Paul Joseph Watson at infowars.com has taken the lead in reporting on a decidedly unsettling development in the continuing story of the most transparent administration, evah! Chris Muir at Day by Day Cartoon lays out the likely effects:
Law Enforcement Targets, Inc., a provider of shooting targets to the Department of Homeland Security, has admitted that targets depicting pregnant women were “requested” by law enforcement agencies.
…Blaine Cooper enquired about the company’s ‘no hesitation’ targets, which also feature children, elderly gun owners and mothers in playgrounds, and was told that the target showing a pregnant woman was a ‘requested law enforcement target for training.’
The representative refused to answer why police would be interested in training to shoot pregnant women, but went on to explain,’unfortunately our world is made up of people, pregnant or otherwise, that are gun owners not for the right reasons,’ adding that the targets were to ‘train police officers’.
This is a screenshot from the company website. Each different target had
essentially the same accompanying text and features. I’ll post several of the other available targets throughout this story. Watson continues:
LET Inc brags on its website that it is a full service provider of training targets for the DHS, the Justice Department and thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The company has has racked up $5.5 million worth of contracts with the federal government, with almost $2 million dollars coming from Homeland Security. Another customer who called the company claims he was told that the targets were, ‘strictly for Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies.
The justification for these targets? From a company representative:
The subjects in NMH targets were chosen in order to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training. I found while speaking with officers and trainers in the law enforcement community that there is a hesitation on the part of cops when deadly force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition (one officer explaining that he enlarged photos of his own kids to use as targets so that he would not be caught off guard with such a drastically new experience while on duty). This hesitation time may be only seconds but that is not acceptable when officers are losing their lives in these same situations. The goal of NMH is to break that stereotype on the range, regardless of how slim the chances are of encountering a real life scenario that involves a child, pregnant woman, etc. If that initial hesitation time can be cut down due to range experience, the officer and community are better served.
By all means, take both links for the larger stories. In a story that followed the initial story by only a day, Watson noted:
A company which received $2 million dollars from the DHS has apologized and taken offline ‘no more hesitation’ shooting targets which depicted pregnant women, children, and elderly gun owners in residential settings as ‘non-traditional threats,’ following an online uproar…
The company’s relationship with the DHS, along with thousands of law enforcement agencies, led to fears that the targets could be connected with Homeland Security’s purchase of roughly 2 billion rounds of ammunition over the last year, which many fear is linked to preparations for mass social unrest. As we documented, the LET’s contracts with the DHS were for ‘training aids’ and ‘paperboard’.
In its apology, posted on the company’s website as well as Facebook, LET acknowledged that the targets were requested by law enforcement agencies.
We apologize for the offensive nature of our “No More Hesitation” products. These products have been taken offline due to the opinions expressed by so many, including members of the law enforcement community.
This product line was originally requested and designed by the law enforcement community to train police officers for unusually complex situations where split-second decisions could lead to unnecessary loss of life.
Consistent with our company mission as a training supplier (not a training methods company), we will continue to seek input from law enforcement professionals to better serve their training objectives and qualification needs. We sincerely appreciate law enforcement professionals for the risks they take in providing safety and defending freedom.
I last served as a police officer in the late 90’s. During those ancient days, we used standard paper human silhouette targets like those immediately below:
Citizens would have been surprised and appalled by police behavior in such matters. I’m sure it is no different now. The stresses of the job are so severe, and the human carnage officers must witness and wade through so horrific that those who do not quickly develop a decidedly black sense of humor quit or go mad. All manner of interesting targets can be found on police ranges, including some slightly similar to those depicted herein. One can also find photos of particularly despised attorneys, politicians, terrorists, and not a few police executives pasted over silhouette targets. Still, the police tend to be sensitive about such things and keep it within the fold. Most understand all too well that the public wouldn’t understand. Some particularly politically correct members of the public, from time to time, object to the mere use of the kinds of silhouette targets I’ve just illustrated, targets that while vaguely human-shaped are nothing more than inked paper or cardboard.
