Skip to comments.Plate number spurs state to cut out HA8
Posted on 11/30/2007 12:48:14 PM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
It was an odd question to hear from a mechanic.
"You're a Jew hater?"
Uh, no, Frank Gumina replied. So the mechanic called Gumina around to the back of his car, a 1974 Volkswagen Thing.
The license plate read: HA8 JWZ.
"And I still stared at it," Gumina said. "I guess I don't pay attention to the letters and stuff."
Others sure did. And they read it: "Hate Jews."
Gumina, who lives on Lake Wildwood, said he'd gotten a few odd looks before the mechanic sounded things out for him. He'd even had a stranger or two at the grocery store ask him, "You're a Jew hater?"
"People say weird things," Gumina said. "So I didn't really know what they were saying."
But when he figured it out, Gumina did what any good Protestant would. He called the Bibb County tag office, and he called his preacher. His preacher called Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, the rabbi at Temple Beth Israel and a Macon city councilman-elect.
"Tell you the truth, I didn't know what to think," Schlesinger said.
So he called the Anti-Defamation League in Atlanta, a group that works against anti-Semitism and bigotry. A league spokesman called the Georgia Department of Revenue, which handles license plates. Long story short, according to the department: It was all just a coincidence. Gumina's getting a new plate, and the one he has will be taken out of circulation.
What's more, the state will stop issuing prestige plates - also called vanity or personalized plates - that start with HA8 or H8, revenue department spokesman Charles Willey said.
"Hate has become a very popular prefix to a vanity plate," ADL spokesman Bill Nigut said. "I just don't think there's room for that in our civil discourse."
Just to be clear, though: Gumina did not request his HA8 plate. Everyone agrees on that. He simply asked for an antique - or Hobby Automobile - plate, which is different from a vanity plate.
The Hobby Automobile plates all start with HA, and the rest was just a series of numbers and letters that spelled out something unintended, Willey said.
"I think it'd be far-fetched" to think someone did it on purpose," Willey said. "They make so many at a time."
About 1.2 million a year, according to the state Department of Corrections. License plates are made by prisoners at the state facility in Telfair County, department spokesman Paul Czachowski said. Prisoners are given a list of number and letter sequences from the Department of Revenue. They arrange number and letter molds in the right order and press the plate.
It's similar to old-time movable-type printing presses, he said.
Said Schlesinger, "Let's give them the benefit of the doubt."
Gumina said it doesn't really bother him that he was driving around with the plate, though the irony that it was on a Volkswagen Thing - basically an old German Jeep - isn't lost on him. Now he drives the vehicle a lot less, pretty much just at night and near home.
"I don't hate Jews," Gumina said. "I don't want anybody else to have (the plate), but to me, it's just a bunch of letters."
"Hate's a terrible word," he said. "That's right up there with can't."
To contact writer Travis Fain, call 744-4213.
LOL. Eric Cartman’s car, I suppose.
Hey - isn’t that the (ugly) one designed to look like those old Nazi command vehicles? Coincidence - - - - or not??.
There’s an easy solution. Just swap the Georgia plates with Cynthia McKinney.
Amazing. Fact is stranger than fiction.
It's also offensive to former Eagles quarterbacks.
Maybe he can sell it to a Ron Paul supporter?
Oh for Pete’s sake.
What if you wanted H8MNDYS or H8 BRCCLI?
These people have way too much time on their hands.
Since the first two letters aren’t random there are 6 characters. Pulling this combination out of a pool of 36 characters is 1,679,616 to 1. Don’t know the numbers of german vehicles there but I can imagine the odds stay within the reasonable range. Much better than winning the lottery.
Well, we sure wouldn’t want to offend broccoli farmers.
“Theres an easy solution. Just swap the Georgia plates with Cynthia McKinney.”
HA8 EV1 works for the cop-slapper too.
Oh? Another word has become uncivil? One just can't HA8 cats, dogs, libs, commies, discrimination, bigotry, etc. That would be so HA8ful. Why, in polite society, you can't go around HA8ing poverty, taxes, or tyranny. There is just no room for discourse on the vile concept of HA8.
Come on, chrisser, let’s hold hands and sing, LOL. How about a hug?
Sorry Mr. Nigut, there is no mention in the Constitution of 'civil discourse' and no limitation to such in the 1st amendment. That's a moral term, and I'm afraid a violation of separation of church and state.
I’ll bet it would be OK if it said H8 BUSH or H8 GOP.
Can I get a plate that starts with IH8? Or from this day forward are the letters H and 8 never allowed to stand in the same zip code?
Thank God the thought police will save us from ourselves.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.