Turn Your Basement Into a Virtual Shooting Gallery

An indoor shooting simulator is easy to add on to most projection based home theater systems, and in most cases is an inexpensive way to add hours of entertainment for the whole family. People of all ages enjoy playing the wide range of games that are available for the system, everything from “Baseball Challenge” to “Elephant Hunter” will keep your family and friends entertained. Utilizing a shooting simulator is not only a great way to add excitement to your home theater room; it is also a get way to keep your shooting skills sharp.

System Basics:
There are a few basic requirements for adding a shooting simulator to an existing home theater. The simulator runs on a normal Windows based computer, software is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The image is broadcast through a projector to a screen, which most projectors and home theater screens will be suitable for use with this simulator. Now all you need to add is a basic simulator package, which includes a rifle, case, camera and five games. Installation of the simulator will only take about thirty minutes to setup and install the new software and hardware. Now you are ready to start enjoying the very best of simulated shooting. To recap the items you need: computer, projector, screen and a simulator package.

Benefits of Indoor Shooting:
There are many advantages to adding an indoor shooting simulator to you home theater room, these are just a few.
Convenience- having the ability to practice your shooting skills from within your own house, cuts down on drive time to the range and you can fire up your system anytime you want.
Cost Savings- ammunition is expensive! You will save a lot of money practicing your skills using a true to life replica laser firearm verses using live ammo.
Safety- using a laser firearm is a much safer weapon to practice will and it’s a lot better for your hearing.
Shooting Variety- with a shooting simulator you have the ability to practice your skills on a wide range of software titles. You can practice shooting skeet and with just a touch of a button you can switch over to another game and practice your marksmanship on simulated popup targets.
Entertainment- Gather you friends and family, challenge them for the highest score or for bragging rights.

Packages and Software:
With this system, there are many packages of both hardware and software available. Looking for a portable package or maybe a complete package if you don’t have a projector, computer and screen? Those packages and more are available. There are over 35 software titles currently available, which can be purchased separately or in 15 game packages. Software titles are being added, so you will always have the option to buy the latest games on the market. Do you have the best Halloween party on your block? There is a Halloween software package that will insure your party is unforgettable. Do you have a young hunter or marksman that could benefit from “Hunter’s Education” software? It is an option on this simulator. Teach them everything from ethical shooting to animal anatomy, with the hunter’s Ed package. Looking to hone your archery skills? This simulator has packages available for you bow enthusiasts. There are several optional firearms which can be added to the system, to maximize the skill development and enjoyment of the simulator.

Adding a shooting simulator to your theater room is easy and a cost effective way of increasing the entertainment value of your room as well as improve shooting skills. If you would like some more information on the shooting simulators or have any questions please contact me through the website.

Closer to Virtual Reality: Extraterrestrials and the Simulation Hypothesis

I believe that the Simulation Hypothesis – a hypothesis that we ‘live’ as virtual beings inside a simulated landscape inside a computer – is the most probable hypothesis when it comes to choosing between differing possibilities of reality. However, the key word revolves around what I “believe”. I cannot prove that the Simulation Hypothesis is the be-all-and-end-all of our reality – not yet at least though I’m working on that. Thus, I must keep an open mind to the possibility that our reality isn’t virtual but really real. In the meantime my pontificating on the aliens-are-here, the UFO extraterrestrial hypothesis and related, is to be examined here in that virtual reality scenario.

# Virtual Aliens: If the Simulation Hypothesis is correct, what would it mean for aliens to be here? It would mean no more and no less than what would it mean for a simulated couch to be in your simulated living room or a simulated tree in your simulated front yard or a simulated crook to pickpocket your simulated wallet. You’re asking a question about the motivation of whoever programmed into our simulated landscape the this, and the that and the next thing too including the concept of simulated anomalous lights in the sky and simulated extraterrestrials having their wicked way with a select few of us. I have no idea what their motivation might be.

I suggest though that one needs to perhaps look at things through the eyes of our very own simulated beings part-and-parcel of our simulated landscapes in our video games. What would these virtual beings that we have programmed think of all the bits-and-pieces that we have included in their virtual world? Why is this guy shooting at me? Why is this monster lurking in the shadows? Why is this Little Green Man abducting and raping my daughter? Do we not include aliens, and all manner of alien interactions in our own video games? Have we not created video games that revolve around “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” and their associated extraterrestrials? So, if we do it, what’s the issue with what someone (or something) might include in the programming of our simulation and simulated landscape?

