Free-Range Kids

Police Warn Drivers About Nonexistent Danger of Personalized Bumper Stickers

Pitiful local news report

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Burglar
Dreamstime

Personalized bumper stickers: a cute way to outfit the exterior of your vehicle with a dash of individuality, or an invitation to every predator in a 10 mile radius that says, "please, hurt me and my children"?

It's certainly the former, admits this pitiful local news story that nevertheless humors the concerns of a paranoid woman and caution-crazy police sergeant. From clickondetroit.com:

Bumper stickers have become an open book about our lives, from how many children we have to where we go to school.

However, police say you might want to think twice about sharing that information.

We live in a time where people share just about anything, but Barb Rupas isn't one of them.

"First of all I like a pristine car, and second of all I don't need to let other people know what my views are or what I think about things," said Rupas. "People are crazy in this world." …

Although there have been no reported crimes in Troy connected to bumper stickers, Troy police Sgt. Meghan Lehman wants drivers to consider the dangers.

"They could just know a little more information about you than you may want them to know," said Lehman. "For instance if it's a single parent family, you only had the one parent figure. That could reveal more than you want someone to know."

There are indeed some crazy people out there, but the idea that one is lurking around every corner waiting for any excuse to pounce is pure fantasy. Indeed, as the authors of this story are forced to admit, bumper stickers have never been known to encourage criminal activity. Why, then, are we being asked to "consider the dangers"? There are no dangers!

Unfortunately, odd media reports exactly like this one seem to pop up from time to time. Reason's Lenore Skenazy tackled one last year:

Readers — Here's an alarming idea with no basis in fact, as far as I can fathom. The idea:

Have a picture of little Bobby in his football gear and a "My Son is an Honor Student at Kelley Middle School" bumper sticker?

Congratulations, you just told the world and anyone who may want to harm your child, where they can find him.

Because otherwise, no predator could ever find a school football player at…a school? Possibly playing football? …

"Congratulations" — author. You have just succumbed to Worst-First Thinking: Thinking up the very worst thing that could happen thanks to some dumb little stickers, and are now spreading this bizarre fear around. And what of all those predators who only pounce on honor students of the month?

Safety paranoia seems to bring out the worst in everyone: neighbors, cops, and especially local reporters.

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  1. My stick figure family has me holding a rifle… so I’m not too worried.

    1. This makes me smile!

    2. ohhh, so there’s a single-parent version of that one? otherwise the Sgt’s ramblings about single parents leaves me confused.

      1. Yes, it’s a single mom holding a rifle. I don’t even get parking tickets anymore…

        1. That’s HAWT!

        2. You rock!

  2. “It’s certainly the former, admits this pitiful local news story that nevertheless humors the concerns of a paranoid woman and caution-crazy police sergeant. From clickondetroit.com:”

    The pitfalls of the “objective journalism” idea that there’s ALWAYS at least two sides to a story.

  3. I like the zombie ones. Those are funny.

  4. We’ll, one could always pair the “My Son is an Honor Student at Kelley Middle School” sticker with a “My Son shot a perfect score at the Redneck Pistol Range” sticker. That ought to give predators pause?…

  5. Congratulations, you just told the world and anyone who may want to harm your child, where they can find him.

    Require all car windows to be tinted — for the children!

    1. Require all car windows to be tinted — for the children!

      And then cops will have to assume that anyone they pull over is a dangerous armed criminal and summarily execute anyone they pull over, because OFFICER SAFETY.

      Eventually this will leave every child without parents to be raised by the state. It’s a win-win.

  6. I sear to God I have had a running joke for about three years now about telling soccer moms with those stickers “you know you are just letting pedophiles know you have children”. And now a cop is making that claim seriously. We truly live in a post satirical age.

  7. The best one I saw was on campus. A dowdy woman, a wine bottle and six cat stickers. Might as well be honest.

    1. Everyone has to be something. You can do worse than be a cat lady.

      1. A cat lady who has a sense of humor about it is okay by me.

  8. I have “myself” in a recliner, pointing a remote control (or is it a gun???) while wearing a Viking helmet, with my pug and my late kitty kat (RIP) at my feet.

    1. Sorry about your kitty. Good to hear the sport model pug is still going strong. Those little bastards seem to live forever.

