Take a moment, close your eyes and imagine a ‘bad guy” pointing a gun at you intent on killing you.
Officers can to do this on the range by putting a face on everything they shoot. The key is to imagine that that paper or steel target represents someone who is trying to kill them or someone else. That target represents someone who is trying to keep them from ever being able to go home to their family, the people they love, the people that are important to them in their life.
Officers also need to do the same type of imagery when preparing to defeat edged weapons attacks, disarming attempts and other combative training.
As trainers we need to stop using the term ‘Bad Guy’ in training to refer to subjects. We know that the term ‘bad guy’ comes with preloaded images. What happens if the threat comes from a 13 year old with a gun who does not look like a ‘bad guy’? What happens if the threat come from a pregnant female who does not match our image of a ‘bad guy’? What happens when it is a 75 year old man or woman who looks more like your grandparent than they do a ‘bad guy’?
What happens is that officers tend to hesitate, sometimes to the point where they are unable to act to eliminate the threat.
The term ‘subject’ is generic. It comes with far less baggage than the term ‘bad guy’. It lends itself to a broader range of images of what a subject looks and sounds like. It also sounds more professional in court.
This is not about being politically correct. It is about preparing officers to perform at the highest level out in the field. Therefore, I encourage you to replace the term ‘bad guy’ in your training with the term subject and continually talk about the range of subjects officers will face.