Bumper stickers emerged in the late twenties along with the invention of the Model A. It was similar to the Model T, yet with at least one great advancement: bumpers. Combining American’s love of driving with their love of self-expression, drivers used cardboard, metal, and dye attached by string and wire for handy vehicular advertisements. Forrest P. Gill began producing them independently in his basement around 1946, soon upon a sticky canvas with longer lasting ink, which eventually developed into the adherent backs and shiny colors of today.
They were originally intended to serve as propaganda for entrepreneurs, politicians, and businesses. Now they have become practices of lingual liberties, a quiet yet ever-present debate between vehicle owners. Plastered onto automobiles of all brands in which the driver has little care for the resale value, they develop a gauntlet of personal and political statements to wade through. Statements range from the social rank of a parent as seen by a child’s accomplishments to a simple cure-all for all the world’s issues. Whether it represents philosophy, religion, politics, humor, academics, etc., they all mean that the individual inside the car has something to say in a few simple words.
In a red, white, and blue extravaganza, the words read, “If you kill someone in Texas, we KILL you back.”
“I’m here on behalf of Rachel.”
“Rachel? From Vegas?”
“The stripper, yes.” I saw him sitting through scratched and smudged sheets of plastic. The murderer of my two friends, a frightened child in a foreign city donning a baby blue prison-jumper that matched what shone in his eyes. Rachel was a friend of his from his hometown that I’d spent some time talking to online. She was the only person openly supporting him as a human being, and not some demon. “Rachel says she loves you and she’s here for you. This is what I’ve come to say.”
The 19 year-old boy on the other side of the prison window was accused of the double homicide of my younger friends, both still high school students. He was said to have tortured and stabbed them with several knives, then set the house on fire, leaving them to die. He was just a kid from Vegas, trying to find his biological family. He found said family several states away; they’d welcomed him into their home, and he soon developed an infatuation with his new sister’s best friend. It did not end well when he learned that his feelings for her weren’t reciprocated.
Now I was staring at the accused, hoping to be the forgiving person I’d always told others to be. Tears fell from his eyes at the mention of his best friend from back home.
“Don’t. Don’t give me that,” I responded. “You’ve got it easy. You didn’t have to stand outside, watch them carry out dripping heaps of red carpet to the lawn, and witness a child burying his face into his mother’s chest asking how somebody could have so much blood. Parents lying absurdly, saying that it’s not their blood. It took two men to pull the knife out of Tim, said it nailed him to the floor.” I looked at the former assailant with disgust, disgust I now regret. “Your tears. They mean nothing.” I’d spent several days thinking of how this diatribe would come out, going to visit him with the best intentions, yet knowing I couldn’t contain myself.
Hundreds rallied at the two funerals in 2008 out of respect for the dead and condemnation for the living. Every YouTube post of local coverage or online article hosted myriad angry comments, sending condolences and love to the victims’ families, and all banishing the accused.
“It’s beyond comprehension, except to say the evil seeds of Satan are now running rampant and we are seeing the fruit of Satan’s seed,” as “Judith” exclaimed online in regards to the case. “The only way to rid the planet of the evil seed is to execute A.S.A.P. [He] should be executed as soon as possible and I pray that the state of Washington with all their good, common sense uses their Justice System to rid the planet of this lowlife, scum of the Earth, burden on society.”