I am trained to kill by the government! I started my training at the young age of 18 when I began my 12-years of service in the US Army. During those 12 years, and when not on an operation, I continued to train to kill the enemy. When we weren’t physically training to do so, we were servicing the equipment we would use to destroy them, or we were developing new tactics and techniques to best eliminate them. Imagine that, spending years of your life training to kill another human. Now imagine doing years of this kind of training and never having to kill. This is how someone can become bloodthirsty (Bloodthirsty defined as “Eager to Shed Blood.”). Chilling thought, right? So how is it possible for so many people to serve in Combat Arms (troops that directly participate in tactical land combat) and never become bloodthirsty?

The answer is how troops are trained. All, and I will say that again, “ALL” troops who serve in combat arms are also trained to save lives. After mastering these combat skills, troops also do intensive training with combat lifesaving techniques. Once all training is completed, troops participate in multiple training exercises where they must also treat the individual they just shot. This type of training takes away the thirst to kill by conditioning the mind to be deadly, yet compassionate.

Today, as I watch the repeated news reports of police brutality, I ask myself if inadequate police training is making “some” police officers bloodthirsty. Imagine being trained to fight crime. Imagine in that training, you are confronted by an attacker and you are repeatedly conditioned that if the attacker is coming at you, shoot to kill. Imagine also being taught/conditioned that if you, the police officer, have just pulled someone over for a traffic violation and the driver reaches for somewhere other than the glove compartment for their registration and insurance, they are most likely reaching for a gun. Now add on FireArm Training Simulator (F.A.T.S), where a police officer is standing in front of an entirely interactive system that uses a computer program, a large screen, and very realistic firearms to train/condition them on how and when to use deadly force. It looks somewhat like a big video game, but it definitely is not.

With F.A.T.S, they are taught when to and when not to shoot based off the commands they give and not from correct behavior that an aggressor would have prior to attacking. Simply said, they are being taught how to respond after giving a command and not by the actions of the individual being observed. Now add an element to this training, which is absolutely irrelevant; race, ethnicity, age, and clothing they are wearing. Scary right? Unfortunately, the simulator uses all of it. In addition, and this is the unhealthiest part of this training, when they make the decision to shoot, the scenario is completed, and NEVER is it a requirement for the police officer to provide medical attention to the person they just shot. Without this added procedure, the police officer is conditioned to respond with deadly force only.

I say all this because our police force deserves tough realistic training. Training without preconception. Pre-incident training that teaches them how to detect an aggressor by body language and behavior. Not by what they wear, how they look, or by how they obey commands. In addition, a requirement for when a police officer is forced to shoot should be to begin lifesaving procedures as soon as the scene is clear for them to do so.

Ronald D Eastman II
President & CEO
Eastman Protective Agency