To the Editor:

Realizing that this letter will appear after the vote on whether or not to sell alcoholic beverages in Amory has concluded, I am addressing some facts that we are faced to consider. And the vote does affect citizens of Amory and all surrounding areas. Many people live outside the city limits, but shop in Amory. And every Amory business owner has not been a citizen of Amory.

Each person has opinions; truth is the basis for living. We can continue voicing our preferences, all the while watching strands of actuality flow through our community. The sooner we face reality, the better.

Honestly, there are hypocrites on both side of this line. And, some of the statements are only partial representations of the whole accuracy. If a business failed due to Amory’s not selling alcoholic beverages, why would it relocate to an area that also prohibits the sale of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages? Something is wrong with reasoning that groups failure into one lumped opinion.

Does anyone have a copy of the City of Amoy’s printed plan, including transformative strategies, impact and risks and the implementation approach to improve the quality of life in Amory if the vote changes the prohibition of selling alcoholic beverages/liquor?

Do business owners/managers know the financial plan that shows tax rates and designation of profits if the sale of liquor/alcoholic beverages becomes legal in Amory?

In every area of life, emotions play a huge role in persuasion. People can talk and use personality to convince others of most anything. Wise people review facts before accepting open statements.

Choices are part of living. We all make some wrong ones. Sometimes we do have opportunity to correct the selections. Other times, we must endure the consequences. In listening to the tone of many views, I hear bitterness. Maybe guilt is surfacing to blame others. Whatever the cause, I pray for mercy on our children.

A necessary economic tool for a better Amory could be the integrity of adults that breeds into future young leaders. No amount of corporate or commercial sales, especially involving substances that are limited to adult consumption, can prove to benefit as greatly as character.

Respectfully,

Karen Carroll

To the Editor:

I realize this letter cannot see print before the alcohol vote. But, after reading Carla Glasgow’s letter, I had to respond. I am the son of an alcoholic and I’ve got some things to say on the matter.

It is rare to read so much concentrated nonsense in one place and not have it come from Washington, D.C. Her letter is really nuts. First of all, she talks about being in business in Amory for 44 years. If she’s done that well in business all this time in a dry town, what has she got to complain about? Doing without alcohol hasn’t hurt her any, so she’s already torpedoed her best argument.

I don’t give a hoot what other towns have or have not done. Every town is unique, with its own set of business environment and circumstances. The experiences of one town do not automatically translate to what another town goes through.

“Back in the day,” Ms. Glasgow, Amory was a thriving, prosperous railroad town. For decades, the biggest local employer was the garment industry. When the Frisco left, Main Street businesses began closing their doors. Walmart came in the mid-1970s and took out whatever was left. Not to worry, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway was opening, and all that river traffic would give us an economic boom. The river traffic never came, however, and the Tenn-Tom turned out to be nothing but a money pit. If you sit next to the waterway all day long, you might see two or three tugboats with barges. Big deal – and all the garment production went overseas and stayed there.

Main Street has been a dilapidated ghost town since the 1980s. Highway 278 between Main and Walmart is where most of Amory’s business takes place. If a store opens on Main Street, it’s lucky to last a year – or two at most. For one thing, rent on business properties on Main Street is sky high. Once a business owner pays his rent and utilities every month, any profit made on sales is gone. Take that kind of hit long enough, and he’s out of business.

Second, this is Mississippi. We are number one in everything bad and number 50 in everything good. I’ve lived here 62 years, and it has always been that way. The other states didn’t coin the phrase “Thank God for Mississippi” by accident. For decades, the government and legislatures of this state have made “cheap labor, cheap labor, cheap labor” the main selling point to lure any business here. All right then, that means we have tiny little paychecks compared to people in other states and we have to spend big chunks of those little checks on rent, mortgages, utilities, car payments and on and on.

This is where Walmart comes in. If we can find 90 percent of all the food and supplies we need in one place at one time at cheaper prices than any other business in Amory – surprise – that’s where we’re going to shop. Why should we walk in the door of any store on Main Street when we know we’ll pay an arm and a leg for whatever they’ve got? Other stores can’t undercut Walmart’s prices, Ms. Glasgow, and you know it. We don’t have a lot of money to throw around after we pay our bills and have to stretch every dollar we have left. We’re not going to waste them on overpriced junk.

That’s the fix that shops of Main Street face. They can’t survive if they cut prices to the bone to compete with Walmart, and there aren’t enough kids of doctors, lawyers, real estate agents and bankers in this town running loose with their parents’ credit cards to make up for the working people who can’t afford their goods. I guess Ms. Glasgow’s solution would be to open a string of bars and clubs on Main from Highway 278 to Highway 6 and create Amory’s own version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans?

