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Aug 24

Does “Gray Man” Apply To Your Vehicle?

All of this talk about blending in, being the gray man and maintaining an unassuming profile while out in public.  I wonder how many of these gray man proponents roll around with NRA stickers, Glock stickers, personalized military or police license plates and other vehicle swag.

Bumper-Sticker-Sandpoint-Idaho

Look I understand, someone is proud of their service / opinion and wants to share it with the world.  More power to that person, shout it loud and proud and keep doing what you are doing as it’s a free country.  However for those of us who want to maintain a lower profile, sometimes referred to as gray man status, is all of that really necessary?  Is ANY of it necessary?

I drive a plain 4 door sedan every day, no frills and one of hundreds like it in my general area.  No stickers, no specialized plates, no tint on the windows either.  Most who drive next to me or are behind me in traffic forget about ever seeing me shortly after we part ways, if they even noticed at all.  I suppose I prefer it that way but the again that’s just me.  It’s the same reason you won’t find an “about me” section on this blog which lists out personal information.  Sure it might hurt my credibility for those who desire that information but it’s a hit I’m willing to take.  Those who need to have access know my resume and beyond that I have no desire to share.  Besides it really is rather bland…

I guess the second component to this is the safety factor.  There are people within our borders (not democrats) who want to do Americans serious harm.  Their hate for us supersedes their will to live and that is a truly scary thing.  No doubt they continue to plot, maybe in groups or maybe in small cells near your or my home.  Why would I want to provide them with any reason to target me or my family specifically?  Sure I’ll fight for my family and those I love at the drop of a hat but I won’t go out of my way to give someone a reason to make that happen.  Nor will I spout off a bunch of bravado about not being scared of some cowards etc etc.  What if it isn’t me, what if they bide their time and decide to roll up one of my loved ones when I’m NOT there?  God forbid.

Again, it’s all about being completely forgettable and not attracting attention.  I have to believe if a car or pickup is all stickered out that isn’t truly in line with the whole gray man mantra.  Then again as previously mentioned, it’s a free country so it is what it is.

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  1. Echo5Charlie

    I used to work with a guy who’s back hatch was twice as stickered as the picture above. Me being me, couldn’t pass on the opportunity and stuck a rainbow sticker in the middle of that mess. He was the only Marine I saw with a guy pride sticker.

    Oh yeah, good article. Very true to not jeopardize your family. I personally have one usmc sticker on my work truck. It gets me business and discounts sometimes. My family never drives it. My other two are grey, but I guess someone could see that parked in front of the house and it could still bring my family trouble.

    1. Bob

      Your USMC sticker may also be spotted by someone bringing your family trouble and cause them to move on to the next easier victim. It’s a delicate balance. I think if the time came when such identification may lead to trouble, you could just remove the sticker.

      BTW, I also sticker my work truck to get business.

      1. PJ

        Bob

        Great points and thanks for taking the time to share, it is a delicate balance and I suppose there are no absolutes. I totally get stickering your work truck, I’m quick to support veteran owned businesses myself. I once stopped a kid with two carbon fiber legs and asked him where he worked at, gave him my card and told him to call me any time if he needed anything.

      2. Kelly

        I agree – sometimes these things can work to our benefit. I have a USMC magnet on my vehicle. I want the juvenile delinquents and meth dealers in my neighborhood to realize that my house is the last house on the block that they want to mess with. So far it has worked pretty well. I also appreciate being able to recognize other veterans in my community.

        1. PJ

          I had a perfectly good work truck with a few simple military related stickers on the back. Came out one morning to a puddle underneath it…all the brake fluid had “leaked” out. It was parked across the street from my house, not sure if some haters wanted to make a point.

  2. Echo5Charlie

    There can definitely be a difference between one sticker and placing every political idea you have on the back of your truck.

    People really do notice it when I’m bidding jobs and bring it up to me. I’ve never had a negative response from it. Usually they start telling me where they served or Marines they crossed paths with. Veterans definitely support veterans.

  3. Snake Plisken

    I drive two older trucks. My 1996 Ford F 150 has two very small USMC stickers and the 1995 Tahoe has none. Living in the rust belt they both have their fair share of rust and scale. Both are mechanically and electrically good and I’m willing to bet that they are quite forgettable to the average Joe so I’m pretty sure I blend in like the grey man.

    The ironic thing is this; I do earn a pretty damned good wage and could afford just about any high priced SUV or sportscar that I would have an interest in but hate the debt so I drive nondescript vehicles that I can repair myself.

    What amuses me is that when I see the ” COEXIST ” bumper sticker on a vehicle my thought is ” That will be the first person who will fall prey to a dedicated criminal”.