Okay, that’s hardly a question that discounts the existence of aliens in the here and now in what you would call our really real reality.

# The Supreme Programmer: It could well be the fact that as far as our Supreme Programmer – the he / she / it / them responsible for creating our virtual reality – is concerned, we are just trivia. If this Supreme Programmer has designed hundreds or thousands of simulated universes and landscapes, then yes, we’re trivial. But then so to is any simulation or video game that we create. You buy an off-the-shelf video game and isn’t really all of the contents really trivial? But back to simulated aliens. Since we have programmed hundreds of video games that feature aliens, and produced hundreds of movies and TV episodes (cinema being just another form of simulation) that featured ET, some made even before the start of the modern UFO era, why should we (Royal We) and why should you (as in just you) raise eyebrows at the thought that our Supreme Programmer(s) featured aliens? Many forms of what passes for entertainment is trivial. Our science fiction novels and short stories feature aliens by the bucketful who don’t “have to travel through space, time, space-time, or even a mental space to get “here”.” Well actually they have to travel via a mental space – the author’s mental space or the film producer’s mental space or the programmer’s mental space. So maybe we’re just entertainment for the Supreme Programmer, the “we’re” including aliens and UFOs all rounding out the Supreme Programmer’s cosmic landscape.

If we could talk to our video game or simulation characters (or characters written into a novel or who appear on the silver screen) – and as you note, we can’t, yet – they might ask questions very similar to what must exist in the minds of readers here about why we (the Royal We), their creators, programmed this or that or the next thing in creating their simulated landscape. We (the Royal We) might respond that that’s the way we wanted it, even if it was trivial, or absurd.

I need point out when addressing the Simulation Hypothesis that no free will exists. The characters in our novels have no free will; the characters in our films have no free will; the characters in our video games have no free will. If we’re the creation of a Supreme Programmer, we have no free will. We might have no free will when we boldly go, but as long as we think we have free will then we (Royal We) can be convinced of our boldly going prowess. That by the by could equally apply even if we exist in a really real reality.

But if anyone has digested anything I’ve ever posted about the Simulation Hypothesis, they’d be aware there is one vast difference between my postulated Supreme Programmer and a supernatural deity, or God if that word floats your boat. My postulated Supreme Programmer is a fallible SOB and ‘oops’ happen and absurdities happen. God, being omni this and omni that and omni the next thing wouldn’t create any oops or absurdities.

It is important to contrast a creation by a perfect being, an omni-God, whose creation logically would be perfect – no anomalies, no absurdities – and an imperfect being like a mortal flesh-and-blood computer programmer whose programming would not always be perfect and would probably contain anomalies and absurdities. The proof of that pudding is it the constant updates and upgrades you get for your PC as well as the news stories that surface from time to time about security programming flaws in software that allow the less than ethical among us to do relatively nasty things to our privacy, our bank accounts, our databases, our private and public institutions, like hacking into the NSA or the CIA, or having the NSA and the CIA hack into our PC’s.

But by the by, if anyone were to wish to call the Supreme Programmer, the software/computer programmer responsible for our Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe “supernatural”, that’s fine by me as long as it’s not an omni-supernatural he / she / it / they. But what this nitpicking actually contributes to the subject of E.T. and whether or not aliens are, or are not here, in our postulated virtual reality quite escapes me. I doubt if the readers here give a damn whether or not a computer programmer can be defined as someone “supernatural”.

