If you want to shoot a woman, you should really practice first.
Fortunately, a booth at the NRA convention displayed the perfect solution: a life-sized mannequin of a woman that bleeds when you shoot it. It is dressed in a tank top that is torn (by her batterer, most likely) to reveal a purple bra and ample breasts. The mannequin is a torso, no legs, but from what is visible it is naked below the waist.
It was first called The Ex, but manufacturer Zombie Industry’s website now lists its name as Alexa and gives that character a despicable biography — you know, so it’s okay to shoot her (or because company execs just think women are despicable):
She had a wicked mean streak in her and was known for her nasty disposition, especially if she had been drinking. She also happened to be in love with a young man, but there was a slight problem.. he was married to another women [sic]. When he told her that he loved his wife and could never be unfaithful to her, Alexa became enraged.
Alexa’s plot “to break up a loving a [sic] marriage” wound up with her turning zombie. Undead or not, the company transformed her from “the ex,” whom only a section of the country thinks is okay to shoot, into Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” whom just about every movie-going American would shoot if she hid in their shower.
Appalled opponents of The Ex, including anti-domestic violence activists, have already won one round: Amazon ditched the product and apparently all of Zombie’s other target mannequins too.
The Ex’s opponents aren’t done: their tweets are available under #NotBuyingIt. Some of the best are collected here. (Yes, I linked to Al Jazeera’s website. Really, I only read it for the articles.)
Zombie Industries offers another target, called Rocky, that looks like a Jim Crow era caricature of President Obama. The sample at the convention was the color of Kermit the Frog, but the company catalog includes a black version too. Officials at the NRA convention asked Zombie to remove Rocky from public view in its display, which it did.
This video clip talks about both The Ex and Rocky and is well worth a viewing:
Zombie Industries hides behind the conceit that the targets are all in good fun because they represent zombies, the walking undead, monsters that must be killed. The motto on the company’s website is “Destroy the Undead.”
Think Geek, a company that sells the targets, explains:
When the zombie apocalypse comes, and you know it’s coming, preparation can mean the difference between life, and unlife…
You have to prepare to survive. … You have to be a crack shot, and that means practicing with your gun. Sure, you can shoot at cans and paper targets all day long, but would that really prepare you for blowing the head off of a dripping shambler? Nope. If you make your target as realistic as possible, you won’t freeze up when faced with the real thing.
(The same website includes this as one of the targets’ features: “Biodegradable Zombie matter keeps tree huggers off your back.”)
Think Geek pretends that the targets are part of an imaginary future war on zombies with no relation to real life (at least I hope they understand that it is imaginary). But they give themselves away. If you have to be a crack shot to kill zombies, imagine how much more practice it takes to be ready to shoot living people, if not because of moral reservations than at least because they move a lot faster.
Zombie’s shooting targets have a theme: nearly universally reviled people whom it is socially acceptable to kill. They’ve got a couple of Nazis, and of course Osama bin Laden. It’s not much of a leap to suppose that company executives feel that it is acceptable to shoot women and the president too.
Scary shooting targets aren’t limited to women and politicians. How about one of a black youth who was shot to death in real life? Yes, there is a target showing a male in a hoodie, meant to evoke Trayvon Martin. The only redeeming thing to say about that is that the guy who was selling it felt the need to stay anonymous and soon took down all his websites and disappeared. He must have felt that there is some decency left around here.
The level of anger and contempt these targets reveal among shooting enthusiasts is frightening, especially because these people have guns.
Photo credit: Zombie Industries