Mixed Signals: Target Shooting for Non-Violent Types

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.

Let’s say you had a political disagreement with someone — maybe your spouse or your kid. Let’s say your brother. The discussion got heated over an important topic that would direct the course of your lives and those around you.

When neither of you would back down from firmly held stances, you both decided to end the discussion and part ways. Later, you stop to see your brother, just to make sure everything is OK. You see him in the yard, shooting clay pigeons. As you approach, you see these aren’t plain clay pigeons. These are customized. With your picture on them.

A little unsettling, isn’t it?

But that’s the concept behind BastardBlasters, clay pigeon targets customized with caricatures of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Sarah Palin. A visit to the Web site provides this warning:

BastardBlasters™ are all about having a little FUN. We do not promote violence or hate toward politicians or anyone else!

Our novelty products, contests and website are intended for MENTALLY STABLE & RESPONSIBLE adults with COMMON SENSE & a SENSE OF HUMOR!

If you do not feel that this describes you or are EASILY OFFENDED, our site is probably not for you and we politely ask that you visit a different site.

If you DO fit the above criteria come on in and enjoy!

It’s true, when customized targets are of political celebrities, it is easy to depersonalize and rationalize the act. But the reality is political leaders are real people. And in light of last year’s shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the humor is lost.

At least the Web site disclaimer allows visitors to opt themselves out if they are mentally unstable, irresponsible, or easily offended.

I think another category should be added to that opt-out list: believers. God’s image is imprinted upon every human, even our political enemies. Shooting at their likenesses on targets is disrespectful of the glory that God has embedded upon humans made in His likeness.

Political discourse is often heated, pushing us to emotional responses and reactions over important matters and issues. Even so, something greater is at stake: God’s likeness. Let’s be sure we, as Christians, are not contributing to the advancement of negative messaging like this in the marketplace.

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  • I can’t see a reasonable training justification for these in particular, but in general, how far do you go with this line of thinking: “Shooting at their likenesses on targets is disrespectful of the glory that God has embedded upon humans made in His likeness.”?

    Paper zombie targets? (The training explanation is that it teaches you to shoot a human shape without actually having to shoot people pictures)

    The classic “Bad guy” paper targets of stereotypical bad guys with guns (same training justification as zombie targets, only with actual people pictures)

    The training human-shaped black silhouette?