Did one man go too far by hanging dead bodies from a tree for Halloween? Some residents in Guthrie, Oklahoma, think so.
They said they were shocked to find what appeared to be bloody, dead bodies, wrapped in plastic, hanging upside down from trees outside Tyler Everest’s home. Some people even thought they were real.
Concerned neighbors contacted law enforcement to see if Everest was breaking any laws, but the decorations are completely protected by free speech.
“It would have to be something way more graphic, something with profanity. If they had a name or something written on them, something like that would be against the law,” Sgt. Jeremy Thorne with the Guthrie Police Department said.
Still, the bodies do cause discomfort. Everest, though, has defended his Halloween decorations as his passion. He said he always goes all out for Halloween.
“I don’t ever mean anything to be mean, rude, or anything like that,” Everest said. “People are just jumping to conclusions.”
It is easy to jump to conclusions. The bodies themselves are reminiscent of lynching, and in this racially-charged climate where violence by white supremacists has taken the lives of more than one, it is easy to make those assumptions.
Perhaps it’s OK for people to be a little more sensitive to these images than usual; after all, there are neo-Nazi’s marching in the street under the watchful eye of a president who thinks these racists are some “very fine people.”
Then again, maybe we should let Halloween enthusiasts like Everest have his fun. He hopes those who have negative views of his yard will have patience.
“If you wait, you get more of the ‘oh, it’s not just dead bodies in a tree, it’s a cemetery.’” Everest said.
That doesn't quite make it seem like these dead bodies aren't reminiscent of lynchings though, and its this lack of cultural sensitivity that can prove most harmful.
As the Halloween season continues, hopefully people will be mindful of their displays and remember that what one may view as a harmless joke can be a symbol of hate for another.
BANNER/THUMBNAIL CREDIT: Flickr/Paulius Malinovskis