Bumper sticker terrorism touchy subject

Ned Cantwell

There has been a lot of upsetting news recently, and I am not just talking about the breakup of Ben and Jennifer.
I’m talking about news that gets you mad, and nothing made me madder than reading about the lunatics who snuck up to Albuquerque vehicles and affixed bumper stickers proclaiming “This SUV Supports Terrorism.”
How dare they? What gives some left-wing nutcase the idea he can invade at will the privacy of someone’s car he doesn’t approve? Is it any different than walking into my house and sticking a note on my refrigerator? “Beware: Killer Fatty Foods Inside!”
There was a time I subscribed to the theory that from the extreme ideological edges of thinking evolved a solid, reasonable middle. I am not so sure anymore. I am not so sure that Al Franken and his goofy followers on the left and Rush Limbaugh and his rabid addicts on the right don’t do more harm than good.
Look, you would think any reasonable person would express outrage at the bumper sticker lunatics. A University of New Mexico prof, Bob Anderson, had to work hard to find something bad to say about them.
Anderson, a member of Stop the War Machine, says that, well, um, no, he does not endorse the bumper sticker attacks. He says, however, anyone marked by sticker activists should “peel the bumper sticker off, but also think about the message.” We need to understand what activists are trying to convey, the UNM staffer cautions.
No I don’t, Professor Anderson. People who resort to this type of inexcusable behavior do not deserve to be taken seriously by me or anyone else.
Perhaps I am a bit touchy on this subject because I, too, was once a victim of a bumper sticker vandal, although the motivation was humor, not maliciousness.
Knowing my aversion to the National Rifle Association, this rotund, jovial fellow with a wacky funny bone snuck into the newspaper parking lot one day and made me a “Proud Member of the NRA.”
To the delight of many of the community who were well aware of my public stance on gun control, and to the thumbs-up approval of other drivers whose smiling acknowledgement I did not understand at the time, I was a “Proud Member of the NRA” for about three weeks before I caught on.
Now, wait a minute, NRA members. Before you load up your e-mail machines, I know. I know I can have your gun when I pry it from your cold, dead fingers. I know you hope to be there when hostile troops march up my street and find me unarmed. I can only hope they are Frenchmen who at worst will splatter my mailbox with cream puffs.
And I know the NRA is celebrating this year the enactment of a New Mexico law that allows our citizens to carry concealed weapons. That would seem to be a step back to frontier days rather than a step toward the future.
I have met just too many New Mexicans who shouldn’t be carrying guns, and I am not just talking about my fellow journalists who are, in general, mechanical idiots liable to shoot off their own feet — or other vital parts — before they get the bad guy.

Ned Cantwell of Ruidoso is a retired newspaper publisher and member of the New Mexico Press Association Hall of Fame.