Long-time reader Mark Spahn of Seneca, New York, is head of our recently inaugurated Caring & Sharing Division. He notified the Czar of a genuinely weird story involving the Czar’s long-time annoyance—the Department of Homeland Security, under Janet “Concrete Blonde” Napolitano.
Evidently, there is a story going about that the DHS has purchased thousands of paper targets for shooting ranges, consisting of photographs of a pregnant woman, a teenaged mom with a child, a 9-year-old boy, and some elderly folks pointing weapons at the shooter. The theory here is that these targets are designed to reduce hesitation among law enforcement officers—cops evidently hesitate shooting children for some reason, even when the kid is pointing a gun at the officer. These targets are intended to desensitize the shooter so that they can put a .40 right in the forehead and not be troubled too much by it.
This seems to good to be true, and indeed, there is a lot of loopiness being reported. Here are the facts:
- A company does indeed offer such targets for sale to the public, even though this has proven to be a bit of a PR disaster. The company has removed the targets from their website, although they technically remain for sale while supplies last.
- The DHS and other government agencies purchase sundry items from this supplier for their shooting ranges.
- The DHS has not, and evidently neither has any other agency, purchased a single one of these offensive targets.
- Sites originally reporting the story have begun to issue corrections, clarifications, or are amending their reports accordingly.
Look, it says a lot when a story this messed up has even the slightest degree of plausibility to it. When the Czar heard the story, he considered the possibility this could be true. That’s bad, but after Katrina and other federal law enforcement screw ups, anything is possible. And, as Mandarin pointed out to us the other day, the anniversary of Waco is coming up and nerves are a little tense right now.
Bottom line is that this story has no real merit. If you are a non-shooter, you might wonder though whether these targets could be used by law enforcement for the intended purpose of eliminating hesitation.
The answer is “doubtful.” Anyone with real shooting experience—and we acknowledge many police officers spend almost no time actually training with firearms—will tell you that paper targets are useful only for basic mechanics: working on simple accuracy, grouping of shots, and recovering between shots.
|This is how we treat shooting hesitation in the real world.|
If you have concerns about the ability to recognize a threat, draw your weapon, grip it correctly, aim, fire, and recover, then a paper target will not help. There are numerous other activities involving sight/sound alarms, moving between target stations, et cetera, that all shooters, including police officers, will find readily effective. Shooting at a photograph of a kid or grandpa will never work, as anyone with the smallest degree of shooting psychology experience will attest.
These types of targets are put into the ”sick humor” category of novelty targets that sometimes show up at informal shooting gatherings, along with zombies, terrorists, and ChiCom soldiers. Nothing more.