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Old February 21, 2013, 11:04 PM   #51
SpectreBlofeld
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Pax, I get what you're saying here, and I agree. The hard choice must be made, even if it is a horrible choice. This I understand. However, the idea that people would choose to practice on a range shooting at cutouts of children, pregnant women, etc., is still reprehensible to me. To desensitize yourself to this is to dehumanize yourself.

I know most debates here concern legalities of gun ownership and tend to shy away from these sorts of ethical quagmires, but I feel strongly enough about this sort of thing to 'go there'. We don't need this. At no point in the United States' long relationship with private gun owners, military, and law enforcement ever require exercises that simulated shooting children and expectant mothers (until now apparently). The world may have changed in the past few decades in terms of how threats are represented, but it hasn't changed THAT much.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:27 PM   #52
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It is a sad world where we must train to desensitize ourselves to shoot non-traditional "bad guys", but its driven by real-life experiences that those who've carried a weapon have faced.

In May 2012 when I showed up in Kabul for my turn in the sandbox, I had to deal with the prospect of shooting suicide bombers who were kids. And in a lot of my outside the wire time, there were a LOT of kids! They always wanted your pen or pencil or water or candy. But each time, I got nervous and really paid attention and kept my grip just a little tighter on my M-4.

And it happened. We think he was about 15, blew himself up trying to gain access to one of our facilities along a path I had been on numerous times before. So, the threat is real.

And as a dad with both sons and daughters, I saw some of my kids in those young faces looking at me. But I resolved that if it came to it, I would shoot a kid, if it was a threat, so I could go home and see mine. A tough decision as a dad to make, but something I found I had to do. Gratefully, thankfully, I NEVER had to do it, and find myself detesting the fact I had to mentally "go there". But some targets depicting the scenarios would have been helpful to test that resolve.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:39 PM   #53
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These targets to me are disturbing, yes LE do have to be trained to defend themselves when confronted by anyone threatening them with a gun. That could even include little kids and pregnant women. But at the same time it looks to me as a way to desensitize the officers from refraining to shoot citizens.

After all DHS has issued statements classifying gun owners and returning veterans as potential domestic terrorists, so to me it seems that these targets were made in response to that. That possibility is just a little scary to me and i don't like the thought of DHS training to shoot American gun owners.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:52 PM   #54
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I've spent a bit of time poking around the "split second targets" section of the LET website. These are the ones with sort of generic images closest to those in the "no hesitation" series. The "modal demographic" (don't you love it when I talk dirty?) depicted on the targets is a clean-shaven, white male, aged maybe 20 to 40, casually dressed. There's a black guy, an Asian guy, a couple of (white) women, and a couple of "all-purpose ethnics," but the majority fit that description. Oh yeah, there's also that kind of nutty-looking pregnant woman.

I thought the most interesting, from a split-second decision-making standpoint, was the photo of a smallish white woman holding a gun to the head of a large black man. I bet he gets shot a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishing_Cabin
For all the folks complaining about these targets, I havent read a reply yet that discusses how to tell an innocent person from one who would kill you. Is it race? No. Is it tats? No. Is it age? No. Is it pregnancy? No. etc....
Yep, I'm still waiting, too. Still no takers, barring that clownophobe.

Won't someone please explain what a bad guy looks like, and how to tell him from a "citizen" or an "American gun owner?"
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:58 PM   #55
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Hey, I answered! I said we should take 'em from mugshots of convicted murderers.

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Old February 22, 2013, 12:32 AM   #56
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So you did. But so many of them are -- or rather, were, "American gun owners."
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Old February 22, 2013, 12:55 AM   #57
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I think the issue here, at the most base level, is that these targets are teaching the idea that anyone holding a gun - or what looks like one - is a target, to be shot. Not a threat - subtle distinction - but a target, which must be shot at. Because these cardboard cutouts are literally that - they are targets, made for shooting. You put them up at the range and you put holes in them. In the real world, there are threats. Threats MIGHT be manifested in the form of pregnant women and children holding guns, or things that look like guns. It doesn't matter. What DOES matter is that you shouldn't automatically kill anything that looks like a target. They only become a 'target' if the threat level and situation calls for the action.

So, what are the purpose of these range targets? They're not for accuracy - a plain old bull's eye pattern is better for that. They only exist for one reason - to encourage you to shoot people you'd normally not want to shoot. The problem here is that it turns problems into targets that must be shot.

