As if there hasn’t already been enough tragedy and controversy surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin…
Here’s another log for the fire.
According to WKMG, an Orlando-based news station, an anonymous individual recently posted an online ad for shooting range targets made in Trayvon Martin’s likeness. Martin’s face doesn’t actually appear on the target, but the outlines of a hoodie, iced tea can, and Skittles bear more than a strong resemblance to what he was wearing and carrying the night of his death on February 26, 2012 (none of which adds up to a firearm, by the way).
The target’s creator claims money was his primary motivation (what is the world coming to?!), but the wording of the actual advertisement has very clear racial overtones. Time Magazine’s newsfeed quotes the ad as follows:
Everyone knows the story of Zimmerman and Martin. Obviously we support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug. Each target is printed on thick, high quality poster paper with matte finish!
So not only can I help perpetuate the misguided belief that young African American males are rabble-rousing, hoodie-wearing thugs that deserve to be shot, but I can practice my shooting on a high-quality matte finish? With no glare? So I don’t miss?? Get your hate for $8 plus shipping, I guess.
Unfortunately, it gets worse.
The targets apparently sold out within two days of being advertised. Granted, it’s not known exactly how many were produced, and the product has since been removed from gunbroker.com. And to be fair, not all gun enthusiasts approve of the Trayvon Martin targets. WKMG reports:
Firearm owners are buzzing about the Trayvon Martin targets on several gun enthusiast websites. Very few have shown interest in purchasing the targets. Most have expressed disgust. “Even though I fully believe Zimmerman was justified in shooting, Trayvon was still a human being and does not deserve that kind of disrespect in death,” wrote one firearm owners association website member.
All the same, the realization that there could actually be a demand for something that so blatantly promotes inter-racial hate is chilling. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The popularity of these targets, along with reports of students at Cornell University taunting and throwing objects at African American students — apparently just for being black — doesn’t exactly help paint an optimistic picture of race relations in the U.S.
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Fayez Closed Account. via Flickr