Billboard reflects definition of “Pure American”


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By Marta Malinowski
martamalinowski2.wordpress.com

Commuters driving down I-55 have found something that definitely grabs their attention. A billboard. It’s not a billboard showing a new menu item at McDonalds, nor is it advertising a new car being released this season. This billboard has caught the attention of many because of its promotion of a rifle company and its push for guns.

The billboard has a picture of a baseball glove, an apple pie, and an assault riffle with the title “Pure American.” So assault riffles are as American as the past-ime of baseball and as the dessert of pie? Are assault weapons what define our country?

This billboard, in the inbound lanes on I-55 between Cicero and Central has sparked a lot of controversy and talk about getting it taken down. Slide Fire, the Texas-based firearm parts manufacturer that purchased the ad, said they purposely chose President Barack Obama’s hometown because of the Chicago’s crime rate and restrictive gun laws. Their goal was to attract attention to the topic, and they succeeded with that, but one thing that we should realize is what message they want to send out. They want people to start talking and be convinced that this is, in fact, how our country should be. Some might say that it’s jusAt a billboard and there are many offensive or harsh messages out there. This is just one of many, but I beg to differ. This ad is defining our country as a place of violence, murder, and blood. Living in a city with high crime rates, I see that it definitely affects the way we live, but it is not what defines us.

Posting this in the president’s hometown was probably done to grab his attention as well and get him talking about the topic. It’s terrible to think that a large company would have to resort to this in order to advertise their products, especially guns. Children will see this ad and be exposed to such a horrible message. We can’t get the children of our country to think it’s okay to use weapons and violence. That is the exact opposite of what we need. We need the children in our city to understand how gun violence has truly been ruining Chicago and is definitely not an answer to anything. With this billboard, they will think an assault riffle is just like their favorite sport or dessert; that it’s all the same and equal.

The billboard also features the American flag, a Second Amendment symbol, the Statue of Liberty, and an ichthus — the fish commonly used to symbolize Christianity. This certainly sends the wrong message because that is not what the second amendment was meant for and should definitely not be associated with the American flag. Our country does not equal weapons. They belong on a battlefield and not in an average person’s hands on our streets.

The billboard company, Lamar Advertising, says the rifle company has a First Amendment right to advertise, but in this situation it is not about what you have a right to do or what you do not have a right to do. This is about doing the right thing, and sending this message that defines our country with weapons and violence is surely not right.

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