The one I've been staring at is bigger and clearer. It's a bright, color photograph of a half-naked, half-sexily-clad brunette, bullet-ridden and bleeding profusely from the mouth. It's actually just a dummy - a product sold by a company called Zombie Industries. They sell it for target practice - a high-end item for the avid sport-shooter. Zombie Industries offers a variety of human-looking targets, all of which have the special feature of actually bleeding when they are hit.
The photo I was staring at is a mannequin-like shooting target called "The Ex." The picture was published at Talking Points Memo on Monday. I want to state that it's a graphic picture first, then tell you it can be found here. I want people to see it, and I want people to share it. The only thing I can even think of to do right now is shine some light on it. The website for Zombie Industries, a whole world of horror for sale in the name of shooting enjoyment, can be found here.
When this company set up shop recently in the vendor hall at the NRA National Convention in Texas, they had a target dummy on display that looked like President Obama. You can see a picture of it on their website; TPM also produced a clear and up-close photo.
One presumes that because the target is named "Rocky", is called a zombie, (the website has a zombie motif) and is colored green, the company enjoys plausible deniability against accusations that they are selling shooting targets with features that make it look like the President. Or, maybe they don't need deniability. Maybe there isn't anything illegal about it, or of interest to the Secret Service. Maybe my readers can tell me.
The company sells another target called the "terrorist." Interestingly, the "terrorist" target dummy is simply a man with a long black beard, dressed in traditional Muslim clothing. His arms are down, and he has no weapon. For $89.95, you can purchase this guy and shoot him up until he is soaked in blood, riddled with bullet holes, and unrecognizable. You can do the same thing to not-Obama-"Rocky," also for $89.95.
To mimic murdering your ex-girlfriend, though, you have to shell out $99.95. The copy reads, "$99.95 – Bleeding Alexa Zombie Life-Sized Tactical Mannequin Target - “Bleeds” When Shot!!!" The ad also points out that the "Ex" is a good buy at that price, because it "can be shot more than 1000+ rounds of assorted calibers" and "reused to finish off another day." The company provides a paragraph-long back story for Alexa, sure to get you primed for target practice: "She had a wicked mean streak in her and was known for her nasty disposition, especially if she had been drinking."
Wayne LaPierre is on record criticizing the film and gaming industries for their life-like depictions of shooting violence. He has questioned whether shooting and killing while playing video games with realistic targets could make it more likely for someone to commit murder. He has not been clear about what type of intervention he is looking for - it's hard to imagine he wants more government regulation imposed on industries that allow one to pretend to murder, given his opposition to government regulation on the industry selling the equipment one needs to actually do it.
But aside from having Zombie Industries remove the Obama look-alike target two days into the conference, (which was surely just a delayed impulse to avoid liability, attention from authorities, or bad press), the NRA kept the welcome mat out for the rest of the company's shooting targets, like the terrorist, and the ex-girlfriend.
I see sickness when I look at the picture of the "The Ex". I see depravity in the Zombie Industries website. How do we address it? I have no idea. I don't want them shut down - there is no justification for that. I would love your opinions. And if you have the stomach for it, look at the website, examine their products, and read some of the ad copy. And if you're ready to really go into the heart of darkness, watch the video on "Alexa's" page. Watch the group of sportsmen standing in a row in the woods, all together peppering the mannequin's breasts and stomach, catching her back and shoulders when she twists and falls from the impact. Watch one of the men walk up to her, lying face down in the leaves, and empty his gun into the back of her head.
- Julie Boler