# The Twilight Zone: Whoever, whatever, programmed our cosmos and our local landscape had a sense of the absurd. Perhaps that’s our Supreme Programmer’s sense of humour coming to the fore. What absurdities? Quantum physics is absurd. The fact that we just can’t come up with a Theory of Everything is absurd. An accelerating expansion rate for the cosmos is absurd. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are absurd concepts. Crop circles are absurd (but they’re here). The Loch Ness Monster is absurd (but people report seeing it or them). Long Delayed Echoes are absurd (but verified). Transient Lunar Phenomena are absurd (but verified). Those Martian rock ‘anomalies’ like lizards, rats and skulls are absurd (but they have been photographed). Biblical ‘miracles’ are absurd but millions believe they happened. The SETI “WOW” signal is an absurdity but it happened. There are all manner of archaeological absurdities, but I’ll mention just one – The Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek in modern day Lebanon. There are many things that are absurd when it comes to the human species: here’s one – humans are the only species where the saying “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes makes actual sense. If photons cannot escape from a Black Hole then neither can gravitons. Gravitons convey the gravitational force which means that Black Holes exert no gravity. A Black Hole without gravity is therefore an absurdity. Then you have quasars that appear linked but have vastly differing red shifts which is also an absurdity. The missing satellite of Venus, Neith, is another absurdity as in how can satellites vanish? You have physical constants that apparently aren’t – constant that is. Time travel to the past is both theoretically possible (General Relativity) and theoretically impossible (paradoxes) – it’s an absurdity to have both something that can be and not be at the same time. Ghosts are absurd yet there are probably more sightings of ghosts going back to ancient times than there have been sightings of UFOs. Perhaps UFOs, the “Greys” and related are also absurdities, but they exist in good company with the rest of what passes for our simulated cosmic ‘Twilight Zone’.

Here are a few more absurdities to ponder over. There are three generations of elementary particles, yet only one plays any significant role in the cosmos. The other two contribute nothing of substance and structure, so why is there a second and a third generation of the elementary particles? In archaeology, the Mesoamerican Olmec massive multi-ton stone heads scream out ‘made in Africa’ or ‘we’re African’, yet there should not have been any cross-cultural contact between Africa and Central America way back in Olmec days. Such a scenario is deemed an absurdity. Lastly, turning again to human anomalies, we alone in all the animal kingdom have a bipedal gait without benefit of a balancing tail. A bipedal gait without any balancing mechanism makes us very unstable on our feet. We’re very easy to knock over. We can lose our balance, fall down and do ourselves a mischief very easily relative to the rest of the animal kingdom. That Mother Nature would select for such an absurdity, is, well, an absurdity.

Exceptions to the rule, like the human bipedal gait, require extra special scrutiny since at first glance lone exceptions appear highly out-of-place and anomalous. Another example is with respect to velocity. Velocities can be added and subtracted with one exception – the speed of light. Why is this so? Nobody knows.

Now from the inside of the computer looking out, as virtual beings, we could never know for absolute certain that anomalies or absurdities weren’t designed deliberately or built into the system. But that doesn’t mean we (Royal We) can’t damn well have suspicions, especially when the anomalies or the absurdities just keep on mounting up. So there is no such thing, as some might suggest, of a proven ‘oops’, but there certainly can be suspicions that something is screwy somewhere. There couldn’t logically be such suspicions if an omni-God (or equivalent) were the only option regarding our creation, something that was the case in ancient times before computer programming and software simulations was conceived of in anyone’s philosophy. An omni-God is no longer the only creation scenario game in town.

I repeat, our Universe might be deliberately designed to be a ‘Twilight Zone’ cosmos, but the odds seem to favour some unintentional “oops” caused by lapses in the programming that was done by my postulated Supreme (but fallible) Programmer. Given the absolute complexity of designing a simulated cosmos from scratch, it is logical to suspect that anyone who isn’t an omni-God would goof a few things up. No one can prove that, but one certainly can suspect that not all is right with the cosmos; one can have one’s doubts! The bottom line is that anomalies and absurdities most certainly argue against an omni-God but support the idea of a fallible creator, like a computer programmer.

10 Key Steps for Safe, Effective Simulation Training

There are 10 key steps for creating realistic, scenario-based, decision-making simulations. They are:
1. Needs Assessment

2. Levels of Simulation

3. Creating the Simulation Format

4. Designing the Simulation

5. Training & Controlling Demonstrators

6. Providing the Training

7. Equipment & Safety Procedures

8. Creating Multidimensional Scenarios

9. Creating Multiple-Use Scenarios

10. Debrief

Step 1: Needs Assessment

Instructors must begin the development of a simulation-training program with a needs assessment. On what do their officers need to spend their simulation training time? Although shootouts with heavily armed bank robbers need to be addressed, officers must train for all use-of-force levels. In fact, in a recent series of statewide instructor updates conducted in Wisconsin, Bob Willis, a nationally recognized trainer, found the most glaring need of the 1,800 instructors was communication skills. Train for the needs of your officers – not just the high-risk fun stuff.