in this case, there is an added dimension noticed by other commentators: race. All of the targets are of the distinctly white bread persuasion. I don’t know that I’m quite ready to cry intentional racism, though the Obama Administration is shot through with racial bias–that’s irrefutable–but there is more than sufficient irony to go around. After all, if the point is to desensitize federal officers, are those who commissioned the targets assuming their agents are already completely comfortable with shooting people of color, but not white people, and particularly not really, really white people like grandmothers in their bathrobes, little boys in their backyards, and young girls with their little siblings in their backyards? It’s undeniably true that in some cities, particularly those that have long been under Democrat control, most of the people being shot in general, and by the police in particular, are anything but white, but that’s just another bit of irony. Tyranny affects everyone. We really are all in this together.
The police train on silhouette targets because they are realistic in general shape and form and help them accurately judge distance. It’s that simple. They are trained to shoot for center mass–roughly the sternum–which is likely to most quickly stop a suspect putting their lives, or the lives of others, in imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death. This is entirely defensible and rational.
However, there is a need to train for the unexpected. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints and a lack of imagination, such training is often poorly conceived and done. I once attended a firearm training session where officers were to approach a car on a simulated traffic stop and deal with the “driver.” The driver was a stuffed dummy that was anything but accurate in depicting a human being. One was expected to properly approach the vehicle and was somehow supposed to ascertain that the “suspect” was dangerous despite the fact it was a non-speaking, stationary dummy. Only when one was essentially leaning in the window could one discern that the “suspect” was holding a gun, which was a real gun, but was propped in the dummy’s sort-of lap, vaguely pointing toward the always open window. At this point, the befuddled officer was supposed to shoot the dummy with the low-powered practice ammunition in their weapon.
I never could get beyond the juvenile idiocy of it all, and finally seeing the gun, sighed deeply and turned around and fixed the officers that thought they were expertly rigging the scenario with a baleful and frustrated glare. “Shoot him! Shoot him! they cried, so I turned, nonchalantly took two steps back toward the car, calmly drew my handgun, put the muzzle against the dummy’s “temple” and pulled the trigger. It took them about 10 minutes to put the head back together and they didn’t want to play with me any more.
Some of the best training I had, however, was a technology that showed shoot-don’t shoot scenarios–with sound–on a screen, life-sized. Using an actual handgun fitted with a laser, the system recorded the impact of each round fired and allowed playback after each scenario. Not only was that realistic, it provided movement, sound, virtually all of the sensory cues of reality. Such systems were then quite expensive, but could now be done, perhaps without the recording of impact points, by means of a video camera and inexpensive DVD-making software and a digital projector.
For example, in one scenario officers were faced with a knife-wielding woman, obviously heavily drugged, who staggered toward the officer while raising the knife menacingly. Any officer who fired too soon was horrified to find the women clumsily dropping the knife and sinking to the ground unconscious seconds later. In other scenarios, gang bangers, obviously stuck guns out of car windows and began firing as the vehicle sped past. In another scenario, people who were obviously robbers–masks and all–turned their guns toward the officer. This kind of training is truly valuable because it is as nearly realistic as possible without introducing unreasonable danger into training.
So. Am I entirely against the use of such targets? Not entirely, but compared with other methods and materials made easily and cheaply obtainable by contemporary technology, they are of very limited value, and as LET Inc. has discovered, there is a heavy public relations downside, primarily because times have changed since the 1990’s.
Today’s young cops are a new breed. Most have been brought up on shooter video games, and if the Las Vegas Metro Police Department is any guide (as I’ve documented in the Erik Scott series) they are taught, if not exactly to shoot first and ask questions later, they don’t appear to be far from that ethic. I can attest without a doubt that in my time of service, officers as quick on the trigger as many contemporary officers seem to be would be rapidly seeking alternate employment.
