DHS training with practice targets featuring children, pregnant woman?

Outrage has erupted over law enforcement practice targets depicting Photo: No Hesitation practice targets featuring armed women and children

DALLAS, February 28, 2013 — Minnesota-based Law Enforcement Targets, Inc (LET) has been awarded $5.5 million in contracts with the federal government, including $2 million with the Department of Homeland Security.

In light of this fact, it’s no wonder that the American people were outraged last week when it was uncovered that the firm had released a series of gun practice targets featuring a pregnant woman, a child, a young mother and grandparents.

This No More Hesitation series includes seven total targets, each subject armed: Pregnant Woman, seen in front of the backdrop of a nursery, Older Man 1, stands in his home, in front of a bookshelf and Older Man 2, Older Woman, is depicted in a bathrobe in her kitchen. The Young Mother, seen on a playground, is holding a toddler’s hand in one hand, gun in the other.

Then there is Young Girl standing in a driveway with a sack purse slung over her shoulder, and Little Brother, a very little person indeed, is depicted in a backyard with a privacy fence behind him. “Older man” stands in his home, in front of a bookshelf.

LET said that the targets were requested by law enforcement agencies and designed in order to “train police officers for unusually complex situations.”

A statement released to Reason’s Mike Riggs, states:  

“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.”

However, the American people didn’t seem to concur, and the ensuing outcry resulted in LET withdrawing the targets from circulation.

We apologize for the offensive nature of our ‘No More Hesitation’ products,” they posted to their facebook page last week. “These products have been taken offline due to the opinions expressed by so many, including members of the law enforcement community.”

While the removal of the targets from the online marketplace may seem like a step in the right direction, the fact that they are being used by our supposed peace officers in the first place is sinister in its own right. The fact that our own Department of Homeland Security may be spending our money on them is disturbing as well.

In the unlikely event that a domestic law enforcement official is faced with the unexpected threat of an armed eight-year-old or a threatening mother in the presence of her toddlers, hesitation is not only the natural response, but the moral and correct response.

There are good and noble reasons why civilization has erected these constraints around the lives of the young and the aged and the vulnerable.

The first and most obvious of these is that pregnant women and grandmothers and little boys rarely constitute “threats” to police officers. And if an officer is being threatened by one of these civilians in their own homes or backyards, perhaps he should consider whether it is possible that they have a genuine grievance against him?

There is a certain horror accompanying the idea of conditioning our homeland security officers to fire without hesitation or consideration on the women and children and elderly people of their own nation.

LET claimed in their statement about the No Hesitation campaign that hesitation was, “not acceptable when officers are losing their lives.” But a big chunk of the American people begs to differ.

As much as we respect and admire our security personnel and police officers, we also understand the impossibility of eradicating suffering from the earth, and we prefer a humane society with traditional constraints and protections for the weak to a nation ravaged by fear and bereft of all codes of conduct.

We prefer a society where the life of a child is not taken without hesitation by the officers employed to protect him.

And if some – a very small number – of our officers are going to end up honorably sacrificing their lives for the sake of these codes, we prefer that to the alternative of a senseless, robotic police force that will not hesitate to riddle our disabled grandparents with bullets.

Read more High Tide and the Turn with Bryana Johnson

An author, history buff, self-taught artist, and enthusiastic autodidact, Bryana brings her always politically incorrect and usually passionate views about politics and the theory of government to her readers. In addition to writing for the TWTC, she also maintains the official High Tide Journal at www.thehightide.com and writes about literature and the world’s great Lover at www.bryanajohnson.com  You can also find her on twitter at @_Bryana_Johnson and on facebook.


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Bryana Johnson

Passionate about liberty, and the theory of government, Bryana serves as the vice president of a local political club and reports on political happenings around the globe.
 
In addition to her political activities, Bryana has won prizes in multiple poetry contests and her first poetry collection, Having Decided To Stay, was released in 2012. She writes regularly about the good life, literature and the world’s great Lover over at www.bryanajohnson.com. You can follow her on twitter at @_Bryana_Johnson and on facebook. 

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