Occam’s (Rent Seeking) Razor


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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33 Responses

  1. Nob Akimoto says:

    I’m shocked shocked to find that there might be crony-capitalism and corruption happening with funds given as block grants!Report

  2. George Turner says:

    Why can’t they print out targets on their existing ink and laser jet printers, using those government office supplies they’ve already billed us for?Report

  3. MikeSchilling says:

    Hold on, I thought guns were good.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    That’s funny. I had just been working on a post that argued that the people already in power might one day seize the power they already hold, if they could only figure out a way to get around all of the armed pregnant women.Report

  5. Creon Critic says:

    He-said she-said journalism tends to leave out context and at its worst jump to conclusions based on that limited information. For instance, beyond the companies that produce these targets, what do people who’ve conducted research on law enforcement training have to say about what targets are used in training?

    One explanation for why some law enforcement training shifted towards this model of real faces is combating implicit bias (here from about 1:11:09 to 1:16:11, sorry couldn’t find a transcript). In summary, adjusting to using faces aims to get police officers to focus on the situation, focus on the threat (the gun), and not necessarily the face (or age) of the person. Dr. Keesee also mentions the Denver Police Department putting police badges around necks of targets, rotating those targets with police badges amongst those used for training. Underscoring the idea that their aim in training as to get the officer to focus on the threat.

    It would take more work to put the various elements of the story into context, what the benefits and costs of training this way, how solid is the research on one model over another, is “hesitation” as its being used in this context a term of art requiring further explanation, and so forth. But sensationalism is far easier than high quality journalism (not a dig at the OP, more the RT and Reason pieces).Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Creon Critic says:

      Yes, this.

      I can posit all sorts of actual reasonable uses of these targets, as well.

      I’ll also note that although Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. has several million dollars in contracts, they provide all sorts of stuff via their web site, including such items as range trauma bags – which would qualify as a training aide, so the probability that the DHS bought three million dollars worth of targets is … well, let’s say “low”.

      Whatever happened to investigative journalism?Report

  6. Will H. says:

    I’m thinking these guys in Minn. need to practice their target shooting outside, shivering in knee-deep snow.
    Otherwise, the legitimacy of the training exercise is called into question.Report

  7. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Real men shoot bows.

    At watermelons.

    With exploding arrows.Report

  8. Damon says:

    I saw this a few days ago and I was indeed surprised. I’m not linking this to all the various other “goings on” like was quoted above, but really, training targets like this is a bit too much.

    As mentioned above, you’ve got LAPD cops firing at truck, etc. which demonstrates that additional rigorous training is indeed necessary, but it it really necessary to train on targets that represent, what .01% of the probably threats in a cop/leo’s career?

    What if the TSA or Federal Marshals trained with frangible bullets on targets that looked Muslim. Outrage there much, ya think?Report