Clearly, I have no sense of humor.
Last weekend the NRA held its annual convention in Houston, and because it’s the NRA there is never a shortage of gobsmacking outrage to be had. But one item in particular has caught my attention today: a company, vending at the event, that makes a life-size sexified female mannequin shooting target, cleverly called “The Ex.”
Zombie Industries produces a line of surprisingly complex targets, all zombie-themed. The ex-girlfriend target mentioned above is one of their “bleeding” targets, so named because they bleed when you shoot them (there is also a range of “mutilating” targets, which I was saddened to learn are not targets that mutilate people, but targets that are themselves “mutilated” when shot -- grammar is like, important sometimes).
Zombie Industries is way psyched by all the attention! And have responded to it by declaring their commitment to equality, sort of:
Zombie Industries realizes that the Zombie virus can affect any living creature regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnic background, or species. The Zombie virus does not discriminate and neither does Zombie Industries. We take preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse seriously, which is why we strive to have all groups of undead monsters represented in our product selection. In addition to the Ex Girlfriend Zombie, we currently sell 15 male zombies, 5 animal zombies & 2 aliens… to discriminate against Women by not having them represented in our product selection would be just plain sexist. All Zombie Industries’ products are fictitious characters... Zombie Industries is sorry if anyone takes offense to any of our products. But we also have a responsibility to our customers to provide the best possible products to help them prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse.
Sexy, right? Usually shooting your ex-girlfriend in plastic effigy would cost you $99.95. But apparently the company is so excited to have been featured on MSN that they’re offering a special 50%-off discount. “The Ex” is very positively reviewed as well, such as this gem, from the five-star-giving “Bryan”: “I love that this target looks like Britney Spears and it bleeds when I shot it.”
This same company made news EARLIER in the weekend for featuring a target that looked to some like a zombie version of the President; it was provocative enough that the NRA asked the company to remove it from their vendor booth at the convention. Because I guess even the NRA has its limits. You can still find the alleged Obama Zombie on the Zombie Industries website, though. (I’m not linking because seriously, you don’t want to see it. But if you do go look, don’t read the reviews. I read them by accident. Don’t be like me. You’ll sleep better at night.)
This company’s commitment to their zombie-defense story is impressive, and I’m not altogether certain they’re not engaging in some really deep satire -- the homepage even contains a dig at “the liberal media” -- but I suspect they are for real. And I’m having trouble finding it at all funny. Especially considering that women in the United States are eleven times more likely to be murdered by guns than women in other comparably high-income nations.
That not upsetting enough? According to the pro-gun-control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, it gets worse: in 2010, 54 percent of American women murdered with guns were killed by family members or intimate partners. And over the past 25 years, more domestic homicides were committed with guns than with all other weapons combined.
However, in states that require background checks on handgun sales -- the same background checks organizations like the NRA so vehemently oppose as contrary to freedom -- 38 percent fewer women were shot and killed by their intimate partners. But the NRA hates this idea, because the freedom to obtain guns with no obstacles at all is more important than the freedom of women not to be killed by their partners.
Zombie Industries is firmly standing behind the idea that the “zombie” prefix makes what they’re doing acceptable -- zombies aren’t real, obviously, so this is all a funny silly joke. Never mind that in spite of their winking WE’RE JUST PREPARING YOU FOR THE UNDEAD APOCALYPSE!!! protestations, shooting a stationary target is not particularly helpful preparation for an actual zombie uprising, as zombies -- even old-fashioned shambling Romero zombies -- tend to move, driven onward by their inexorable hunger for human flesh, or more specifically human BRAINS, depending on the type of zombie.
In the latter case, at least, the Zombie Industries folks would not have much to worry about with regard to their own safety. A shame the rest of us aren’t so lucky.