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A billboard suggesting similarities between President Barack Obama and Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes has caused a stir in one Idaho town and beyond.
The billboard, located in Caldwell, features a picture of Holmes along with the text: “Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle, everyone freaks out.” Juxtaposed is a picture of Obama, with the text: “Kills thousands with foreign policy, wins Nobel Peace Prize.”
The billboard is funded by a group honoring the memory of the late Libertarian thinker Ralph Smeed, the Idaho Statesman reported. According to the group, the billboard is there to remind Americans of Obama’s promise to bring the troops home from Afghanistan — a promise the group says has been broken.
“We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan,” said Maurice Clements, a member of the group, which previously has paid to display other anti-Obama messages on the billboard.
Local residents have called the billboard “abhorrent,” but the message remains.
The sentiment expressed on the billboard is similar to a line from 2008’s The Dark Knight, in which Heath Ledger’s Joker observes that no one would panic if he announced a “truckload of soldiers will be blown up” tomorrow but people would lose their minds if he said a city mayor was going to die.
The billboard controversy comes amid the aftermath of the July 20 shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, which continues to shake the moviegoing world. Research ahead of the weekend found that 20 percent to 25 percent of moviegoers were hesitant to attend a movie this weekend because of the shooting.
The Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures film is expected to earn roughly $59 million at the box office this weekend, compared with $75 million for The Dark Knight’s second weekend. Box-office observers speculate that the shooting is responsible for some of the gap between the two films.
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