Author Archives: Teri

Kentuckians to ‘Wear Orange’ in hopes of saving lives

Teri Carter is with Cathy Hobart, Kentucky Chapter Leader of Moms Demand Action

You can read my full column by clicking HERE (free, no paywall).

Wear Orange is a national event. It originated on June 2, 2015 — what would have been Hadiya Pendleton’s 18th birthday — when teenagers in Chicago wanted to honor their friend, Hadiya, after she was shot and killed.

Today, Wear Orange honors Hadiya and the more than 120 people who are shot and killed every day in America, as well as the hundreds more who are wounded and countless others who witness acts of gun violence. Wear Orange brings together survivors, activists, and communities all over America to demand change.

Here are a few Kentucky gatherings that will honor survivors and those whose lives were stolen by gun violence.

Lexington: Saturday, June 3, 2:00 pm at Woodland Park, 601 East High St., near the gazebo. Speakers include Police Chief Weathers, Sheriff Witt, Devine Carama from One Lexington, Moms Demand Action leaders, and survivors of gun violence.

Louisville: Saturday, June 3, 1:30 pm at Chickasaw Park. Speakers include a family member of Tyler Gerth; Sherita Smith, the mother of 16 year-old Tyree Smith who was gunned down at the bus stop; District 3 Councilman Kumar Rashad; and District 1 Councilwoman Tammy Hawkins.

Frankfort: Thursday, June 1, 11:30 am on the Franklin County Courthouse steps, 222 St. Clair Street. Mayor Lane Wilkerson and Judge Executive Michael Mueller will sign a joint proclamation declaring Friday, June 2, as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Frankfort and Franklin County. 

To find a WEAR ORANGE location near you, text Orange to 644-33.

Guns or Our Kids: That’s the choice.

Betsy Bryant signs a makeshift memorial display for a victim of the mass shooting in Louisville during the community vigil on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the Muhammad Ali Center plaza in Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky Lantern photo by Abbey Cutrer

As I was writing about the Kentucky governor’s race and gun legislation, I had to stop for a Breaking News alert about a possible mass shooter at the KY Transportation Cabinet.

This is how we live.

We live in a cycle of perpetual threats of gun violence. I am no longer interested in how we got here. I am only interested in how we get out.


Doing the work: My new role with Moms Demand Action for Common Sense Gun Reform

At the Kentucky State Capitol, February 2020

We all have those moments where we decide it’s time to do something, to do more. After yet another mass shooting, the one in April at Old National Bank in Louisville which left 5 people dead and a young police officer shot in the head, I made the decision to do more.

I am officially beginning my new, volunteer role with Moms Demand Action as State Communications Lead for Kentucky.

Over the last few years I have shown up sporadically at events for Moms Demand Action, the organization started by Shannon Watts after Sandy Hook, when contacted by leaders the Kentucky chapter. I have put on my red t-shirt and rallied at the Capitol, met with a couple of lawmakers to discuss common sense gun reform, and this year even (nervously) testified a couple times during the legislative session.

And yet, my participation has been both tepid and rare. I was/am busy with so many other things. I am completely overwhelmed with my work and the entire political landscape. Aren’t we all? Who has the time?

I am making the time.

If you’d like to help or even just talk, you can find me here:

More soon!

The AR-15 and our broken country

Have you reached a new level of anger and despair with the latest mass shootings, this week in Louisville where folks simply woke up, went to an early meeting at work, and were shot to death?

I’m here to share my heavy heart with you. Click here. Thanks for reading. (No paywall)

Flowers rest on steps at a memorial for the Louisville mass shooting that happened earlier this week on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky Lantern photo by Abbey Cutrer.

Local Newspaper or Christian Nationalist Pamphlet?

I am a newspaper columnist. I wrote regularly for The Anderson News, my local paper, from 2017 – 2020, and I fear the vacuum that is being left by the disappearance of local news and newspapers.

And yet, if you follow state-level politics, not only in Kentucky but in Republican-led states across the country, you are seeing the terrifying creep of Christian nationalism into the governing mainstream and into our information sources.

Case in point: My county newspaper, The Anderson News, is a once-per-week paper serving a population of ~24,000.

Whether it is due to ownership by Paxton Media Group, a lack of staff writers, or local editors’ ideology, our newspaper is no longer recognizable as a trusted news source. It is pure, fundamentalist Christian propaganda. Here are some examples from today’s edition. Keep in mind that there are not all that many pages.

This is the front page. One of the most hateful, anti-transgender bills was just passed into Kentucky law. Who wrote the story? A man from Kentucky Today.

Who is Kentucky Today? This is the front page of their website this morning.

This is the Opinion Page, and there are a few notables.

That tiny Letter to the Editor in the lower left corner appears to be from a writer in Utah? And why is a small Kentucky paper publishing its only letter to editor about Ted Cruz from Texas?

