In a stunning display of poor taste, an electronic billboard sponsored by The Ralph Smeed Foundation in Caldwell, Idaho compares President Obama with alleged Aurora, CO shooter James Holmes. Huffpost today picked up the story reported in the Idaho Statesman. The billboard features side-by-side pictures of Holmes and Obama with the respective captions: “Kills 12 in a movie theater with an assault rifle. Everyone freaks out.” and “Kills thousands with foreign policy. Wins Nobel Peace Prize.”
According to former state lawmaker Maurice Clements, who is continuing the libertarian stance of the late Ralph Smeed, “We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, CO, but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan.” Clements states, “We’re not saying Obama is a lunatic.” And goes on to say that he’s merely making a statement about the reaction of society.
Public reaction, however, has been negative. NBC News has reported that local residents are outraged and have called the message offensive, abhorrent and pathetic.
“It’s way over the line and I am not an Obama supporter,” wrote Lynn Davis Halsey on the KBOI2 News Facebook page, the station that broke the story.
“This billboard is offensive to all those lives lost and affected by the shooting,” said Fabiola G. Monrroy on the same Facebook page.
In a statement to the Idaho Press-Tribune, Judy Ferro, Canyon County Democratic Party communications director, said, “I think even Ralph Smeed would object to it. There’s no factual basis to it at all…it’s just offensive.”
Most but not all of the posts on the page reflect disgust with the message.
Clements has invited public feedback: (208) 250-2193; http://smeedonstate-ism.com/
Ann Werner is a blogger and the author of two thrillers and two works of non-fiction. You can view her work at ARK Stories