Opinion

February 27, 2013

Charles Oliver: Police back to hesitating after targets pulled

• Are you a sheriff or police chief and worried your officers might hesitate to shoot a small child or a pregnant woman or an old lady? Well, until just a few days ago you could have bought a set of targets from Law Enforcement Targets Inc. The company, which has $5.5 million in contracts with the federal government, provides firearms practice targets for law enforcement agencies. One of its lines was called the “No More Hesitation” series and featured gun-toting children, pregnant women and old people. The marketing team says law enforcement officials had told the company they feared officers might hesitate to shoot “when deadly force is required on subjects with atypical age, frailty or condition.” Shooting at these targets was supposed to make them less likely to hesitate to shoot a child or other “atypical” target. But several media sources revealed the existence of the target series last week, and a few days later the company said it will stop selling the targets. Law enforcement officers will have to go back to enlarging photos of their own children to shoot, which is what the company claimed some were doing before it started offering the “No More Hesitation” series.

• The Massachusetts Department of Education has warned local schools that anti-discrimination laws mean they must treat students who identify as the opposite sex as members of that sex. In other words, if a girl identifies as a boy, she must be allowed to use the men’s room, or if a boy identifies as a girl, he must be allowed to go out for girls’ sports team. The department also says that students who refuse to identify a student by the sex the student identifies with should be disciplined. Referring to someone as something other than the name they wish to be called or the sex they identify with is a form of bullying, according to the department.

• Georgia state Rep. Earnest Smith, D-Augusta, has signed on to support a bill that would make it illegal to manipulate someone’s photograph to create an obscene image. “No one has a right to make fun of anyone,” he said.

• The PTA at Virginia’s Stratford Landing Elementary School raised $35,000 and, working with the school system, had a new climbing obstacle installed at the school’s playground. The students loved the new piece of equipment. But within just a few days, the school stopped children from using it, saying they feared a lawsuit if any student was injured on it. School officials said they planned to take down the apparatus, but to make it up to students and parents they promised to spend $135,000 of taxpayer dollars to refurbish the playground. After local media picked up the story, however, the school board backed down and said students could use the new piece of equipment.

• A British court has ordered nine people to pay £624 each to a woman raped by soccer player Ched Evans. The nine admitted posting her name on Facebook or Twitter, a crime under British law.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.

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