Ever since April of 2017, as well as some activities before this, fliers have been reported across town depicting racist drawings of African American, Hispanic, and Jewish men with over exaggerated proportions to make them look related to various stereo types. At the very top of these fliers is a picture of your average white family. The fliers do not only have the racist images; they also have some racist remarks, such as “Don’t believe Jewish and Liberal LIES/ RACE IS REAL/ Keep Idaho Safe… Keep Idaho clean… Keep Idaho WHITE” and underneath each of the caricatures is the word “NO!”
These events have been, naturally, very alarming to the community in, and around, Sandpoint. Mayor Shelby Rognstad has also been a target of the racist propagandists. Mayor Rognstad has received a photo shopped image of himself in a gas chamber with a Nazi cartoon frog referred to on the internet as “Pepe” ready to flip the switch. Initially, the activities were simply planned on being ignored as no actual laws were being broken. But, then came the events on August 12, in Charlottesville, Virginia. The activities began to become more and more frequent, according to Mayor Rognstad “It’s almost been on a daily basis the last couple of weeks,” and “My hunch is that it’s just one or two people trying to get as much attention as possible,”. “Initially, the attitude was to ignore them. But now, since Charlottesville and these fliers now being distributed every day, it’s time to speak up.” Said Mayor Rognstad. (Interview taken from The Spokesman Review)
Scott D. Rhodes was identified after being caught on surveillance footage placing propaganda CDs on students’ windshields at Sandpoint High school. It’s unlikely that he will be charged with any crime as his actions do not infringe upon “Free Speech”. However, he is also a suspect in a case in Alexandria, Virginia where, in last Fall, the Mayor of Alexandria and other city council members received racist and anti-Semitic phone calls including a recording of Adolf Hitler from a number linked to Scott’s phone.
While these fliers have been put around Sandpoint for over a year now, this has not divided the community. The town of Sandpoint has continued to fight against these racist activities putting up posters with the phrase “Love Lives Here” showing support, for equality. While there may be some people who choose to be hateful, the majority of the community will not tolerate it, and will continue to support all people regardless of race, religion, sexuality, and circumstances.