Guns Worst Persons

Worst Person in the World

Paging G. Gordon Liddy — someone in Florida just one-upped you on the firing-range-target wall of shame.

A police officer accused of bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to a gun range has been fired.

Port Canaveral Interim Chief Executive Officer John Walsh told WFTV on Saturday that Sgt. Ron King was leading a target practice with two other Port Canaveral police officers and a civilian port employee when he pulled out the targets April 4. Walsh says King asked the group if they wanted to use the targets and they said no, telling King to put them back into his patrol car.

See, Liddy only named his firing range targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton. This dickbag actually used a photo. Of a child. Who’s dead now. Classy.

  • muselet

    Ron King is, at best, colossally insensitive. Using targets printed with an image associated with Trayvon Martin is unacceptable, regardless of context.

    Is the incident being used by members of his department for political purposes? Perhaps, but no one anyone outside Port Canaveral would know or care, and it’s irrelevant in any case. Ron King should never have contemplated using those targets, not even as no-shoot training aids, and he seems incapable of understanding that.


    • guest

      I disagree . . . by that logic it would be insensitive or “unacceptable” to use a target resembling a young child as a no-shoot training aid in a training exercise designed in response to a school shooting scenario, where a responder might be confronted with a variety of potential targets and have to distinguish between hostile and neutral / friendly targets. That is precisely the purpose of using “no shoot” aids — they represent people who should NOT be shot at, and – as is often the case – real life tragedies serve as better training lessons than any hypothetical scenario from a law enforcement training handbook.

      As to MrDHalen’s comment regarding the source of the targets, I haven’t seen that addressed in media reports — if it’s true the officer purchased them from someone who was suggesting that Martin SHOULD have been shot at, then I would agree that was poor judgement and if he got the idea to use them as a no-shoot target, he should have reproduced a similar figure on his own . . . but re: the bullseye, that would be standard issue — the absence of a bullseye target would make it pretty obvious not to shoot, and the point of the exercise is to quickly identify whether the silhouette poses a threat, and respond appropriately.

      These rapid-fire / quick decision training scenarios are invaluable for law enforcement professionals, and are part of the training that distinguishes law enforcement officers from random yahoos with guns — another part of the reason why, despite NRA propaganda about needing more guns, there are no recorded incidences of mass shootings being stopped by random armed citizens without a law enforcement / military background.

      “guest” here again – sorry, I need to get registered as I am a frequent reader of the site but do not normally comment.

      • muselet

        To me, it would be insensitive and unacceptable to use a target resembling a specific child who had been shot and killed (not to be too gruesome, but imagine no-shoot targets with pictures of victims from Sandy Hook Elementary). Given the understandably raw emotions swirling around the Trayvon Martin killing, I’d have expected Ron King to understand that using a target—even as a no-shoot training aid—with an image of a figure in a hoodie wasn’t a good idea.

        I wouldn’t be nearly so hard on King if he’d simply apologized for any hurt his actions had—inadvertently—caused. We all screw up occasionally and should put our hand up when we do. I don’t doubt his professionalism (either as a police officer or a firearms trainer) or his intentions, but I do question his judgement in this specific instance.


        • guest

          But there again, while Trayvon Martin was a very highly publicized case of something going very wrong and someone being (in my judgement) very wrongly and unnecessarily shot, it also opened up a much bigger conversation about issues of race, perceived threats, and justifiable responses . . . recall Geraldo Rivera (and many others’) ridiculous comments about him “asking for it” just because he was “wearing a hoodie”(paraphrasing, but I think we all remember the point). So while you draw an immediate association with one very specific case, the “training exercise” scenario is something that applies in many other cases as well. Trayvon Martin is not the only young African American male to be perceived as threatening because of how he dresses, or where he’s walking (in a suburban neighborhood with – as Bob would describe it – a neighborhood watchman trying to compensate for something by carrying a gun). A training exercise that uses these specific facts — a silhouetted figure wearing a hoodie, with one hand in a pocket and packet of Skittles plainly visible in the other hand — is a very useful training exercise. In my view, I’d WANT police officers training with exactly these kinds of scenarios to reinforce that shooting someone because of how they dress is not an appropriate response – and to practice making other snap evaluations like “bag of Skittles in one hand, maybe that makes it a little less likely that the hand in the pocket is holding a gun.” That Trayvon Martin is dead is an irreparable tragedy, but I don’t think that anything else is gained by refusing to talk about it, or by shying away from using that horrific and public tragedy as a teaching lesson for other law enforcement officers.