I’ve documented a number of cases of grotesque police stupidity in the use of firearms, such as the Jose Guerena case in Tucson where a local multi-agency SWAT team broke in Guerena’s front door without a warrant. Awakened from a sound sleep by his wife who saw armed men in their front yard, Guerena, a two-combat tour Marine, hid his wife and infant son, and taking up the nearest weapon at hand–a scoped AR-15–was trapped in a hallway wearing only boxer shorts when the team broke down his door and fired 71 rounds from five weapons, stopping only when their weapons malfunctioned or they exhausted their magazines. Guerena was hit only 22 times and only three rounds struck center mass. His house, however, was ventilated from exterior wall to exterior wall and floor to ceiling. It’s a miracle the SWAT officers didn’t shoot them selves. Gurena, in the middle of his home when shot, never took his rifle off safe. The officers left him face down in an expanding pool of blood for more than 70 minutes before allowing medical personnel to attend him. He was long dead by then.
In the Erik Scott case, three Las Vegas Metro officers, in a perfect storm of mistakes, horrible tactics and utterly jaw-dropping police stupidity and panic, shot Erik Scott, who though carrying a lawful concealed handgun in his waistband, had nothing but a Blackberry in his hands. In the middle of a crowd of hundreds, a crowd their incompetent tactics created, they fired seven rounds, one striking him in the heart, another in the right thigh, and five more into his back as he fell facedown and lay on the ground.
In a PJ Media article, I documented the case of Andrew Lee Scott (no relation to Erik Scott) who had the misfortune of living in an apartment building where a homicide suspect was thought to be hiding out. You can guess the rest. The police assaulted the wrong apartment, and when Scott answered the door at 0130 in the morning–the officers did not identify themselves–with a handgun in his hand, several officers shot him dead, even firing through the door.
The targets produced at the request of the DHS are indeed disturbing because they depict not the kind of stereotypical criminals one often finds on similar targets, virtually always depicted in street scenes, but of everyday people: mothers, grandfathers, children, but most distressingly, people apparently in their own homes. This does not mean that the police are always wrong to shoot people in their own homes or yards. However, there are far too many cases on record that could, at least, give rise to the reasonable belief that police officers manufactured, through incompetence or design, the opportunity to shoot people who were doing nothing more than what they believed to be defending their homes against unknown intruders.
This is all the more disturbing in that the DHS has also shown a tendency to identify Americans unremarkable other than that they believe in the Constitution, patriotism, are veterans, own firearms, or prefer limited government as deadly terrorist threats, as I recently documented in a story that also covered the purchase of unprecedented numbers of cartridges and weapons by federal agencies, including many agencies that no one might suspect would have any practical need for such toys.
It is our current government’s tyrannical bent that has caused the biggest run on firearms and ammunition in American history, and that encourages even liberals to arm themselves. Gun ownership among women–a trend I welcome and rejoice in–is also dramatically expanding.
And now it appears our very own Department of Homeland Security–I’ve always hated that name: it sounds despotic, and not just a little–wants to “desensitize” its agents so that they may more quickly and easily kill unremarkable Americans, unless of course people unremarkable to most Americans seem to be terrorists to the DHS (there is evidence to support this contention). There is, it would appear, more than adequate reason to be concerned that the government of Barack Hussein Obama, a government currently engaged in damaging the Second Amendment to the greatest degree possible, may not have the best interests of Americans at heart. One might even be forgiven for believing that Mr. Obama’s government doesn’t have a clue who America’s real enemies are.
There is substantial American historical precedence for believing that those who fear and wish to disarm the law-abiding have evil in their hearts and tyranny on their minds. Recent trends would seem to suggest that Americans now wish to make those who embrace tyranny fear instead. As Chris Muir wrote in the DBD strip that opened this article (if you’re not reading DBD daily, you’re missing some of the finest work in that genre), I suspect those that target Americans, will, as history has always proved, ultimately succeed only in making themselves targets.