Even as the Obama administration continues to stockpile enough ammunition to kill every American multiple times, law-enforcement agencies were reportedly caught requesting so-called “no more hesitation” targets featuring pictures of children, pregnant women, mothers at playgrounds, and elderly people. The company behind the controversial scheme, which has received millions of taxpayer dollars from the Department of Homeland Security, said the images were specifically requested by government officials.
After first being exposed by Infowars.com editor Paul Joseph Watson last week, an immediate, nationwide uproar erupted, with the news quickly going viral across America and even the world. Conservative, liberal, and libertarian activists all pointed to the latest scandal as further evidence that the Obama administration is wildly out of control and needs to be restrained before a tragedy happens — after all, federal agents have already murdered women and children during the now-infamous assaults on Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, for example.
Following the most recent explosive revelations, critics wondered, among other disturbing questions, why the Obama administration would be training its legions of heavily armed enforcement agents to shoot at young children, mothers with kids in tow, pregnant women, and elderly people without hesitating. The target line in question — dubbed “No More Hesitation” by the company, Law Enforcement Training, Inc. — features a range of images with what the company describes as “non-traditional threats.”
The products that sparked worldwide outrage include seven separate targets as part of the series. As described by the company, those are: “pregnant woman threat,” “older man with shotgun,” “older man in home with shotgun,” “older woman with gun,” “young school aged girl,” “young mother on playground,” and “little boy with real gun.” You can view a slideshow of the images here.
According to the firm, the controversial target line was “designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training.” The women and children cardboard cutouts were also “meant to help the transition for officers who are faced with these highly unusual targets for the first time,” the firm said.
The company involved, Minnesota-based Law Enforcement Training, boasts about its ties to the U.S. Justice Department, Homeland Security, and thousands of local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies nationwide. According to official data compiled on a federal website, the firm has landed close to $6 million worth of federal contracts alone, with almost $2 million coming from the Department of Homeland Security. Even more alarming, perhaps, the widely ridiculed and loathed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has awarded the company almost $1 million in contracts. The precise purpose remains unclear.
In a statement sent to the libertarian-leaning Reason magazine, a spokesperson for the company tried to downplay the seriousness of the issue and justify its production of the widely criticized products. “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,” the company said. “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.”
It was not immediately clear why government officials were expecting targets of this nature to become a threat, or how an officer desensitized to shooting children would be able to show restraint if, for instance, a child happened to be carrying a BB gun. “This hesitation time may be only seconds but that is not acceptable when officers are losing their lives in these same situations,” the statement continued. “If that initial hesitation time can be cut down due to range experience, the officer and community are better served.”
However, despite the ham-handed justifications, following the outrage in the wake of the worldwide publicity, the firm seems to have removed all of the pictures and descriptions from its website, though screenshots of the images can still be found all over the Internet. In a February 21 statement released on its Facebook page, the company apologized for the scandal and confirmed that it had taken the controversial targets off its website.
“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,” Law Enforcement Training said. “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.”
The company also said that, consistent with its mission as a “training supplier” as opposed to a “training-methods firm,” it would continue to seek input from law-enforcement professionals to better serve their needs. “We sincerely appreciate law enforcement professionals for the risks they take in providing safety and defending freedom,” the statement concluded.
In comments underneath the post, however, critics lambasted the company, accusing it of continuing to sell the products as part of its inventory. Some commentators also claimed the firm was helping desensitize federal functionaries to the horror of killing American women and children. Others pointed out, like critics from across the political spectrum, that the Obama administration’s domestic agencies have stockpiled massive numbers of rounds of ammunition — enough to wage a decades-long war.
Amid the controversy, members of the law-enforcement community have also been speaking out. “There’s something wrong, seriously wrong here. If we start to desensitize law enforcement officers, have them disregard humanity, to feel nothing’s wrong in shooting a pregnant lady or an old man with a shotgun inside his own home ... then what kind of society have we become?” wondered retired Houston police officer T.F. Stern in a post on The Moral Liberal. “How will police officers react after they no longer believe they are part of the society which they have been charged with policing, when they have become used to shooting pregnant ladies and old men?”
The reporter who first broke the story had some serious questions, too. “Why are top training target suppliers for the government supplying the likes of the DHS with ‘non-traditional threat’ targets of children, pregnant women, mothers in playgrounds, and elderly American gun owners unless there is a demand for such items?” wondered Infowars’ Watson in the first article exposing the scheme, which features screenshots of the targets and attracted attention around the globe.
The trends are troubling, he added. “The fact that targets of armed pregnant women, children, mothers in playgrounds, and American gun owners in general are being represented as ‘non-traditional threats’ ‘for the first time’ is deeply concerning given the admitted preparations for civil unrest undertaken by Homeland Security as well as other federal agencies,” Watson wrote, echoing concerns expressed by increasing numbers of Americans.
Indeed, as The New American has documented extensively in recent years, the federal government is increasingly portraying regular Americans as the primary terror threat facing the “Homeland.” Gun owners, pro-life activists, veterans, supporters of the U.S. Constitution, opponents of U.S. government membership in the United Nations, and more have all been painted as potential domestic terrorists in official federal reports and training programs.
The Justice Department, for example, was recently exposed training local police to consider popular bumper stickers as indicators of possible terrorism. Homeland Security and its out-of-control “fusion centers,” meanwhile, have targeted veterans and even supporters of certain popular political figures, such as the GOP’s Ron Paul and Pastor Chuck Baldwin with the Constitution Party. More recently, a U.S. military think tank at West Point painted “far right” conservatives — those who support individual liberty and constitutional limitations on federal power — as a major terror threat.
Critics of the “No More Hesitation” targets said the controversy was especially troubling in light of the recent assault on the Second Amendment being waged by Obama, some extremist Democrat lawmakers, and their increasingly discredited anti-gun rights allies in the press. Several prominent Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have openly discussed gun confiscation, which would necessarily require armed bureaucrats and would undoubtedly meet fierce resistance among citizens. For now, however, the true motivation behind the government’s request for the controversial targets remains unclear.
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