MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Christian Examiner)—A Michigan homeowner says she didn't intent her controversial "gunman" Christmas display to be offensive but hoped it would honor her deceased father during the holiday season.
The homeowner, Brittany Cousins, told Fox 17 in Grand Rapids, Mich., that hunting had been a favorite father-daughter pastime the two shared. The "gunman," Cousins noted, was actually a hunter who was taking aim at two animatronic reindeer also in the yard. No gun was used in the display. Cousins created the display from an old Halloween display, lights and a piece of trim to simulate the waiting hunter who was perched in a tree.
"Hunting was always something we always did together, and this was something we kind of joked about, putting a hunter up as a Christmas decoration," Cousins told Fox 17.
Local resident Michael Golliver believed the gunman was real when he drove past the display a few days ago. In an effort to get the display taken down, he posted a photo of it on Facebook and asked his fellow neighbors to call the police to express their displeasure. The post has been shared hundreds of times.
In his post Golliver referenced Muskegon Community College, a nearby school that had recently been the subject of a bomb scare. Respondents to Golliver's post also mentioned the recent attacks in San Bernardino, Calif.
"How does that celebrate life, I'm not sure I understand especially at this time when so many people have lost their lives to gun violence," Golliver told Fox 17. "I'm heartened to believe that was not their intention, to scare people, but the fact is that it does."
Cousins noted that none of her neighbors have said anything about the display. To her, it's a way to keep her father's memory alive during the holiday season.
"It was never meant to offend anybody, it was supposed to be a happy thing for me and my family. It was never supposed to be anything bad," Cousins said.
Believing Cousins had a legitimate explanation for the display, the Muskegon Township police have said they will not pursue the case any further. Legally, they noted, they can't force the family to remove the figure.