In my opinion, this shouldn't be a part of range practice. When shooting at the range you should be focusing on your accuracy, form, and technique. There are other training exercises in military, law enforcement, and civilian applications that will cover the questions of WHEN and WHY to shoot. But these things we're talking about are cardboard cutouts of expectant mothers and children that only exist to be shot, which implicitly reinforces the idea that you should automatically treat these sort of people as targets. This isn't right. See a kid or a mother with a gun? Try talking to them. "Hi, how's the weather, that's an interesting tattoo,... say, is that a gun you're holding? 'Sup with that?"

These sort of 'range targets' bypass any real-world scenarios and teach you to just put holes in them, and I think this is not a useful thing.
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Old February 22, 2013, 01:09 AM   #58
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So, what are the purpose of these range targets? They're not for accuracy - a plain old bull's eye pattern is better for that. They only exist for one reason - to encourage you to shoot people you'd normally not want to shoot. The problem here is that it turns problems into targets that must be shot.
I would not say they exist for one reason, to be shot. I would say they can used in various ways in different training scenarios. Shoot-Dont shoot. Have various pasting items (firearm, knife, phone, wallet etc) and use them for a shoot-dont shoot and then debreif as to why it was a shoot-dont shoot. Not all targets are meant to be shot. Except for the pictures (more detailed now)they are using now, there have been different targets depicting various people over the years. I havent known of a big outcry before now.
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Old February 22, 2013, 01:40 AM   #59
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With respect to the comments about huge ammo purchases by DHS.

DHS operates training facilities available to ALL federal LE organizations. I recently read an article indicating that in one recent year, over 70,000 federal LEOs, from 90 different federal LE organizations trained at DHS facilities.

It's also typical for the government to make large consolidated purchases, and the organization doing the purchasing may only be one (although perhaps) the major user of the end product being purchased.

Finally, the ammunition contract was to run over 5 years, and the figures quoted are MAXIMUM/UP TO figures. In other words, the contracts give the government the OPTION to purchase the UP TO the quoted figures over the next 5 years.

There are something like 140,000 federal law enforcement agents in the U.S. who are authorized to carry weapons and make arrests. That's a huge figure, and training all of them, and keeping them in issue ammo takes a LOT of ammo. Like maybe a couple of billion rounds every 5 years or so.

As far as the targets go, I wouldn't like to think that every federal LEO in the U.S., or even the majority of federal LEOs were training against targets like that. However, I'm not starry-eyed enough to believe that none of them have a need to desensitize themselves to shooting armed threats, regardless of how benign they may otherwise appear. Given that DHS operates facilities open to all federal LE organizations, it makes sense that, for such a wide variety of training needs, they would have at least some targets of virtually every kind made.
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Old February 22, 2013, 11:11 AM   #60
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Quote:
There are something like 140,000 federal law enforcement agents in the U.S. who are authorized to carry weapons and make arrests. That's a huge figure, and training all of them, and keeping them in issue ammo takes a LOT of ammo. Like maybe a couple of billion rounds every 5 years or so.
Let's also keep in mind that US ammo manufacturers are cranking out 1 billion rounds per week as of right now. At the peak of the Afghan and Iraq wars the military was expending about 55 million rounds per month so let's just say they are buying 1 billion rounds per year. A little quick math puts Federal government purchases at around 1.5 billion rounds per year. Call it 2 billion just for fun. That leaves 50 billion rounds per year for state/local LEO and civilian markets. Sounds a lot less scary now doesn't it?


As for the targets, meh... Doesn't bother me even if they do use them, I probably would use them too if they were easily available. Threats aren't walking around with a sign hung around their necks and this ain't the movies, nobody cues creepy music when bad stuff is about to go down. Take the guy who shot up the movie theater in Aurora or this Lanza fool at Newtown. If I had met either of them walking down the street I doubt my spidey sense would have been screaming that either was a mass murderer.
.
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Old February 22, 2013, 11:29 AM   #61
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I wounder if any of the targets show a woman on a balcony with a double barrel shotgun


Now THAT was just plain funny! Well said!
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Old February 22, 2013, 12:36 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpectreBlofeld
I think the issue here, at the most base level, is that these targets are teaching the idea that anyone holding a gun - or what looks like one - is a target, to be shot. Not a threat - subtle distinction - but a target, which must be shot at. Because these cardboard cutouts are literally that - they are targets, made for shooting. You put them up at the range and you put holes in them. In the real world, there are threats. Threats MIGHT be manifested in the form of pregnant women and children holding guns, or things that look like guns. It doesn't matter. What DOES matter is that you shouldn't automatically kill anything that looks like a target. They only become a 'target' if the threat level and situation calls for the action.