          And as a side note, I did hear King apologize — maybe you felt he focused too much on making the apology about the people who were using Trayvon Martin’s image for the “political agenda” he referenced, and maybe he could have just more directly said he understands that ANY use of Trayvon Martin’s image is painful to the family . . . but he did apologize to the family — and if the facts of the case are as he laid them out then isn’t he right that it’s the people who are trying to gin up controversy who should apologize to the Martin family, not him for ostensibly trying to use the Martin case to prevent other young kids from being needlessly and wrongly shot?

          As a further bit of background, I am SUPER pro-gun-control and very much agree with almost everything Bob (and others) have written here about the very disturbing macho gun culture . . . but I don’t think it’s right to immediately jump to the conclusion that something involving a law enforcement officer is part of that same glorification of violence or any idea that someone is celebrating Trayvon Martin’s death. Certainly not saying law enforcement is infallible, but I just think way too many people made way too many assumptions about what was happening here and about Officer King’s intentions, which may be totally off base.

          • muselet

            Training law enforcement officers to be less trigger-happy around the melanin-enhanced is certainly a good thing, but since Trayvon Martin wasn’t shot by a law enforcement officer, I fail to see the relevance of that specific imagery to a police training exercise. I’m not being deliberately obtuse, I genuinely don’t understand the thinking. Wouldn’t a more generic image work just as well?


        • Christopher Foxx

          muselet: I wouldn’t be nearly so hard on King if he’d simply apologized for any hurt his actions had—inadvertently—caused.

          Which is exactly what he did. So why you still being so hard on him? Was his error in judgment so great that he should have been depriving of his livelihood?

          • muselet

            I heard him apologize for what others had done, not for what he had done.

            I certainly don’t want Ron King to lose his job over this. And again, I don’t doubt his professionalism, but I maintain that using, or considering using, those targets was out of bounds. (Part of the reason for that, by the way, is because some subhumans started printing and selling targets like that not long after Trayvon Martin was shot. I’d have thought the entire literate world was aware of that, which is why I called King “colossally insensitive” in my original comment.)


          • Christopher Foxx

            I went back over his posted video and you’re right. At both the beginning and the end he apologizes to the Martin family, but for how others have used their tragedy.

            I don’t think any lapse in judgement was large. Had the silhouette in a hoody not been carrying Skittles I think it would have been fine. So I hope, once he gets past the hurt/anger he’s understandably feeling himself, he’s able to apologize for his lapse to the Martins. But I don’t think it has to be a particularly bug mea culpa.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Ron King should never have contemplated using those targets, not even as no-shoot training aids, and he seems incapable of understanding that.

      Someone seems incapable of understanding something, muselet, that’s for sure.

  • Lady Willpower

    I want to be outraged, but this officer’s explanation sounds pretty plausible to me. I have to admit it seems pretty far-fetched that anyone would try something so brazenly racist.

  • Christopher Foxx

    I’ve watched Ron King’s explanation (link available at the original article Bob links to) and it certainly sounds like what happened is certainly not as has been popularly described. “guest” is right in his comment and I’m wondering if either Bob or “trgahan” will re-think theirs.

  • guest

    Before we get too carried away – the officer alleges, pretty convincingly, that he was using the “target” in question as a no-shoot training aid during firearms training. This is a setup where shooters are presented with multiple types of “targets” and it trains you to respond appropriately — i.e. shooting the target with a gun, not shooting the target carrying a baby, and in this case it would be not shooting the “target” with his hands in the pocket of a hoodie, but who wasn’t actually displaying a weapon. That context would completely shift this scenario from being wildly offensive, to totally reasonable – and an example of a firearms instructor trying to responsibly teach a critical lesson in order to AVOID future such tragic and unjustifiable killings. This seems like one of those internet-era stories where the rumors and interpretation of what happened spin wildly out of control before anyone has a chance to actually check out the full story or provide any context.

    • MrDHalen

      The target that he purchased has a bulls eye on the center of the teenaged figure. Plus, he bought them from the a$$holes who think this is acceptable, which is stupid. And, you can get plenty of no-target figures from online without giving these idiots yours or the states money.

      • Christopher Foxx

        MrDHalen: Plus, he bought them from the a$$holes who think this is acceptable

        Where have you seen that? I’ve not encountered that claim yet in the reading I’ve done on this. Would love to know your source.

    • mrbrink

      There was an internal investigation which determined this was not just some trainer mixing up his no-shoot targets with “Little Tiffany” targets.

      These targets were wearing a hoodie, holding Skittles and and Iced tea.

      What is your evidence that this trainer wasn’t going to use targets of Trayvon Martin intending to shoot at them?

  • trgahan

    Unfortunately, to this dickbag, Trayvon was a walking example of everything that is wrong with America. Because he was young, male, and black he is seen as a criminal who “got what he deserved” from Zimmerman and does not deserve ANY further consideration as a human being.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Nothing like objecting to folks making unfounded presumptions by making unfounded presumptions yourself.