This shooting range was called out for using black people’s images as targets. A patron claimed the clerk called him a racist once he asked for a different image.
This shooting range is Shooters of Columbus, Georgia, located on the 4400 block of Milgen Road. The concern was brought to the public’s attention by Javell Woods, via Facebook. In his status update, he expressed his concerns about the shooting range and his personal experience.
According to Woods, the shooting range gave him a sheet of target paper. However, instead of a bull’s eye as the target’s image, Woods showed the public that it was a black male holding a gun. The man mentioned his experience as follows.
“So I go to the range yesterday and this Is the pic they had for target practice…. I ask if he had any teenage white males I could practice shooting at and he told me I was a racist.”
The shooting range’s photo can be seen in the following Facebook post.
This post is over a year old. However, it only received local attention. Although the story flew under the radar for approximately a year, this is a national issue and visually immoral fallacy by the shooting range, public perception, as well as law enforcement personnel — to be explained later.
Nevertheless, Woods mentioned that the only other option the shooting range offered, at the time, was the image of “an Arab with a long [beard] and head covered.” After the controversy started, during summer 2015, the shooting range shut down its Facebook page upon receiving a backlash from the public, yet it started a new one later.
However, according to Snopes, one of the shooting range‘s employees offered a clarification.
“David Peacock, who has worked for Shooters for a year, said there are many different targets people can choose to use on the the range. He said the target Woods posted showing a black teenager is one of many choices.
Shooters of Columbus management showed the Ledger-Enquirer a dozen targets depicting real people sold by the store. Most were white men with guns, though there was a white woman and an Asian man as well.”
As can be seen from the image, the shooting range uses targets from the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) and its vendors. Since the issue was made public, several people of various ethnicities have contacted the organization for an explanation or some form of clarification on the matter.
However, the shooting range’s supplier responded on the controversial situation by switching the blame and focus off the organization and onto the manufacturers, all to which the organization gives licenses. To everyone who placed concerns about the shooting range’s paper targets, the organization only directed them to the homepage of the official website. At the page, IALEFI’s president, Steve Johnson, stated as follows.
“Virtually every major target company produces targets depicting whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, males, females, zombies, etc. The world we live in contains both good people and criminals of every race and nationality. IALEFI has, for over ten years, authorized the printing of targets that include a white male, a white female, a black male, and a male who appears to be Hispanic.
“We have never received any complaints concerning any of these targets until two days ago. The recent complaint was reportedly prompted in part by an alleged exchange of words between a customer at a commercial shooting range and an employee of the range.
“IALEFI has nothing to do with the shooting range, did not even know of its existence until two days ago, obviously cannot control what is said by the range’s customers and employees, and has no way of confirming the truth of what is alleged to have been said that offended the customer.”
Although the organization’s president noted that the company has nothing to do with the shooting range, Johnson also mentioned that its licensed manufacturers only print targets that IALEFI approves. So, since it’s a printed target, IALEFI felt that it was fitting for the shooting range, by extension.
As an interesting addition, the Police Firearms Officers Assosciation (PFOA) states that law enforcement officers are taught to shoot center mass because there’s a greater chance of hitting a vital organ. This is a method of, supposedly, slowing down or incapacitating a suspect — if an officer feels his life is threatened. However, the source elaborates on the method as follows.
“1) did the officer intend to wound or did he intend to kill the suspect and 2) was the suspect’s death absolutely necessary…if you deliberately use deadly force to bring people into custody without incapacitating them, you’re using the wrong tool for that job.”
So, if police are being taught to shoot center mass anyway — and not bodily limbs — why are human images being used at the shooting range? Why not use human silhouettes? Why not use bull’s eyes, which are purely “center mass” oriented?
Do you think this shooting range or these manufacturers should continue to produce these race-based targets? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
[Image via Twitter]