The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 23, 2013

Assault victim takes the high road after awful incident


Enid News & Eagle

— Occasionally, individuals use media as a wedge to manipulate an issue for individual gain.

That is not the case with recent news coverage of Jim Roth, the former Oklahoma Corporation Commission member. Roth wasn’t looking for publicity when he was verbally and then physically assaulted outside an Oklahoma City bar.

Roth, who happens to be Oklahoma County’s first openly gay elected official, told The Oklahoman he hoped this incident wouldn’t make the news. He was just celebrating at the bar during a birthday dinner with friends.

Roth’s name should sound familiar. When Roth was running for Corporation Commissioner in 2008, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clayton Bennett called Jim a man of integrity. He was described as a visionary with experience to lead Oklahoma toward responsible growth.

Heavy hitters on Roth’s election campaign included Harold Hamm. The Continental Resources Chairman and CEO even planned to host a reception for Roth in his Enid home.

Flashing forward: When a man recently made anti-gay comments to Roth’s party at the OKC bar, Jim and his friends reportedly ignored them and then decided to leave. The man and his two friends yelled more slurs and punched Roth in the head, pushing him to the ground. Jim fought back, and the attackers fled.

It’s disappointing this awful incident happened in the first place. And it’s sad Roth’s party felt they had to leave the birthday celebration before the attack.

With ripped jeans, a scraped knee and red marks on his face, Roth remained classy and upbeat following the hateful incident.

“I don’t think the actions of one bigot represent the attitude or feelings of all Oklahomans,” Roth told The Oklahoman.

“I personally have met hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans through my time in public service. I’ve certainly met some who were closed-minded. But the great majority of people I have met are kindhearted and open-minded.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is called taking the high road.