Let’s say you’re at a major IDPA or USPSA match; and the following happens. A shooter goes through the COF and hits a no-shoot target, however the RO doesn’t notice the hit on non-threat while he or she is making his scoring pass. You however do notice it. At this point, you’re faced with your first decision tree, with three options:
- Say nothing and let it play out
- Tell the shooter, “hey bro you tagged a no-shoot”
- Tell the RO/SO, “hey, you missed a no-shoot that so-and-so hit.”
I generally feel that #3 is kind of a d-bag move, and myself would go with #2. If I tell the shooter, then it’s on the shooter to do “the right thing”, whatever that is. Option 1 is also a perfectly acceptable option if you’re from the “not-my-problem” school of thought. I think though that #2 is the closest to the “right” thing to do in this situation.
Choosing Option 1 is problematic for a couple of other reasons, because you’re then faced with another decision: do you tape the no-shoot and go on with your business, or do you leave it un-taped and hope someone else catches it? These are kind of trouble because if no one has hit the no-shoot yet, someone is going to notice a fresh paster on the target. Even worse though is if you don’t tape the no-shoot, and then some other shooter gets tagged for a penalty. The combination of “not saying anything” + “not taping it” is absolutely a jerk move.
Option 3 is right out because no one likes a tattletale.
So we’re left with #2 as our “best” choice, which could then lead to another decision. So you tell the shooter that he or she tagged the no-shoot, and then they say “thanks” and proceed to not do ANYTHING. The “honest” action here would be for the shooter to go to the RO and say “hey, I drilled the no-shoot, put that penalty on my scoresheet.” But what if they don’t? Here’s your new decision tree based on the shooter not owning up to their penalty:
- Say something to the RO
- Do nothing, it’s not your problem
- Do something so you don’t look like a dirtbag
Again, saying something directly to the RO is still kind of a tattletale move. Doing nothing in this case seems like a bad idea as well, because then someone else is getting away with cheating. The most entertaining way I’ve personally seen this handled was a match where Shooter B told Shooter A about hitting a no-shoot, Shooter A did nothing, so Shooter B waited a second before asking “hey, does anyone have any pasters for this no-shoot?” It produced the desired result without looking too much like a narc.
The fourth option, which I intentionally didn’t list is to wait until the score-sheet is signed and then paste the target.
But the real ethical question here is simple: to what end are competitors responsible for enforcing the rules? You could argue quite convincingly that if the RO doesn’t see it, then it’s not a penalty. Everyone I know has had situations where they’ve gotten away with a 180 or some other violation because the RO didn’t see it. Happens in real sports all the time as well.
So the question from this post is for the readers: to what extent do you fee shooters (not the RO) are responsible for enforcing the rules? And if put in this situation, what would you do?