While saner heads have prevailed, what airhead actually thought it was a good idea to stock bobbleheads of President Abraham Lincoln's assassin in the bookstore of the Gettysburg visitor center?
The John Wilkes Booth bobblehead dolls were removed from the bookstore at the Gettysburg National Military Park visitor center on Saturday, a Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman said. That was a day after a reporter for The Evening Sun newspaper of Hanover asked about the bobbleheads that reportedly had been on sale for about a week.
The Gettysburg Foundation operates the visitor center, and Event Network Inc. of San Diego runs the bookstore.
For those in need of a history lesson, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth fatally wounded President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, five days after the surrender of Confederate forces essentially ended the Civil War.
Lincoln remains widely revered as one of the nation's best presidents.
The Booth bobblehead dolls, which also featured a handgun like the one used in Lincoln assassination, are in extremely poor taste. Still, a retailer operating on private property has the right to decide whether to sell the Booth bobbleheads.
But Americans should expect better taste and more sensitivity from a retailer in the visitor center of a major Civil War battlefield. The Union victory at Gettysburg was a turning point in the war, but it came at a terrible cost of 51,000 casualties.
The staggering death toll is the reason Lincoln came to Gettysburg in November 1963 and gave his most famous speech while dedicating a cemetery in honor of those killed in the Pennsylvania battles.
Given all of this, selling dolls of Lincoln's assassin at the Gettysburg visitor center is an appalling error in judgment.
It's good that the Booth bobbleheads are off the store shelves, but whoever decided to stock them in the first place needs to be supervised closely to ensure such mistakes are not repeated.