Step 2: Levels of Simulation

All too often instructors go too fast, too soon in their simulation training. You can’t teach officers new skills and then, with little or no practice, expect them to do well in high-level, high-stress, decision-making scenarios. After introducing the new skills, instructors should use seven levels of simulation to prepare their officers for high-level, decision-making simulations. These levels include:

1. Shadow training

2. Prop training

3. Partner training

4. Dynamic movement training

5. Relative positioning training

6. Environmental-factors training

7. High-level simulations

Step 3: Creating the Simulation Format

Next, an instructor must work from a written simulation worksheet to provide the necessary documentation of what officers were trained to do. Besides the individual officer-evaluation form, these simulation worksheets should consist of a title page listing scenario type, objectives, overview and equipment; a page for student instructions; a page for role player instructions; and a page with a diagram of the scenario. These worksheets are essential for documenting training and can help you defend against failure-to-train allegations.

Step 4: Designing the Simulation

After the needs assessment, the instructor will begin designing the simulation, which consists of:

1. Developing the simulation

2. Choreographing the simulation

3. Rehearsing the simulation

4. Implementing the simulation

5. Debriefing the simulation

6. Evaluating the simulation

Carefully design, choreograph and rehearse your simulations, or they can lead to training injuries, the adoption of poor tactics and liability exposure.

Step 5: Training & Controlling Demonstrators

The most important component of successful, meaningful simulation training remains the development of well-trained, fully controlled demonstrators. Instructors must assign these demonstrators roles that are specific, limited and carefully supervised to prevent a deviation-from-role that can lead to poor training and injuries. Tell demonstrators specifically and in writing what they can do and, equally important, what they can’t do.

Remember: If you use officers for role players (and most of us do), they love to win. With adrenalin dumping, it’s hard for an untrained, unsupervised role player to remember that the ultimate goal of the demonstrator is eventually to lose (i.e., be controlled by the officer in the simulation). Yes, demonstrators need to be challenging and realistic, but if the trainee performs effective tactics, the demonstrator should give realistic responses and allow the technique to succeed.

Step 6: Providing the Training

Once the simulation is designed and practiced with demonstrators who understand their roles, the instructor can begin the simulation training. Follow this checklist:

1. Conduct an initial wellness check

2. Explain the training safety rules

3. Conduct a physical warm-up

4. Explain the simulation drill’s format

5. Conduct the simulation drill

6. Conduct a debriefing session

7. Conduct a current wellness check

Finally, instructors should make their training a positive learning experience. Properly explain what you expect of the student, conduct a fair, winnable scenario and properly debrief the student.

Step 7: Equipment & Safety Procedures

Although simulation training helps prepare our officers to survive and win encounters on the street, it must be conducted safely – there are no acceptable casualties in corrections, especially in corrections training. Wellness checks, training safety rules and safety procedures make this happen.

Simulation safety begins with the development of appropriate safety procedures, the development and use of safety officers, and the enforcement of stringent safety procedures. Many equipment manufacturers have developed safety procedures to use in conjunction with their equipment. Instructors should always follow these guidelines to prevent unnecessary liability.

Instructors must keep their officers safe from live-fire training accidents.

Step 8: Creating Multidimensional Scenarios

One of the most critical issues facing instructors of corrections tactics training is the difficulty in finding the time to focus on multi-dimensional scenarios that allow their officers to train for the full range of corrections responses. Most simulations now focus on using one of the use-of-force options (i.e., verbal, empty hand control, intermediate weapons or firearms). This creates two challenges: 1) Training officers to respond effectively to the approach, intervention and follow-through phases of any encounter, and 2) preventing officers from getting caught in a single force option loop, unable to move up or down the available force options.

To address the first issue, instruct officers to finish their simulation training with at least one full-length scenario that takes them from initial contact to debriefing the subject at the end of the incident. Address the second issue by teaching the officers transition drills that take them from verbal to empty hand tactics, empty hand to aerosol spray, baton to firearm, etc.