    I also have a theory about people who plaster bumper stickers all over their ride. Whenever i see lots of bumper stickers I automatically think that these poor deluded folks have a lot to say but nobody they know listens to them. Either that or they are too cheap to buy duct tape to hold their ride together!

    This might be a bit off topic, but, I live in a large mobile home in a huge park and am in a very quiet side street with little to no traffic. The outside of my home could use a coat of paint and new skirting but I’ve decided not to do any external upgrades at this time. If the SHTF I’m hoping to hide in plain sight. I’ll let the grass grow and the gardens to go to seed while I wait out the troubles in my home which has hardwood floors, the latest appliances, ammunition, food stores and water to last at least a year.

    We’ll see.

    BTW, whenever i see a person with a patch indicating they served in the military I go out of my way to thank them for their service. It makes their day and mine! 🙂

    1. PJ

      Snake

      Thanks for thanking others! 🙂

      Good plan about hiding in plain sight too.

  4. Karma

    Good information. I hadn’t thought about all of the implications of bumper stickers, but it makes sense. I actually have a COEXIST sticker on my truck, but the letters are all formed from the logos of gun manufacturers.

  5. Echo5Charlie

    Karma, I have to say that’s about the only coexist sign that has made sense to me.

  6. TPSnodgrass

    Absolutely, grey is THE way to go, all the time. keeps people guessing. gives US more time to react if we are off in our own little world, which does indeed happen sometimes.

    1. PJ

      I’m in my own little world more than I like to admit!

  7. SouthernAZ

    Plain vanilla is good. Our cars look like 10% of the rest of any grocery store lot. Gray is good for cars and houses, too. No polished suburban landscape –looking a bit unkempt helps. We do our own front yard, but rarely, to keep it looking like there’s no reason to stop here. No HOA to please.

    1. PJ

      HOA. Whoever came up with that idea did the world a disservice.

  8. Jamie

    I hate the look of bumper stickers on my car, well actually it’s a common as mud mini-van.

    If you decide to get rid of your stickers get some Skin-so-soft from your Avon lady and that sticker will peel right off and not leave any glue residue.

    1. PJ

      Good technique, I’ve always gone the razor blade and hair dryer route to remove stickers

  9. Tacmedic991

    I used to have Molon Labe decals on both sides of my truck, with a 3%’er sticker and a Gadsden porcupine (free state project) on the back window. . . I removed the Molon Labe’s when I moved to NY, and am contemplating removing the 3%er. . . That free state Gadsden porcupine is staying for now though

    1. PJ

      I’m guessing you had to move to NY for work? (maybe got stationed there). Too bad the rest of the state is overshadowed by NYC.

  10. Illini Warrior

    Anyone who travels and does the hotel overnite regularly …. learns quikly about driving a Plain Jane …. a company vehicle ID or an expensive model is like sweets for a fly …. and usually dependable is valued over gltiz to the smart traveler ….

    1. PJ

      Totally agree about being low key when traveling. Great point.

  11. Albie

    I have a very plain vehicle- one that resembles a few dozen others in the area. Unfortunately, it was getting fairly common to walk to the wrong vehicle in parking lots, so I placed a few little stickers on it just so I could identify it easier. Nothing political, religious or that can give clues to family members.
    I also drive conservatively so as not to call attention to myself or my vehicle. I mean, *I* notice the rig of the jerk who cut me off in traffic and the faces of those who feel it necessary to blare their music or squeal their tires for attention.
    I won’t be one of those people…

  12. Snake Plisken

    Oh for Pete’s sake Albie. There’s nothing more fun than power braking your V8 and lighting up the tires in a blue/white bunch of burnt rubber. Let your inner redneck go man! 🙂

    OK, OK you’re right. Sometimes I go off the hook. Not often though.

    Best,

    Snake Plisken

  13. padre

    I have to drive a plain car for work but I used to keep a second pleasure car, which of course I couldn’t help putting an NRA sticker on. One day I drove it to work and a coworker through a liberal hissy fit at me (this was around the Newtown massacre). Granted the guy was way out of line but it demonstrated two things to me, that little sticker blew my opsec communicating that I likely had guns, and it targeted me for (verbal) retaliation. Its luck for my friend that gun owners aren’t in fact as evil as he suggests, nor guns as dangerous, but realizing that next time the violence could become physical I got rid of that truck and bought a new “clean” one.

    1. PJ

      So Padre, my response to liberal co-worker might have been. “I understand your position, and I guess you could actually DO something about it…or maybe not?”

      Hilarious.

  14. Echo5Charlie

    Your liberal coworker might have a point. I sold all my guns after Sandy hook… It’s the right thing to do. 😉

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