Somehow I can’t get too worked up about this

Obama target game: Free speech or violent?

Attraction challenging players to ‘shoot’ president’s likeness creates political divides.

The target shooting game that appeared at the recent Big Time fair in Roseto. The game depicts what appears to be President Barack Obama, sparking a complaint. (Contributed photo, TMC / August 3, 2010)

By Christopher Baxter of The Morning Call

The coast-to-coast dust-up over a local carnival game in which players shot darts at an image resembling President Barack Obama has fueled political divisions and left many people wondering: When does free speech become a threat to the nation’s leader?

Goodtime Amusements of Hellertown created the game, called “Alien Attack.” Players fired foam darts at a painting of a black man with antennae. He wears a suit, holds a scroll labeled “Health Bill” and sports a belt buckle fashioned after the presidential seal. Those who hit targets on his heart and forehead got a stuffed animal.

Company President Irvin Good Jr. said he meant no harm by the game. It was not supposed to show Obama, he said, and was canned after a complaint from a visitor to a Roseto fair in late July. But the game led to a visit by the Secret Service, national media attention and hundreds of online comments from across the political spectrum.

A lot more at the link.

This game, though pretty stupid, hardly meets the “clear and present danger” test. To constitute such a threat, it would have to be something which directly threatened the president; this is no more a threat than some of our friends on the left hanging President Bush in effigy. It did meet the attention-getting test, which ws probably the goal all along.

The Secret Service will probably take this seriously, because it’s their job to take these things seriously.


  1. Americans hanged King George in effigy in the 18th century. Throughout American history, there have been hangings-in-effigy and burnings-in-effigy and other such manner actions. Throwing foam darts at a cartoon picture of Obama? Not even close.

    It says a lot that the narcissist-in-chief and his minions consider a very weak step-child of 240 years of American history a personal threat. The threat level is more in line with the Soviet, Communist, Fascist, Mohamedan, Statist dictatorships the world round than with American independence.

  2. Not a big deal at all. Can we set up the next game with Boehner? With a big word balloon saying, “Hell, no!” It’s harmless, right?

    How about if it’s your daughter’s picture?

  3. Naggy, do you even know what political speech is? Sure, put a cartoon drawing of Boehner with your blurb beside a cartoon drawing of Obama with the ObamaCare bill in hand (all 2300 pages) and let everyone throw foam darts at them.

    But, naggy, do you know the difference between a political figure and a private individual? Do you know the higher standards of law regarding the difference between the two? Or are you just being your typical obtuse self?

  4. That doesn’t look a bit like Obama, but the negro face, and healthcare bill and belt buckle we can’t see would certainly identify him. The whole thing seems more stupid and shortsighted than malicious, more of an attempt to make a buck than to harm a president.

    Now, if they had a moving image of Hillary scurring around avoiding sniper fire, well that might be worth taking a few pot shots.

  5. That doesn’t look a bit like Obama, but the negro face, and healthcare bill and belt buckle we can’t see would certainly identify him

    “teh negro face”? And before you were talking about Michelle Obama’s “big ass”…

    Suuuuure you’re not racist. Who could ever suspect that, ropelight?

  6. John H.: “Or are you just being your typical obtuse self?”

    Just trying to push a button, for effect. I wouldn’t really propose such a midway attraction, not with anyone’s picture. But sometimes when people say, “what’s the big deal?” I have to wonder if they’ve seen the issue from the other side.

  7. Nangleator wrote:

    How about if it’s your daughter’s picture?

    Well, my daughter isn’t a public figure, so it’s pretty unlikely, but regardless of that, it’s difficult to construe this game as a clear and present danger — the standard set up by the Supreme Court in 1919 — and something illegal.

    The game might be stupid, but there’s a big difference between stupid and illegal, between stupid and a serious threat.

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