The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Highway billboard creates stir

 

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CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocoks An Odessa, Texas, man said he is running this advertisement on a billboard on South Prince Street to shine light on the Fast and Furius gun fisaco.

A billboard on Clovis' South Prince Street is turning heads, to the point of raising concerns about its possibly insensitive racial wording.

The message advertises the website http://www.murderedmexicans.org, but says little else. Its message is vague, but is grabbing the attention of passersby, which is the point, according to the Odessa, Texas, man who paid for it.

Charles Abernathy, 47, said the website is a grassroots effort to hold those responsible for the Fast and Furious fiasco, in which a border patrol official was killed.

He said the "murdered Mexicans" refers to the hundreds who were killed by weapons supplied to Mexican Drug Cartel leaders through a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sting.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocoks

An Odessa, Texas, man said he is running this advertisement on a billboard on South Prince Street to shine light on the Fast and Furius gun fisaco.

Abernathy said he chose the words for their shock value.

"I'm sure some people are offended," said Abernathy, an oil field truck driver from Houston. "I think if they use that and end up doing research over the issues. .... This is what I'm trying to accomplish; people don't know about this and now they do."

Andrea Armendariz of Clovis was offended at first when she saw the sign Monday.

"I found it very offensive the way it was worded," Armendariz said. "I got a hold of Abernathy and he wanted to work with us to do another billboard with different wording."

Norma Ortiz of Clovis was also offended at first until she researched the website.

"If it were reworded differently, I might not have been offended," she said.

Bobby Sandoval, a city and county commissioner, said he wishes that it were worded different, but he considers it a First Amendment issue.

"After seeing the website, you can see that it's a political issue and that is something we can't do anything about when it comes to the wording," Sandoval said.

Abernathy said he paid about $1,000 a month in Clovis for a traditional billboard and paid $260 weekly fees for digital billboards in Odessa and Lubbock.

Abernathy said he chose Clovis to advertise because he wants people to be aware of this operation and inspire them to contact government officials to speak out against it outside of Texas, even though he might offend some people along the way.

Abernathy said he is acting on his own as a concerned citizen.

 
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