    2. Don’t visit Wisconsin. You’ll get a ticket because of that Viking helmet.

      1. Fuck the Packers. And not in a nice, pleasurable way. More like a prison rapey kind of way.

  9. It’s glad to see that cops are vigilant about protecting your privacy.

  10. I wonder if they make any of those family stickers with a bunch of peeing Calvins?

    1. You could put this on you car.

      http://www.amazon.com/Fighter-…..B008861Y8K

  11. There are indeed some crazy people out there, but the idea that one is lurking around every corner waiting for any excuse to pounce is pure fantasy.

    This officer is clearly suffering from paranoid delusions and, therefore, qualifies as a crazy person.

  12. “First of all I like a pristine car, and second of all I don’t need to let other people know what my views are or what I think about things,” said Rupas. “People are crazy in this world.”

    But now we know Barb Rupas from Detroit’s views and what she thinks (feels)!

  13. Officer Rupas deserves a Drunk Uncle appearance on SNL.

  14. This is particularly silly since kids are much, much more likely to be hurt/abducted by people they already know. It’s just more “stranger danger” garbage.

  15. I think I’m beginning to sense a trend, here. It never used to be that parents thought sickos were lurking around every corner, but now we look for any excuse to accuse our neighbors of being predators. Certainly shock media is a driving factor, but I don’t think that’s the whole story.

    This trend would have to be in response to another trend.

    1. It’s the fetishization of parenting. Special snowflake syndrome. Helicopter parenting. A thousand other names for emotionally crippled people who can’t bear the though of little Johnny being exposed to the real world.

      1. It’s so ridiculous. They have this notion that they don’t want their kids to go through the same things they went through, but they need to have faith in them. Sure, they’ll get lost, they’ll stumble, slip, trip, and fall. They’ll get their hearts broken, they’ll get dirty, they’ll get sick, and they aren’t going to go through anything you didn’t go through yourself. The more you try to shut out reality, the harder it bangs at the wall.

  16. Pitiful local news report

    Is there any other kind?

  17. Stop giving the wife-unit ideas.

  18. How do you suppose my No Fat Chicks bumper sticker is going to be exploited by criminals?

    1. Well, if they’re planning to distract you with a chick while they boost your ride they’ll know to not use a fat one.

    2. Threaten to post it on Feministag along with your name and address.

  19. Well, I do think a “Warren 2016” bumper sticker would advertise that you are an upper middle class twit who won’t defend hirself*

    *Is that the politically correct self-referential gender neutral pronoun?

  20. Just for the record: Is that guy photo with the balaclava, the crowbar and the flashlight a burglar or a cop?

  21. There are indeed some crazy people out there, but the idea that one is lurking around every corner waiting for any excuse to pounce is pure fantasy.

    Haven’t you ever heard of the police?

    1. Are you sending me a message in a bottle?

  22. She is not a moderate. She is an amoral crap weasel that will say and do anything to continue to suckle on the body public. then check all report news this way…. http://moourl.com/gjftp

  23. It’s the fear that there’s a character out there like the one in The Jerk who is just looking for someone, anyone, to target, and that by identifying yourself or your loved ones (in that case by appearing in the phone book), you’ve done the selection for hir. See, the attacker could’ve targeted any student at the school, or at any school, but now by stating something about that student, you’ve given the nut a reason to pick that one out, because now that student is special. The Jerk, or “The Importance of Not Being Seen” on Monty Python, is the only explanation for such practices as blurring faces of children in photos.

    1. It’s really the same form of superstitious, magical thinking that claims that knowing someone’s name gives you power over them.

      One possible legit reason for blurring children’s faces in some contexts: one kid in the group might have a family who’s hiding from an abusive ex or other relative who doesn’t currently know their whereabouts, and the family wants to keep it that way. Similar with kids in foster care who were removed from abusive homes. But those are special cases and should be treated as the exception, not the norm.

  24. I agree, they are not lurking around every corner. But they are lurking around some corners and the basic premise holds. Not everyone, in fact, virtually no one needs to know anything about you. As Gracie Allen said, “A chicken in every pot sounds like a wonderful idea, unless you happen to be a chicken.”

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