For gun-toting, Republican-supporting and President-hating Americans, a 3D shooting target that looks like an undead Barack Obama could be the perfect gift. The controversial targets have, however, now been removed from sale at the National Rifle Association convention in Texas, at the request of organisers.
“Someone from the NRA came by and asked us to remove it,” a worker from Zombie Industries, which makes the targets, told BuzzFeed.com. “They thought it looked too much like President Obama.”
The move is an unusual bit of good PR for the NRA. The group seems to recognise that at a time of heightened fears over gun massacres and terrorism, encouraging people to shoot at a likeness of Mr Obama would cause upset.
It also draws attention to a desire among gun-owners to shoot at things that are a bit easier to hit than live animals, but more tangible than a piece of paper. While gun makers like to insist that people are not inspired by what they see on screen, the choice of zombie imagery follows a fashion for the genre in films and video games, such as “The Walking Dead”.
Customers can choose from “bleeding zombies” that emit a bright colour when hit, as well as “mutilating zombies” that, according to the firm’s website, “physically show visible bodily devastation when shot. That’s right, the destruction is easy to see with every shot... Mutilation baby!”
The Obama-like torso called “Rocky” or “Bill” (in a different colour) is among dubious company: others in the range include a Nazi SS soldier, a “terrorist” doll that resembles Osama Bin Laden and one called “Bobo the clown”. Another is named, charmingly, “the ex”, which looks like a dark-haired woman, presumably sold to scorned gun-owners to release their frustration.
While the removal of the Obama doll might stop sales in the short-term, the publicity is likely to boost demand.