‘I Prefer Dangerous Freedom to Peaceful Slavery,’ Says Small-Town North Dakota Bar Owner Who Has Repeatedly Defied Shutdown Orders Over Coronavirus


MINOT, N.D. — David Corum is the operator of the Gunslinger Grill in tiny Willow City, about 70 miles northeast of Minot.

Like many business owners, he’s been walloped by Gov. Doug Burgum’s decision to restrict business operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike most business owners, Corum has tried to operate anyway.

Corum has been cited for infractions by authorities in Bottineau County five times for violating Burgum’s executive order. He’s currently under a court order not to operate.

Why did he defy the shutdown order? “For one, it’s my only means of economic survival,” Corum told me. “For another, there are some serious constitutional issues here.”

“I prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery,” he added, saying that’s a paraphrase of something President Thomas Jefferson once said.

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