A company we’ve personally done business with, Law Enforcement Targets (which offers, as you might expect, a wide range of LE targets, but also military and general purpose targets and target systems) has been in the news lately, and not in a good way. Their targets range from the various qualification targets specified by many agencies, to comical targets of zombies and the “Minnesota State Bird”: the mosquito.
It wasn’t mosquito targets that made the news. A series of targets developed for DHS were featured, if that’s the word, at Alex Jones’s conspiracy website, InfoWars. The targets were called “No More Hesitation” targets, and showed targets that some LE trainers say officers have trouble shooting: old folks, children, mothers with children, and pregnant women. With flames fanned by Jones and his allies, people lost track of the fact that every target showed the individual in a threat posture with a weapon (usually a handgun).
The targets were, in fact, slightly more realistic (because they were photo-based) versions of the shoot/no-shoot targets that we military CT guys were trained on back in the day, except without the vital interchangeable hands and weapons that our targets had. (The purpose of this is to drill the shooter to look for the hands to assess the threat, not to rely on the general gestalt of the person he sees). A hostage, a hostage-taker brandishing a gun, an unarmed individual reaching for an innocuous object, an armed individual muzzling the shooter’s projected firing position, and an armed individual not muzzling the shooter, and perhaps displaying a badge or other recognition sign, are different things that require different responses on a split-second basis. To us, that was clearly the (not quite realized) intent behind these targets.
But to the public already alarmed by DHS’s focus on political opponents as targets and wartime-army-level ammo buys, it was an easy sale for Jones, that the purpose of the targets was to “desensitize LE agents to murdering unarmed civilians.” A careful look at the targets indicates that this could not have been the target-makers’ intent (we reiterate, all targets showed people in a threat position with lethal weapons), but when the legend gets big, the papers print the legend.
In light of this, LE Targets has thrown in the sponge. The former link to the No More Hesitation targets now 404’s. And the front page of the website contains this explanation:
As we’ve written, we didn’t think the targets were particularly offensive. and the basic idea: to stress-inoculate officers to some degree, and to get them to look to the weapon, not the person, to define the threat, is a good one. The fulfillment of the idea, in this case, was not as good as it might have been, but Jones’s complaint about the targets is quite mistaken.
One interesting thing: the firm has removed the targets from the website, but it doesn’t actually say it isn’t selling them.
One more interesting thing (and we wish I could remember what blog this idea is shamelessly lifted from, so as to give credit): maybe hesitation is a problem some cops could have used a little more of?