Man offended by signs complains to city
For local resident Stan Marsh, signs recently placed throughout the Dyersburg city limits are simply an act of discrimination.
Several signs recently erected in the community offered messages Marsh feels are offensive to residents who choose to drink alcohol. And he found several in strategic locations he feels were designed to target residents near establishments that serve, sell or produce alcoholic beverages.
Two examples of the controversial signs include:
"Boozers are losers! Guns don't kill people - Drunks do! 12,100 deaths from guns. 75,000 deaths from alcohol. Do the Math!"
"Satan couldn't be everywhere so he created liquor stores, nightclubs and beer joints. 'And be not drunk with wine, ... but be filled with the spirit' -- Ephesians 5:18"
"The problem I have is that I should be able to drink and not be criticized about it," said Marsh, who left his favorite watering hole one evening to find a sign located just across the parking lot. "It would be different if the signs were about drunk driving. But they are not. It's just very offensive. It's discrimination against people who drink."
Marsh found signs in several locations along Lake Road and the Highway 51 Bypass. A little investigation on Marsh's part put him on the phone with the person who placed the signs. He quickly found himself in a heated discussion.
"I told him, 'I've been drunk twice this month and I haven't killed anyone yet,'" said Marsh.
Marsh is not only concerned for himself. He fears allowing the people to place discriminatory signs anonymously will escalate the problem.
"This just opens the door for any atheist to put up a sign across from a church, a vegetarian to put a sign up in front of McDonalds. ... It's a real concern," said Marsh. "Most people look at discrimination (on the basis of) race. This is discrimination against people who drink."
City of Dyersburg Gas, Water and Sewer Distribution Director Mike Morgan said he took four signs down that were placed in a flowerbed at the intersection of highways 78 and 51 at the request of a member of the City Beautiful Commission.
The rest of the signs have also been removed.
"I am pleased that they are down," said Marsh. "It just goes to show that if there is something offensive like that, all it takes is for someone to speak up."