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“I’ve gotten a lot of middle fingers. “The first one was from a North Olmsted police officer.”
Lakewood, Ohio resident Michael Pomerantz has gotten reactions from hugs to shouted obscenities, all because of the count of Americans dead in Iraq he keeps on the back of his van.
Everywhere he goes, whether the Cleveland Metroparks where he walks his dog in the morning, or traveling outside of Lakewood to the art fairs where he shows his paintings, the body count attracts attention. He has been interviewed by news outlets, hugged by little old ladies and bitterly confronted by complete strangers.
“As I was watching the numbers reach 500 then 700 and 800, I thought, that’s a lot of people,” he said. “We lost 1500 in the first Iraqi war and many people thought it would be the same amount. So I thought, what would be the best way to draw attention to that? Rather than an angry sign with a blatantly political message, I thought, let’s just put the number out there. When I first started displaying the sign people didn’t want to give me the thumbs up because it was like applauding the deaths,” he told me. “Now it’s clear I’m only pointing out one of the many facts indicating what a terrible mistake this war is. I might just as easily have put up the figure of $500 billion.”
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