The top story titled “Fences, guards, and guns in American Schools” was written by a man named Glenn Mollette. Here is the front page of Mr. Mollette’s website:

Here is a sample from Mr. Molette’s article:

And there is the Faith page, which we have always had (to my knowledge) but it used to be a column written by local preachers. Now these very large columns are mostly from a man named Van Yandell.

This is Mr. Yandell’s LinkedIn Opening:

Kentucky Republicans: The battalion of bullies who talked about “love”

CLICK HERE to read (no paywall).

This story is what I experienced in the last 48 hours of this year’s General Assembly: a battalion of elected bullies.

Plus Margaret, a local Anderson County woman whom I’d never met but walked up to me in the Capitol rotunda to tell me all about Christians and “love.” Lest you think I’m exaggerating, below are just a few of her public Facebook comments on this subject from that last 24 hours or so. Christian nationalism is a hell of a drug.

Where do we go from here?

I did not write this column, but I emailed with Perry Bacon, Jr. (a Washington Post columnist who lives in Louisville) about it.

Millions of left-leaning Americans like me live in red states like this one, where the Republican officials are imposing Trump-style policies and looking to “own the libs” whenever possible.

“I’ve talked to so many people lately where the conversation is some version of, ‘Okay, so where are we moving? Where can we go?’” said Teri Carter, a Democratic-leaning writer who lives in nearby Anderson County, referring to her friends who live in red states.

Read more here.

And so it goes

I spent most of yesterday at the Kentucky Capitol where our GOP supermajority overrode Governor Beshear’s veto to pass one of the cruelest, most hateful and unnecessary anti-trans, anti-gay, anti-humanity laws in the country. Here’s a (no paywall) link if you’d like to know more:

I attended both the protest on the lawn outside, where we were all both mortified about the law and happy to see and hug our heroes and allies (sharing some of those photos here). Then I went inside the rotunda for The Family Foundation’s gathering to support Senate Bill 150 becoming law. It was, in both a literal and metaphorical sense, like going from the light into the darkest darkness.

Inside the somber rotunda, a Lawrenceburg woman whom I don’t know and have never met walked up to introduce herself. She reached out to shake my hand. I shook it. It took me a second, but I soon recognized her name as a person who used to write hateful things about me and others on social media. Bullies like her are the reason I finally just shut my Facebook page down.

The woman smiled and said something like, ‘I just wanted to tell you I go to Ninevah church where we love everybody and you. I love you.’ I don’t know what I said, except that my words were few and it solidified my experience with these folks and the very twisted view of “love” and Christianity they seem to have.

As Kurt Vonnegut might say, “And so it goes …”

Not 18 hours earlier, however, another Lawrenceburg woman had walked up to me in a parking lot and said she’d waited 3 yrs to tell me she was sorry our newspaper editor (at the time) and others had bullied me into stopping my Anderson News column. I was so stunned by the pure kindness of this, I cried all the way home. As Henry James said, ‘Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.’

There is so much work to do.

It’s the guns, it’s the guns, it’s the guns, it’s the guns, it’s the guns, it’s the guns, it’s the guns

Click here to read. There is no paywall.

I ran out of runway in this piece — newspaper columns can only be so long — but there’s more.

A month ago, on Feb. 24, I was at a sandwich shop in Lawrenceburg, talking to a woman I canvassed with for Amy McGrath. She is what my dad would call “a real spark plug!” Full of energy and joy.

She has been politically active for decades, so I asked her what she’s been working on. “Nothing,” she said, smile fading. “I’m done. I just stay home now.” She told me about being in a local store during the pandemic. A large, tall, young man standing next to her was not wearing a mask. She told him several times that he should be wearing a mask. He ignored her. As she was walking out of the store, he caught up with her, pulled up his shirt, showed her his gun and said something like, “I’ll do whatever the f**k I want.”

My friend is done with this place, done with politics, done with the constant presence of guns. Talking to her was like watching the lights go out.

The day before I ran into my friend, police were called to a residence in town. This was reported by Ricky Sayer of LEX18.

I was later told the gunman’s girlfriend had, w/o his knowledge, ordered Walmart click-list to be delivered. The delivery woman left the package on their doorstep and the man, allegedly on drugs, came out with a gun and chased her, using the butt of his gun damage her car. Local police, the sheriff’s dept, and state troopers all responded. You can tell by the photos that it took almost a dozen officers to subdue him.

This is how we live.

And lest you think this is unique to Lawrenceburg, where I live, it is not. I hear stories like this all the time, from people who live in counties all around me, but I do not report them because they are always off-the-record. People are scared.

And finally, note the care I’ve taken in these stories to use no names, no descriptions, no places. The work I’ve done to disguise everyone because we are all, ALL OF US, scared of the guys with the guns.

This is how we live, too.