New Florida Billboards Show Kids in Bulletproof Vests

Despite the moral swing-and-miss on meaningful gun control that followed the Sandy Hook school shooting, there still is some effort to get momentum going on reforms that would end the open season on young people in this country. One Florida group -- the Dream Defenders -- is going with a novel approach to shocking some sense into people before the election.

The activist group is launching a billboard campaign featuring satirical advertisements for children's bulletproof vests. The spots show a beaming, beautiful little kid wrapped up in menacing-looking Kevlar; the text says the vests are "on sale now" for $149.99.

It's... well, it's eye-catching... and pretty disturbing once you start marinating on it... which is exactly the point.

The billboards -- the first of which went up in Tallahassee -- are part of the group's "Vote or Vest" campaign.

The Dream Defenders aren't pushing specific legislation but instead seem to be encouraging voters to keep the Gunshine State's slide into Wild West gunplay and racial injustice in mind when they hit the polls next week. Reportedly, the billboards are coming to Broward as well.

A video on the group's website shows a African-American mother urging her son to strap on a vest. "Every 28 hours an African-American is killed by a police officer, security guard or vigilante. No parent in America should have to put their child in a bulletproof vest. On Nov. 4, you have a choice: Vest or Vote," the video concludes.

The Dream Defenders grew out of the frustrated response to the Trayvon Martin killing (group leaders didn't respond to an New Times email for comment). They've been ubiquitous around the state ever since when issues of police violence have sprung up. Just yesterday the group protested outside of the Chiefs of Police convention in Orlando.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson