Drinking debate takes ugly turn
MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. — Signs stolen, spray painted and ripped to shreds: leaders on both sides of the drinking debate in Marshall County said the issue is starting to tear at the fabric of the community.
Even churches aren't immune. A couple of them were recently vandalized.
Both sides are disappointed and both feel like their side is being picked on more than the other. But now, the sheriff is speaking out about the crimes being committed and voters feel like they are being victimized.
Like a stiff drink, what's happening across this county is hard to swallow
"There's two different colors of paint on it," Mylon Smith said.
Vandals spray painted "YES" over the "Vote No" sign in his neighborhood.
Smith understands the drinking debate is controversial but wishes those who disagree with him and his neighbors would stay off private property.
"It's a shame," he said.
Apparently, no one can dodge the destruction caused by politically-motivated vandals, not even the Briensburg Baptist Church.
"We're not discouraged," Pastor Brad Waker said. "No one's going to steal our vote simply because they've stole our sign."
Walker said someone also threw eggs at his church and church vehicles.
"We're not mad," he said. "That's not going to be something that we're going to hold against anybody."
He said the anti-drinking signs around the church and down the road also recently disappeared. Meanwhile, the 'Vote Yes' signs were left alone.
But the sheriff said signs from both sides are being stolen. The county attorney said that's misdemeanor theft, which carries a fine of up to $500 and less than a year in jail.
Deputies are now actively looking for anyone tampering with or taking the signs.
The Marshall 1st Movement just ordered more "Vote Yes" signs because many of theirs were also stolen.
Group spokesperson Sissy Wommack said she caught a 50-year-old man taking one of her signs.
But it's not just the theft wearing Wommack down. It's the attitudes of opponents.
"It's been ugly," she said. "I been told to leave town, pack my bags, keep my mouth shut."
Meanwhile, Smith said he isn't worried at all.
"God will take care of them," he said. "Vengeance is his. That ain't for us to handle."
Pastor Brad Walker said his church wasn't the only one recently vandalized. He said other churches that have taken a stand on this issue experienced similar problems.
The Marshall 1st Movement plans on advertising on television soon. They'll also be sending out letters to the 16,000 Marshall County households.
Say No Now is producing some radio spots. They've also said from day one, they plan on busing voters to the polls on election day.
Marshall 1st is also offering to take folks to the polls.
The wet-dry vote in Marshall County takes place July 17.