The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Is Lexington a witness protection town?

Ever wondered if there’s more to our sleepy college town? Well, be careful what you wish for
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Lilah Kimble
Who’s going into shops like Sugar Maple Trading Company? No one opinions editor Georgia Bernbaum knows. Are these shops evidence of Lexington being a witness protection town?

By now, I’m sure you all have heard of the theory that Lexington — yes, our very own quaint town — could be part of the Witness Protection Program. Now, I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories, but this one is hard to dispute. Let me lay out the facts and maybe, by the end of this article, you too will be convinced.

Exhibit A: Location

Let us first examine Lexington’s location at large. Lexington has the unique advantage of being a college town, meaning everyone is constantly moving in and out. It is the perfect place for those seeking anonymity in witness protection. Furthermore, we are situated right by a military school. Virginia Military Institute offers the ideal defense in case a mission was to go awry. Lastly, we are only three hours away from Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital. Our proximity to D.C. provides a fairly easy and quick route for those under protection. Need I say more?

Exhibit B: The downtown shops

Now, think of Lexington’s beloved ice cream shop, Sweet Things. If anyone’s tried to get a scoop of their delicious banana ice cream after a late night of studying or a refreshing cone during a hot day, then you know Sweet Things has incredibly weird hours. The store is closed Monday through Wednesday and on the days they are open, are only open from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. or from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. How could a business possibly sustain revenue while only being open four days a week, and half-days at that? Additionally, Sweet Things only accepts cash. This is nothing if not suspicious.

Sweet Things isn’t the only store that raises serious questions. There are several stores such as Linens and Ladles, Celtic Tides and Shenandoah Attic that seemingly never have customers. Through my extensive fieldwork in preparation for this article, I have not seen one person enter any of these aforementioned stores. Yet they continue to stay in business. “How?” you may ask yourself. Because all of these stores could be potential fronts for witness protection, continuously deceiving all those who pass by them. 

Exhibit C: Prevalence of former CIA officials

If you haven’t been convinced yet, allow me to point out the prevalence of former CIA officials currently residing in Lexington. Alfreda Scheuer, an infamous CIA operative dubbed “The Queen of Torture” lives among us. She built her career on the abduction, interrogation, and torture of those responsible for 9/11. Her husband, Michael Scheuer, was chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. I simply refuse to accept that their living here is merely a coincidence. If anyone were to be part of witness protection, it would be the two main operatives tasked with the torture and killing of Osama bin Laden and his allies. 

When I contacted the U.S. Marshals Service for more information, they refused to comment. I continued hitting brick wall after brick wall with the Department of Justice, the Lexington Police Department and Washington and Lee Public Safety. It was obvious no one was willing to give me a straight answer. Clearly, there is something to hide. Beyond the stress of classes and the drama of who’s dating whom, secret agents lurk amongst us. But, students of Washington and Lee, do not fear because I am prepared to commit the rest of my life to solving this mystery: is Lexington truly a witness protection town?

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  • W

    WalkerMay 14, 2024 at 11:20 am

    This sounds like its your first time living in a small town. I was excited for this article but it just sounds like someone moving in from a suburb of Atlanta and going through culture shock. Many small town businesses I’ve worked at charge cash only because they make more money by cutting out the service fees. Also by posting unfounded rumors of local businesses you’re affecting these stores and I wouldn’t be shocked if you get asked to rewrite the article. Fun lead of an article but it seems slightly out of touch and potentially slanderous.

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    • H

      HCMay 15, 2024 at 1:36 am

      Um…this is satire. The article was written six months ago, and no one has sought its retraction. The word you are looking for is libelous, and no, this does not qualify.

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