GAINESVILLE, TEXAS – A billboard that sparked a protest in Indiana because of its reference to the Navy Seals, and removing the President from office, has appeared along I-35 in North Texas.
The ad in Gainesville depicts two men in camouflage holding weapons. The text next to the picture, in a military style font, says “The Seals removed one threat to America,” a reference to the killing of Osama bin Laden. It continues, “Remove the other in November.”
The bottom of the sign says it’s a political ad, paid for by TJ Schad, and has a Gainesville address.
At his home Monday, Tom Schad said he’s not acting for any political party, committee or candidate. He simply saw a similar picture in an email, with an accompanying note that said it should be on every billboard across the country.
“It just started out as something fun to do,” he said. “Let’s see if I could do it. I didn’t have a clue how to do it.”
Schad said he knew the owner of TerryCo., the company who leased him the billboard space through the November election. He had an artist at an advertising agency design the ad and it was up within a week.
“I think we were just trying to make a statement,” he said. “We felt we needed to change direction in the country, and that’s what we did.”
A similar ad in Elkhart, Indiana prompted a small protest last week. The ad specifically referenced voters removing the president.
Some demonstrators said though that comparing military action to take out a terrorist, with removing a president from office, was too far. Schad said he didn’t see how people could take the ad that way.
“Other than the fact it’s got some seals in there with a gun,” he said. “But I think it’s pretty obvious what they did and what the statement is.”
TerryCo said it only received a few curious phone calls about the board, and Schad said he hasn’t received a single complaint.
Rather people keep forwarding him a picture that he took of the board, that has made its way onto internet blogs. The retired Air Force mechanic said his only previous entry into the political world was a spot on the town airport and appraisal boards. He said he wasn’t looking for publicity, but realized over the last couple weeks he was starting to get it.
“If you’re going to I guess you may as well jump in with both feet,” he said.