A love letter to Lawrenceburg

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“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.” ~ Thornton Wilder, OUR TOWN

A few years ago, a woman born and raised here in Lawrenceburg told me she loves it here so much she would never, ever live anywhere else. When she met her future husband, he owned a nice home in the next county over. If he wanted her, she told him, he had to sell his house and move here. And he did. What better testament of love could there be?

I thought about this yesterday morning when I arrived in town to walk my dogs. There were 2 women on the corner carrying assault rifles, their fingers next to the trigger. There were some men with guns on their belts milling around the courthouse. Next to the door of the Judge Executive’s office stood the man who, over Memorial Day weekend, had hung an effigy of the governor at our State Capitol. He was smiling and chatting with another man.

I did not bother walking my dogs. I turned around and drove right back home.

Apparently, there has been a debate brewing here over whether or not to remove a statue of a confederate soldier on our courthouse lawn. A meeting was taking place at the Judge Executive’s office. I’ve been gone for a month, so I knew little about this.

But this I do know: If there are civilian men and women openly carrying weapons up and down Main Street, you will not see me on Main Street.

As a prominent, local woman whose family has lived here for generations said yesterday about these armed militia, “They are ruining our downtown. I’m afraid to go anywhere downtown.”

Yes, it is legal to open carry weapons in Kentucky. Legally, there is nothing city leadership or law enforcement can do. But consider the economic impact.

This was the top story on WKTY’s website yesterday. If you saw this story, would you consider opening a business here, investing your money here? Would you bring your family to spend the day? Stop for dinner after dark?

I love our town. I love my neighbors and friends. I love the county park. I love stopping for coffee and saying hello to Laura. I love the many specialty foods carefully stocked by Eric at Tastefully Kentucky. I love shopping at Sweet Mash and chatting with Tamara and Dawn. And everyone knows there is not a better sandwich in the state of Kentucky than at Heavens to Betsy.

I do not love being bullied off Main Street.

I do not love feeling threatened.

As a local woman posted on social media yesterday: “I like guns, I ENJOY guns! I own many. They’re fascinating. And some are just drop dead gorgeous. Others are brilliant! But this is threatening. And these women are intentionally using the guns to BE threatening. WHO is going to visit our downtown right now? Who is going to go to lunch or dinner? I obviously don’t know these women or I would call their cellphones and ask them to stop. This hurts our downtown and it hurts our Tourism. We NEED our tourists.”

In keeping with the language of Thornton Wilder, it is something has to do with human beings. And it’s going to take the human beings in power, in Lawrenceburg leadership, to tell these armed militia they are hurting our livelihood and our businesses, and that they are not welcome in Our Town.