I think the creation of practice targets depicting small children and pregnant women and marketing them at police departments is a sign of the times:
What if I told you police in your town could desensitize themselves to the idea of shooting a (armed) child, pregnant woman, or young mother, for just a couple of bucks? The “No More Hesitation” series from Law Enforcement Targets Inc. offers exactly that. For less than 99 cents per target, police can shoot at real-life images “designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training.”
What practice targets somebody uses is none of my business. If shooting at pictures of armed pregnant women is your thing I don’t really care (although I would find it kind of creepy). With that said I think it speaks volumes that a company sees a demand from police departments for such targets. Read the company’s justification for the targets:
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.
The company hopes that these targets will increase the reaction time of officers facing armed children or pregnant women. How often do officers face such situations? It seems that such situations would be relatively rare and, therefore, would warrant some hesitation. Our society appears to have come to a point where officer safety is put above and beyond any other consideration.
In closing I will leave you with the following thought. If police officers were really meant to be protectors it would be understood that the job is necessarily dangerous. When your primary job is to protect you must take more time to analyze situations in order to determine if force is necessary. This requirement to analyze situations puts a protector at an unavoidable disadvantage. On the other hand if police officers are really meant to be expropriators (thieves) for the state then it would be understood that the job is necessarily dangerous but for other reasons. People don’t like being stolen from and will often defend themselves when somebody attempts to take their stuff. Because of this thieves must be willing to employ force quickly upon any sign of resistance. A thief that is unwilling to use force against any resistance will soon find themselves with nothing. If police officers are being trained to employ force upon any sign of resistance are they truly protectors or thieves?