These multi-dimensional scenarios will assist officers in preventing the gridlock that often occurs when facing stressful situations because no bridges have been built between the multiple techniques and tactics officers are trained to use.

Step 9: Creating Multiple-Use Scenarios

Another challenge facing trainers: Over time, their scenarios are soon burned by their officers letting other officers know the scenario prior to taking the class. To combat this, create scenarios with multiple outcomes. Of course, over time even a scenario with a couple of different outcomes can be compromised.

To limit the number of scenarios needed to keep your officers honest, develop a subject-resistance matrix that gives all role players five separate roles, including:

1. Compliant

2. Shell-shocked

3. Physically resisting

4. Presenting a deadly threat

5. Fleeing

Once you define each one of the roles, you can easily change scenarios by switching the role player’s role. This effectively gives you five versions of each scenario when using one role player.

It gets even more fun when you add a second role player, which allows 25 separate scenario versions. This adds an exciting, time-saving dimension to your scenario training because now, instead of creating a whole series of scenarios on a certain topic (e.g., domestic disturbances), you can create one scenario with 25 separate responses. So what if the officers know we are working on domestic disturbances? They don’t know what version they will have to respond to.

Even more important, they will start to place the subjects that they deal with in these five separate categories and learn preplanned tactics for dealing with them more effectively. As an added bonus, officers start transferring these multiple lessons-learned in training scenarios to the real world. They begin to think about multiple endings for those routine dispatches and start to ask, “What’s different this time?”

Step 10: The Debrief

The last step consists of debriefing the officer’s responses in these decision- making, scenario-based simulations. Debriefing is a critical tool in changing and improving an officer’s future performance, but it’s often not done or done badly.

Debrief in a positive manner. The old way of reading the officer the riot act, telling them everything they did wrong and putting them back into line is both destructive and counterproductive. Instead, conduct debriefing in a team-building atmosphere that includes the following components:

• Are you OK?

• How do you think you did?

• Positive comment, if possible

• What would you do differently?

• Role player, and/or peer jury comments

• Instructor summation

In addition to this team debriefing or as a part of it, review a videotape of the incident. Because articulation (having the officer explain why they did the right thing) is an important part of the training process, include it at this point. Many training facilities add report writing and even courtroom testimony to this section.

Take officers out of the scenario and, prior to debriefing, instruct them to make an immediate verbal report to their supervisor – kind of like the real world. Finally, if the officer did not complete the scenario in a satisfactory manner, provide remedial training to bring them up to a satisfactory performance level. Document this remedial training.

Go beyond merely asking your officers what they did; ask why they did it. Make sure you listen to your officers’ perceptions and reasons for responding as they did prior to telling them what you think they should have done.

Several years ago, we designed a scenario that tested officers’ ability to use their firearm to stop a threat. Two officers responded to a domestic disturbance involving two brothers fighting. Upon the officers’ arrival, one brother was straddling the other on the floor while hitting him on the head multiple times with a steel pipe. The assaultive brother refused to stop. We interpreted this scenario as a clear shoot situation, but we were shocked that less than 20 percent of the officers fired their firearms. They used a whole range of other force options.

When we asked them why they didn’t shoot the assaultive brother, we received numerous answers, including:

• The subject wasn’t attacking them

• This was a domestic

• They weren’t sure what was going on

• They could have unintentionally shot the apparent victim

• The subject was turned away from them

• The baton was in the their hand

• Liability concerns

Some of their perceptions and tactical responses were very enlightening. Several ways they stopped the threat were especially interesting, including striking the assaultive brother on the back of the neck with a baton, which we thought was an innovative way to end the assault without potentially shooting the brother on the ground. This led us to ask officers in future classes what they saw and why they responded the way they did before giving our “right” answer to the scenario.

Conclusion

Document your scenarios and evaluations of the officers’ performance in the training, along with any remedial training given to each officer as a result.

Conduct safe simulation training. Ask yourself this question before an investigator puts it to you during a formal inquiry: “What would other well-trained, experienced instructors have done to keep themselves and their officers safe in this type of training simulation?”

What’s the difference between a tragedy and negligence?

Repetition.

Too many repetitions of needless, preventable training injuries and death have occurred. A developing standard-of-care exists and, as a trainer, you will be held accountable.

We need to conduct decision-making scenario training, but we must do it right.