So, what are the purpose of these range targets? They're not for accuracy - a plain old bull's eye pattern is better for that. They only exist for one reason - to encourage you to shoot people you'd normally not want to shoot. The problem here is that it turns problems into targets that must be shot.
Too many incorrect assumptions.

The officers that train with these targets are not standing at a counter in a 50ft indoor range perfecting their Weaver stance and shooting for groups.

These targets are used in some version of a Shoot House, often with 360 degree fire zones, simulated buildings/rooms, with officers in motion, clearing rooms, working a situation, however the scenario is given to them.

It's "Ok guys, here's the scenario. You've been called to this house for a domestic. When you arrive, you find a man who has a bloody nose and he is obviously agitated. Begin talking to him..."

Now, they're in the house talking to a guy like it's a real call and this lady pops out from behind a door...

THAT is why they use these targets. At one time, one of the counties near me had some of these that were red-neck animated. The target would be holding a gun held by velcro at low ready, the officer would do the old "DROP THE GUN! DROP THE GUN!", the training officers had a string attached to the gun and arm. Sometimes he'd drop the gun, sometimes the arm would raise to point at the officer, sometimes he would START to raise his arm but he was just TOSSING the gun.

I'm actually surprised that more officers haven't chimed in to talk about this kind of training.

There's no conspiracy here. It's just training for real life.
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Old February 22, 2013, 12:46 PM   #63
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Tucker 1371

Quote:
Along with some of their other recent activities I agree, concerning indeed. I had been hearing a rumor about DHS buying up all the 5.7x28 but never got a source or reason why but I guess this quote explains it...

Quote:
This is particularly alarming given the fact that the*Department of Homeland Security has purchased roughly 2 billion rounds of ammunition over the course of the last year, enough to wage a near 30 year war...
^^^FN P90s?
The government makes large quantity purchases to save money and likely uses large amounts of ammunition i.e. millions of rounds in training each year.

As for the 5.7x28 ammunition purchases, the Secret Service (which has been a DHS agency since 2003), use the FN P90s and the FN 5.7 pistol. It wouldn't be surprising to see government agencies purchasing large amounts of this caliber for federal law enforcement training.

You might check out this article at Tactical Life.com, it states that DHS uses, "15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises."

http://www.tactical-life.com/online/...?hp=news_title
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Old February 22, 2013, 12:58 PM   #64
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There is evidence from simulation studies that officers are too slow and reluctant to respond appropriately to women with guns and perhaps too fast to shoot at minorities.

You can disagree on political grounds but there are data for that. Training programs have been designed to correct for these biases and have been successful.

You may recall an old video about Surviving Edged Weapons - IIRC, officers got tagged by women as they underestimated the threat or didn't detect it.
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Old February 22, 2013, 01:42 PM   #65
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I heard that the LAPD was using the same silhouettes but of a Blue Toyota Tacoma truck instead of people. Just look at how well THAT turned out!

By the way guys, my pregnant wife was a silhouette model. Sure, she has a temper, but be kind!
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Old February 22, 2013, 04:21 PM   #66
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Sgt Lumpy summed it up well in post 21........

Quote:
Don't read too much into it.

You're a cop. You're faced with a pregnant lady pointing a gun at you. What do you do?

Substitute pregnant lady with old man, young boy, whatever you want. They're not teaching cops to kill kids and pregnant ladies. They're teaching cops to stay alive by taking appropriate action (firing) on appropriate targets (armed subjects pointing a gun at YOU).
....evil comes in different forms. Some things aren't always what they appear to be. Psychopathic women get pregnant......all the time. Old white men and white haired women get dementia or have mental health issues.......all the time. Bullets fired by a ten year old kill just as fast as those shot by a 21 year old gangbanger. I have a good friend that works in a institution for criminally insane youth. He has many stories of young kids and guns....and axes, and machetes. Criminals have for decades used young kids as runners for illegal activities. Many of them carry guns, are far from innocent, and have no qualms of pulling the trigger on a LEO, regardless of what some want to believe. Those targets are training tools used to teach what may and what may not be a threat, nothing more. How anyone can or would claim they are being used to train LE to attack innocent civilians for some imaginary conspiracy is beyond comprehension.
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Old February 22, 2013, 04:35 PM   #67
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My brother was a trainer in officer survival for a large southern city for much of his LEO career. Because of that I was able to sit in on many of his classes while visiting. One thing that was identified during that training was that "old man with a gun" is one of the most dangerous calls to go on. There is a much greater chance that an old man will shoot than other demographics.

