Three night package from company mired in killing probes


If your company is accused of war crimes, your license is revoked in a country you were paid to defend and your name becomes so synonymous with reckless killing that you're forced to change your name, probably you shouldn't be marketing "shooting packages" to civilians.

The company formerly known as Blackwater -- which has since changed its name to "Xe" -- is now offering civilian firearms training classes. The Virginian-Pilot revealed Sunday that the company had placed an ad for "shooting packages" in their newspaper and is offering gun training courses in concert with the gun enthusiast magazine, Shotgun Life.

"A recent ad for the facility now called the U.S. Training Center in The Virginian-Pilot highlighted an array of course offerings, for beginners on up, for handgun, shotgun and carbine," the Pilot's Robert McCabe writes. "Women-only classes also are available."

"The 'shooting package' includes three nights at the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center and dinner 'with one or two members of U.S. Training Center's management team,'" McCabe notes.

Careful shooting may not be the company's forte. Several Blackwater guards are facing charges in association with a Sept. 16, 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left seventeen dead.

Witnesses say that Blackwater's guards fired unprovoked; the company says they were only returning fire.

The training courses are to be held at the US Training Center. The center boasts pistol, carbine and rifle classes (including "Concealed Carry") for civilians, as well as sniper, "Terrorism Driver" and "Driver's Safety" classes for law enforcement and military enrollees.

According to the paper, several voicemail messages seeking comment were not returned. The publisher of Shotgun Life said there had been "no takers yet" for the program but that "the offer is still available."

Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services, LLC in February.