Robins AFB ‘Fun Shoot’ For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2016 Evokes MLK Assassination History?

A U.S. Air Force Base is apologizing for a Robins “Fun Shoot” advertised in advance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2016. Some felt the shooting event, and the way it was advertised as “Martin Luther King Jr. Fun Shoot,” was insensitive to the death and history of the slain black civil rights leader, who was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. Air Force officials have apologized for Robins “Fun Shoot,” saying it did not intend to make light of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s history.

Robins Air Force Base spokesman Roland Leach told the Air Force Times they only realized how insensitive the MLK “Fun Shoot” ad was “several days ago,” but they immediately started taking down flyers and advertisements.

“There was no malice of forethought in the flyer’s creation and it was never the base’s intention to portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a negative light,” Leach said. “It was an honest mistake, to which we’ve personally counseled the parties involved and will provide them with remedial training and appropriate oversight to prevent this sort of inattention from occurring in the future.”


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The Robins’ “Fun Shoot” was scheduled by the 78th Force Support Squadron. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2016 event will feature trap, skeet, and sporting clay shooting at the Robins AFB’s skeet range. The event was originally advertised as “Martin Luther King Jr. Fun Shoot” on the squadron’s website on December 28, 2015. The squadron has since updated their website to change the wording as of Thursday of this week.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Lyndon Baines Johnson, White House, Washington DC, January 1, 1965. [Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty]

Unfortunately for Robins AFB, many people started noticing the original wording, with some claiming it was done on purpose.

Others turned the whole incident into a joke at the Air Force’s expense.

The Air Force representatives say it was simply a mistake with the marketing department.

“We’re deeply sorry for any offense or harm caused by our insensitivity and failure to provide appropriate oversight of our marketing process,” Leach said on Thursday. “The flyer does not represent the values, opinions or views of the Department of Defense, the Air Force or Robins Air Force Base leadership and its employees.”

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Leach says the military personnel at Robins Air Force Base “hold the legacy of Dr. King in the highest regard” and they offer a “heartfelt apology to those affected by our thoughtlessness.” In addition, Leroy Minus, an official at the military base’s Outdoor Recreation office, said the offending ad was created by a marketing team, not the U.S. Air Force directly.

“We didn’t make the flyer,” explained Minus, according to AJC.com. “We squared it away. We got rid of the picture.”

What do you think about Robins’ “Fun Shoot” flyer? Do you think it’s never wise to advertise a shooting event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or do you think people are too quick to take offense at a case of poor wording?

[Image via Greg Bluestein]