Centralia Business Capitalizes on Political Frustrations
Mar 08, 2012 (The Chronicle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A Centralia-based business is working to help customers relieve political frustration as the election season heats up.
Yipe Media Inc. sells regulation clay shooting targets plastered with the faces of prominent political figures for customers to demolish.
Dubbed as "Bastard Blasters," the targets are available for sale on the company's website.
The clay targets feature stickers of President Barack Obama, House Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi and former governor of Alaska and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
The company, founded in August 2010, plans to expand the list as interest grows.
The only purpose of their product is to be completely destroyed, according to the website.
"We think it's damn funny," said co-owner Dan Rich, of Rochester.
Rich told The Chronicle that his company does not promote shooting at the regulation clay targets, but he admits there aren't many other uses for such items.
The website includes a disclaimer.
"Bastard Blasters are a novelty item and do not reflect the political views of Yipe Media, Inc. or its business associates," the disclaimer reads. "They are intended to be a fun and creative way to express your views or frustrations with political officials.
"Yipe Media, Inc. does not condone violence in any form and any personal threats will be given to the proper authorities."
The website, however, does feature videos of Bastard Blasters being blown up, smashed in various ways, and driven over by a Hummer.
After initially speaking with The Chronicle, Rich declined to further comment on the product.
John Strait, an associate professor of law at Seattle University, said there is not a law that restricts the product.
"It may be in poor taste," he said. "But I don't think there's going to be anything illegal about it. It would have substantial First Amendment issues if it did."
However, he said, there have been efforts to make some kinds of threats against the president personally criminal.
"But I doubt that simply producing a clay target with a picture of the president on it would fall in that statute," Strait said. "And you'd be hard pressed to draft a statute that would reach it without violating First Amendment rights."
Kathy McGinnis, a law professor at the University of Washington, said shooting at the targets would also fall under a protected type of political speech as long as there is no intent to act.
"It's all really offensive. And it sounds really bad, but as long as there's not an actual, credible threat against a person's life, it can't be criminalized."
The Bastard Blasters sell for $2.99 each. The website also offers other novelty items including t-shirts for and mugs.
The company encourages customers to post video of themselves destroying their Bastard Blasters on the website.
Videos and more information can be found at www.bastardblaster.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Nile: (360) 807-8235
Ready, Aim, Fire: 'Bastard Blasters' Are Clay Shooting Targets that Feature Prominent Politicians
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