Ms. Glasgow rattled off a long list of businesses that shut down since the last alcohol vote – a printer, a photographer, an accountant, an antique shop, a bait shop, a pawn shop, a carpet store, a flower shop, a flooring place, a chiropractor, an exercise studio, a construction firm and a car lot. Look over that list again and tell me – would anyone looking for a drink have gone to any of these places? Of course not! So, how would alcohol in Amory have kept any of them open? Her argument is ridiculous.

Now, on Amory’s shrinking population – this is part of Mississippi’s shrinking population as a whole. “Cheap labor,” remember? If kids coming out of high school and college in Mississippi want more out of life than a minimum wage, most of them are going to high-tail it out of here and go anywhere else to have a career with a good chance of making double or triple what they can earn here. Amory is a great place to retire because of our hospital, nursing homes, doctors and medical supplies and a quiet atmosphere. It’s not a great place to make a living or support and feed a family. “Atmosphere” won’t pay your bills. Business professionals like doctors, lawyers and bankers do well here, but they would do well anywhere because of the nature of their jobs. If you’re not a professional, it’s a constant struggle to make ends meet. Alcohol would do squat to make their lives better, with a high potential to destroy their lives if they get hooked. Young people leave because they’d rather not be poor.

As for all of Ms. Glasgow’s lost wedding receptions, reunions, golf tournaments and such, if the only reasons someone wants to attend one of these events is so he or she can get sloshed, stay away. No one will miss you. What bride or groom wants a stumbling drunk in their midst? If you refuse to see relatives or old friends because there’s booze on hand, you’re not much of a friend anyway, are you? If you need alcohol for a crutch, that’s your problem. Get help.

Ms. Glasgow accuses anyone who opposes alcohol of secretly swilling beer or wine because, of course, everyone drinks, right? Okay, lady, I grew up with an alcoholic father for my first 15 years. He quit working when I was 2 because of a back injury and got a railroad retirement check the first of every month. If mother got to the mailbox first, we paid bills and had food. If he got there first, he had booze, and we did without. I had the “opportunity” to study the effects of alcohol up close every day and listen to the endless fights over money, booze and bills every night. It was like living in a minefield for years with no way out, never knowing where or when the next explosion was coming. Divorce was not a socially acceptable option in those days. I know every excuse by heart that alcoholics have. I know every brag, every beg, every whine and every fit. All of the alcohol tax dollars in the world are not worth the price of a single ruined life of a single wrecked family. I have never tasted beer, wine or alcohol and I never will, but I know the stink of every one of them very well.

Ask the police who pull mangled bodies of drunken drivers and their innocent victims out of wrecks to tell you how wonderful alcohol is. Ask the folks at funeral homes who prepare bodies for burial. Ask the preachers who listen to grieving families ask “why?” My question to liquor sellers or restaurant and business owners who want alcohol so desperately is very simple – how do you sleep at night when you peddle your drugs to an addict? Is padding your bank accounts worth all the destruction you spread? I don’t know where you’ll end up one day, but a higher power will demand an answer from you for what you choose to do.

Alcohol and gambling proponents sing the same old song that the dollars we give them will repair roads, build schools and make our town and state a better place. All that ever happens is we give them dollars and get back pennies.

Most of Main Street should just be bulldozed. Is there a single building there built since 1920? Which roof will collapse next? Do you think out-of-towners who come here for the Railroad Festival and eat at the food areas enjoy looking at the crumbling, ugly, dingy back sides of the Main Street buildings? Since most businesses are out on Highway 278 anyway, why not re-zone Main Street as residential and get some kind of tax money out of it? If you can get a good meal at Bill’s, Country Boy’s, Panda Buffet or Knight’s, why would anyone want to blow a hole in their check ever eating at overpriced restaurants, with or without alcohol? Amory isn’t Tupelo or Columbus. We don’t have that kind of consumer base here. Alcohol will solve nothing.

This letter was hard to write, but I meant every word of it.

Richard Wilkerson

Amory

Clarification: Footnotes that were originally included in the letter to the editor in the Dec. 4 edition of the Monroe Journal written by Carla Glasgow were accidentally left out of publication due to a glitch with our operating system. Sources the original letter cited included Houston Forward, Houston MS; Public School Review; the Monroe Journal; and www.alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org in citing supporting statements. In reference to the partial list of businesses that have closed or left Amory, the missing footnote stated, “One cannot attribute the closing of these businesses solely to a dry Amory, but one can argue that some may have survived had Amory been wet and that they have not been replaced because new businesses will go to wet cities (with a higher probability for success) than dry Amory.”

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