As an NRA Personal Protection instructor, this thread makes it easy for me to understand why the NRA makes us use "non humanoid" targets in our sanctioned classes. Mucho controversial, no?

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Old February 22, 2013, 04:44 PM   #68
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Quote:
As an NRA Personal Protection instructor, this thread makes it easy for me to understand why the NRA makes us use "non humanoid" targets in our sanctioned classes. Mucho controversial, no?
Yes -- and that is one of the reasons I think of NRA classes as a good place to start, but a terrible place to stop, for those who are serious about learning to protect themselves.

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Old February 22, 2013, 07:03 PM   #69
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Please pardon this post, which will have the appearance of a drive-by (and perhaps even an off topic drive-by at that). But there's literally nothing I can add to the story you'll find at this link, nor any way to properly introduce it without lessening its impact.

Please read it.

http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013...-hannibalette/

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Old February 22, 2013, 07:10 PM   #70
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That's a heck of a story. Thanks for the link pax.
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:00 PM   #71
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Thank you pax, what you posted, and the descriptions in it, finally shook loose what bothers me about those targets.
Look closely at them again, their faces, do any of them look out of control, crazy, angry? Determined maybe.
The kid looks like he's smiling for heaven's sake!
They don't look deadly because of their expression's and body language..
Now I'm sure I will be given arguments of you can't rely on that! but before you jump on that band wagon I have a few questions for you. When you were in school and fistfights were normal, did you know when things reached the point of violence? I always did I bet you did too.
I dealt with aggressive and violent patients for 20 years. I knew darn well which ones were dangerous, I wasn't magic, we all did. The cops did too, better than we did maybe.
It's possible Grandpa with the shotgun looks dangerous. The rest of them simply don't.
IMHO that's what all of us have been picking up on. The reason this is relevant is this, if you train officers to shoot at people with normal expressions does that mean they will ignore their instincts and fire when confronted with someone who isn't a danger?
Re-do the posters use better actors/actresses and I will reluctantly have no problem with them.
By the way, yes I know in pax's example the officers were saying they were surprised, but I'm having trouble believing that someone that high on cocaine, partying all night aside from the murder looked completely normal. Even the one she described as "the genius" of the group, while high, knew that this was a dangerous person. My opinion, a little artistic license there.
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:02 PM   #72
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Hey, there are women suicide bombers, you could hide a lot in a maternaty outfit. When I was in Vietnam a marine was giving kids candy when one pulled a grenade. The Marine was faster. We have a lot of fanatics in the USA.
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:10 PM   #73
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I agree with you thiebault. I'm also pretty sure if you passed one on the street as she was about to blow things up your instincts would kick in and and you would realize that something about her seemed wrong.
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:46 PM   #74
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Nothing new

I have known trainers who would approach an officer's wife and get her permission to photograph her pointing a gun. She is told that it will be used on her husband during training.

The officer/husband is told that the suspect matches the description of his wife and that she is armed and has already killed one person and is threatening to kill the hostage. The officer enters and is faced with shooting his wife or having him and the hostage killed.

(note: those targets are only a one time deal used in judgment training)
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:52 PM   #75
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That's powerful stuff. Thanks for posting it, Pax. It gives a good idea of what it's like to have to make sense of a really nasty situation, on the fly, with not much time to think it through -- or to think at all. That's a blog that's worth bookmarking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubcedar
I agree with you thiebault. I'm also pretty sure if you passed one on the street as she was about to blow things up your instincts would kick in and and you would realize that something about her seemed wrong.
About that "instinct" thing... "instinct," these days, is mostly a word for the results of experience and training. More of both (especially good training) equals better instincts.
Quote:
IMHO that's what all of us have been picking up on. The reason this is relevant is this, if you train officers to shoot at people with normal expressions does that mean they will ignore their instincts and fire when confronted with someone who isn't a danger?
I think you're right that this is part of what makes them disturbing, Scrubcedar. But it seems to me that's the value of them: if you have to make a split-second, shoot/no-shoot decision, noticing that the "normal-looking" person is pointing a gun at you might be more important than reacting to facial expressions. (Especially in the age of Botox, which even professional poker players are using these days... )

These targets are like anything else, it seems to me. They can be put to good uses, as Pax and others have noted -- or bad. Just like... umm... guns.
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