Let’s be very blunt. If over the next few years one of our politicians is gunned down then there will the usual hand wringing about violence and how we have to avoid anything that encourages nutjobs who can’t separate snark, polemics or sick ideas not meant to lead to murder. We already went through that in the United States when Gabby Giffords was gunned down.
And now here is another idea whose time should not have come. And, yes, I’m sure there are some who think it’s a terrific idea and more fun than a week on the beach.
A company has put President Barack Obama’s, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s, and former Vice President Sarah Palin’s faces on “Bastardblaster” shooting targets. One more sign of how hateful our politics has become — even if it’s viewed as just a “fun” game. Hey, have fun the next hour, pretend you’re shooting Obama, Pelosi, or Palin!
A Washington company is hoping to make money off of people’s frustrations with politics by selling “BastardBlaster” shooting targets, which feature the faces of President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
“BastardBlasters are a FUN, FAST and EFFECTIVE way to relieve extreme political frustration!” reads the company’s website, bastardblaster.com. “A BastardBlaster is a regulation clay target that’s only purpose is to be completely destroyed by your method of choice. Obama, Palin, Pelosi … they are all here & the list keeps growing. Find the one that works best for you. BastardBlasters look great on a desk or wall but even better in a THOUSAND PIECES!!!”
The site, which is run by Yipe Media Inc., features a video of a man with BastardBlaster clay targets attached to his jeans, one with Obama’s face on it and another with Pelosi’s face. A wooden paddle with the words “FLASH IT, BASH IT” appears and then smacks the man in the butt, smashing both of the targets into pieces. The paddle then shows the words, “HOPE & CHANGE, MY ASS!”
That video is one of a handful submitted to the website by people who have destroyed BastardBlasters in various ways. One video shows a man positioning an Obama target on the ground and then running over it with a Hummer. “That’s what I wanted,” the man says afterward. In another clip, some kind of explosive is shown wedged in between the Obama and Pelosi targets. It explodes, the targets shatter into pieces and a wooden sign drops down that says, “I Hate Those Bastards.” In yet another video, a man is shown wearing a motorcycle helmet with a Pelosi target on it, with a sign above it that reads, “Pelosi Sucks.” A wooden plank appears out of nowhere and whacks him in the head, smashing the Pelosi target.
So now we have the answer how long the new era that we were supposed to be in when Giffords was shot lasted. You know, this was the era when Americans would try to downplay anything that could lead to violence against political figures. And, at the beginning of that new era with all the flowery speeches, news stories, and blog posts, the assumption was it didn’t matter if this was a political figure of the right, left, center, a Democrat, Republican an independent, the minimum civility society would observe would be not to do or say things that encourages people with loose screws in their heads to try and murder them.
So how long did that era last?
But you can count on this: sooner or later there something will happen and then we’ll be in another of those new eras
I wonder how big the political figure body count will have to be before one of these new eras lasts more than a year or two?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.