Yes, I am a Christian and I will vote NO on Amory’s alcohol referendum, for obvious reasons and maybe not so obvious ones. The supporting arguments I have heard and read are alcohol sales will draw more residents and businesses to our area. This would grow our city, provide better jobs and increase our tax base. But at what costs?
I grew up in Zion, IL, which was a dry city. It was a wonderful city for families and children, safe, clean and full of events. There were plenty of job opportunities in our communities and was chosen to be home to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Chicago campus.
My family and I moved back to my home state of Mississippi 20 years ago. My family was from Amory and I spent many summer vacations here. Amory reminded us of the community we grew up in. This is home. A few years after leaving Zion, alcohol and liquor were voted in. With alcohol and liquor sales came crime, gambling, and a city that now resembles a slum city.
I have a brother there and our visits back to Zion have been heartbreaking. The city grew, but gangs and criminals set up a stronghold, providing alcohol and liquor sales with the possibility for more illegal activities. The city’s crime rate is through the roof with robberies, shootings and stabbings weekly. The neighborhoods are full of trash and run down. Gambling facilities are moving in everywhere. It is not safe to be out in your own yards after dark. The city has turned into a “Little Chicago.”
I do not want to watch Amory turn into a Zion, IL. Opening the door to one vice can create an entry for others. You can say this won’t happen here, but in a world where families and core beliefs are constantly under attack, anything goes.