As an advocate for conservative family values, Rick Perry is hardly a trailblazer. He follows in the footsteps of pioneers such as Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, Fred Phelps, Tom Tancredo, Anita Bryant, LDS President Thomas S. Monson, and David Duke. But what Perry lacks in originality, he makes up for in spirit.
Consider Perry's recent anti-gay campaign ad, where he appears dressed in the same coat Heath Ledger wore in "Brokeback Mountain" while warning Americans about the homosexual threat to national security. He flippantly mispronounced Justice Sonia Sotomayor's name to illustrate the disgust a real patriot feels for activist judges and the country's flawed immigration policies. And when questioned about racist attitudes, Perry stood by the gated entrance to his family's hunting camp, Niggerhead, and drawled: "Some of my best political appointments have been black."
Through it all, the struggling candidate has remained unapologetic, safe in the godliness of his convictions. But Friday evening, scandal rocked Perry's future political prospects when his unknown and underaged traveling companion was shot dead in a Georgia convenience store.
According to the available information, Perry was touring the southern states with a 17-year-old aide who was in the country as part of a program to educate teenage Brazilian males on conservative values in the American political system. The shooting occurred after Perry ducked into the mini-mart to buy some Tums. Investigators said they also found four packs of condoms, a jar of mayonnaise and two tubs of Vaseline on the counter, but Perry denied knowledge of how those items ended up there.
Eyewitnesses outside the convenience store said that prior to the incident they saw the boy fiddling around with the glove box. One witness told police: "He turned the latch, and a large white bed sheet with two eye holes and a hood popped out. Then the kid jumped from the car, put the thing over his body and ran into the market singing what sounded like the theme to 'Casper the Friendly Ghost' in Portuguese."
When the teen bounded into the store, a horrified and panic-stricken clerk produced a revolver and fired three times into the boy's covered face. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
A quivering Perry told authorities he had no idea where the boy had gotten the outfit: "It was a rental car. Could've been anybody's. I can't believe what happened. I know he enjoyed playing 'dress up,' but...this is just such a tragedy."
Perry is being held for further questioning by local police.
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