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September 2, 2014

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Billboard with dummy on noose shocks Las Vegas drivers

Image

AP

This image shows a billboard with a mannequin dangling from a hangman’s noose near the Strip. Authorities said the sign is a publicity stunt done in bad taste.

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 | 3:58 p.m.

Even by Las Vegas standards, it was a shocking billboard: A mannequin dangling on a hangman's noose below a black sign with the ominous words "Dying for Work."

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremie Elliott says the 911 calls started coming in as the sun came up early Wednesday, with drivers worried the stiff, black-suited dummy swaying at the end of a rope along Interstate 15 near Bonanza Road was a real person.

"It's a publicity stunt, obviously done in bad taste," said Elliott, adding that officials were focused on getting it down quickly to avoid distracting drivers during the morning commute.

The graphic display along the interstate was one of at least two unauthorized signs spotted Wednesday morning in the Las Vegas area. Another found on Highland Avenue and Desert Inn Road was white with black lettering that read, "Hope You're Happy Wall St.," and a similar mannequin hanging off the edge.

A woman who answered the phone at Lamar Advertising Co., which owns one of the billboards, labeled the act vandalism and said the display was being removed. She did not provide her name.

Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns another sign that was affected, said they pulled the display immediately and plan to work with law enforcement to punish whoever is responsible.

"We condemn the destructive behavior against one of our billboards because it is illegal and punishes our advertisers," Clear Channel Outdoor spokesman Jim Cullinan said in a statement. "This is not an innocent protest, but it is illegal and dangerous behavior that Clear Channel Outdoor and the industry will not accept."

Although the billboard alarmed drivers, it's unclear whether regulations in the area ban roadside signs with graphic depictions of suicide. A spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation said there didn't appear to be state regulations on the matter, and a spokeswoman for Clark County was also not aware of rules against the subject matter.

While nobody has publicly claimed responsibility for the signs, the Occupy Las Vegas group, which is affiliated with the larger Occupy Wall Street movement, posted photos of the displays on its website. Its caption says the Nevada governor's budget has slashed social programs and aid to suicidal adults.

Sebring Frehner, an Occupy supporter who posted the photos, told The Associated Press he didn't know who put the hangmen up, but applauded the message behind it.

"People saying it's in bad taste are living sheltered lives and don't pay attention to what affects the working class," he said.

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  1. This is a wake up call to our people.
    The "publicity stunts done in bad taste" are all corporate sponsored and fill our TVs and airwaves.

    By the way, "done in bad taste" just means "I live a comfortable life devoid of being forced to see the reality my poor decisions force others to live in."

  2. @TomD1228...and then when they can't get a job with that felony record, maybe they can rob your house.

  3. The vandalism itself is deserving of appropriate prosecution, but the message and medium, whether you agree with it or not, is a great example of our First Amendment rights and protected speech.

    I would much rather see this kind of "poor taste" than almost any political campaign ad.

  4. With record high levels of unemployment afflicting many areas of the country, many families can't afford to keep up the payments on their homes or apartments. Some of these formerly middle-class families end up living on the streets. Psychologically, the financial providers of these families experience feelings of shame and humiliation at their inability to support their family. Left unabated, these feelings, can lead to clinical depression, which in turn triggers increased suicide rates. Last count of real bodies since the recession started 36,909 what's worse is that the trend of rising suicide rates hasn't stop after the recession reportedly ended. Last count of homeless children in America 273,000 - Strange how a couple of mannequins dangling will get so many panties in an uproar when reality is so much more gruesome.

  5. Wake-up call indeed! The only people 'offended' are the ones who make six figures a year and think they do not need to see the reality of this jacked-up economy; courtesy of Wall Street thugs.

    I hope we see more of this in the VERY near future; Americans need to wake up and see what is really happening in this country. People are killing themselves and their entire families these days, because of lost jobs, foreclosure, and the primary providers are so ashamed of failure they felt this need to terminate their own lives and those around them so they do not suffer. It's called mass suicide. Rest assured, we will see many more before voters boot the incompetent incumbents out of office, and this economy rights itself

  6. I may have very strong agreement with the culpability of our financial and political system in causing so much suffering to people, and want very much to see major reforms. However, I feel this was a totally inappropriate expression.

    One reason that it rises above vandalism, free speech, First Amendment and any other lame justification for such a display is...

    Endangering lives!!!

    All that was needed was for a vehicle accident to occur that took the lives of people, or disabled people, because it was very difficult not to look, or call 911 on a mobile phone, while diving. Fortunately, or as luck would have it, that didn't occur, this time.

    This was an act defective thinking and gross irresponsibility in my opinion. There is no defense for endangering lives.

    Years and years of my working in causes that dealt with injustice to people never once put anyone's life in danger. Quite the contrary, I worked to save lives and provide them safety.

    I don't adhere to "the end justifies the means". There is no moral high ground in that idea. It only leads to a deepening of the moral crisis, no matter what side is to blame.

    The issues are well known to the majority of people, most of whom who live the reality. Mature dialogue and efforts directed to helping people who are suffering from the effects of injustice are needed. Not endangering lives, vandalism and/or violence.

    Encouraging such actions shows a lack of responsibility or true caring about people's lives.

    There are many pitfalls to activism, one of which is losing track of the people who one purports to be trying to help. Another is getting too wrapped up in the ego gratification of thinking one is doing something, which is at best marginal.

    Empowerment is different from gaining and holding power.

    All people who have a cause think they are doing what is important for the good of a nation or a certain group of people. The difference is in the morality that defines them, as expressed by their actions and words.

    Endangering life doesn't meet the test in my book.