Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Innocent bumper sticker or invitation to murder?

It’s come to my attention that you don’t have enough to worry about in your life, so here is something new to keep you up at night. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in Palatka, Florida has posted a warning to drivers on its Facebook page that stickers on the back of your vehicle are inviting criminal activity.

That’s right. Your choice of decals or bumper stickers can tell a bad guy a whole lot of information about you and your family. For instance, a parking pass can tell a criminal where you go to school or work. A “My daughter is an honor student at xxxx” tips off the nogoodniks to where your child goes to school. Your “I love my Chihuahua” bumper sticker makes it clear that your dog will pose no threat once I break into your house. And don’t get me started on the stick figure family. If you have these you deserve to be murdered in your sleep.

If this seems a bit over the top to you, I agree. I picture myself leaving Target, walking across the parking lot and seeing a guy with swastikas tattooed on his forehead standing behind my car with a legal pad taking notes. Probably not going to happen. Most criminals are not, shall we say, sophisticated or patient enough to decode your bumper stickers in any useful way. And when I see stick figure families, they’re usually on the rear window of a rusted, decades old minivan, which should convey to even the dimmest thief that they are not a prime burglary target.

I appreciate the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office for the warning, but I’m leaving my “I won the Powerball lottery” sticker on my car, thank you very much.

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