One night at Modern Round enhanced my respect for police officers
Let me start by stating that I have always had respect for the police and, while I consider myself to be a law-abiding citizen, my heavy foot has led me to more encounters with the highway patrol than I would have liked. Even then, I knew the infractions were my fault, so I always engaged the citing officer politely. I have also seen the news, especially of late, with all the horrible attacks on police officers. I know that it can’t be easy to be in law enforcement.
What I never realized was the stress of the split-second decisions and the instant reactions officers must make in tense situations. In the blink of an eye, police officers must take the correct action or, in some cases, inaction. The wrong choice can leave them, or innocent people, injured or dead, as well as let dangerous criminals remain at large.
I recently had the opportunity to experience a small dose of what those brave men and women go through daily.
Trying my hand at it
It happened when I visited Modern Round – a virtual shooting range and sports bar. My friends and I were set up in a shooting lounge which consisted of a comfortable couch, a table for our drinks and food, a large screen, and a metal briefcase that contained our replica firearms. We took turns using the colt pistol replicas and the AR rifle replicas. After spending some time playing the various games which included modern combat games, target games, reworkings of classic video games, and even a trivia game, I decided to try my hand at some of the live-action police training scenarios. Unlike the previous games which were all generated with computer graphics, these sessions were recorded with live actors. The tricky part is that any given scenario has several pre-recorded outcomes. For example, in one potential robbery video, the suspect may reach for a crowbar or gun to attack you, and it can come from different places, too. But here’s the real catch, the suspect might also be merely reaching for a cell phone. As the player, you have less than a second to decide to shoot. Have you defended yourself and stopped a dangerous criminal or have you just put a bullet into an innocent person? To add even more realism, the actors act how an agitated person might behave if approached by the police. There is a lot of fidgeting, pacing, and the use of some really salty language. All of this built the tension, as I expected the actor to do something life-threatening. In the beginning, I tried hard to respect the rights of the innocent and not make a move until the suspect drew a weapon.
Could I survive the mean streets of Modern Round?
I found that I was getting shot more than I was stopping the criminal. That was the case even with my replica firearm pointed at the actor on the screen the whole time. Then, not wanting to “die,” I tried to be quicker on the trigger. Although I was not shot, I ended up harming unarmed suspects. Each new scenario increased my heart rate and the amount of sweat forming on my forehead. I could not believe I was having this kind of reaction, even though I knew that this was only a simulation. It was hard to imagine the kind of stress law enforcement officers face everyday out on the streets. They really must make life and death decisions in less than a second.
I needed a cold drink after that
There were some great things at Modern Round – awesome cocktails, delicious food, and ridiculously fun interactive games. However, the most important thing I had that night – and still carry with me – is a renewed appreciation for the men and women of our police.
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