop by my office and say that to my face. I doubt you have the guts. I’ve been called a lot of things but never a liar. Don’t be a coward and hide behind your screen and run your big mouth. Out west big mouths that talk big usually get taught a physical lesson they don’t soon forget."
Speaking with The Press, Simons said that while he does regret losing his temper in his response he doesn't regret standing his ground on something that he believes is paramount — his integrity. Simons says he has grown tired of constant harassment and attacks on his page.
"I get threatened so much it's not even funny," Simons said. "I can get pretty testy at times because I'm just so tired of people harassing me or threatening my family on social media. When that man called me a liar it just was not sitting well with me at all."
Simons said as a Christian he would not act in violence unprovoked, and that his invitation to Mormon is a real invitation to come and meet face-to-face to resolve their differences. Simons summarized previous banter with people who he has had similar exchanges with.
"Most of the same people who talk like that will later come into my office, and I give them a cup of coffee and we leave friends," Simons said. "I don't understand why people talk this way to each other when there's a screen between us. I grew up on a ranch in oil field country and if you call someone a liar you have to be ready to back that up because those were fighting words to me."