The internets were abuzz last week when the photo on the left popped up. It was taken in Virginia (shocking), and features the Confederate Flag’s stars and bars and a huge mural of the attacks on the World Trade Center with the caption “everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11.” It’d be awesome enough if the story stopped there, but after some sleuthing, many people pointed out that the vanity license plate on the truck also contained coded Neo-Nazi and white supremacist messages.
A few hours later, the DMV agreed that the plate contains a coded message: The number 88 stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, doubled to signify “Heil Hitler,” said CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper. “CV” stands for “Confederate veteran” — the plate was a special model embossed with a Confederate flag, which Virginia makes available for a $10 fee to card-carrying members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. And 14 is code for imprisoned white supremacist David Lane’s 14-word motto: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
The Washington Post tracked down the truck’s owner today, though, and it turns out it was all just a huge misunderstanding. The driver, Douglas Story, doesn’t hate brown people at all! He just really loves NASCAR!
There is absolutely no way I’d have anything to do with Hitler or Nazis,” Story said Wednesday. He contacted The Washington Post after an article about his plate appeared last week; the state, citing privacy rules, had declined to release the identity of the plate’s owner. “My sister-in-law and my niece are Jewish. I went to my niece’s bat mitzvah when she turned 13 three years ago. Does that sound like something an anti-Semite would do?”
Story says the numbers 14 and 88 on his plate were not references to a white power slogan or “Heil Hitler,” as the Council on American-Islamic Relations theorized, but an homage to his favorite NASCAR drivers: Tony Stewart, who drives car No. 14, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drives No. 88.
Anyone with even a passing interest in NASCAR knows this is a lie. If you’ve been to a race, seen one on TV or ever met someone who’s passionate about the sport, you know that no one — no one at all, especially a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan — likes two drivers equally. Allegiances are to one driver and one driver only. In fact, there are people who won’t use DuPont products because they hate Jeff Gordon. NASCAR loyalties are passed down from father to son, and in the case of the Earnhardts went directly from father to son when Dale Earnhardt Sr. died.
Strange coincidence that those drivers Mr. Story likes so much just happen to have the same numbers as white supremacy codes. Remember, though, he has Jewish friends and went to a bat mitzvah three years ago! So don’t judge him based on association. If you’re gonna judge him, judge him based on the mural on his truck, and this statement:
He says he doesn’t know who took the photo of his truck, in a handicapped parking spot, that became a viral sensation on the Web. “Probably someone who obviously has a soft spot for Islam,” he said, pronouncing the word “I-slam,” “because if you pronounce it ‘Ih-slahm,’ it’s not disparaging enough.”