As the days following the deadly attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas tick by, we continue the search for answers. Not just about why an 18-year-old maniac would gun down 19 children and two teachers.
That’s more than enough to ask, but now we’re also having questions raised about the police response.
It was 11:28 a.m. when the Ford pickup slammed into a ditch behind the low-slung Texas school and the driver jumped out carrying an AR-15-style rifle.
Twelve minutes after that, authorities say, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was in the hallways of Robb Elementary School. Soon he entered a fourth-grade classroom. And there, he killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in a still-unexplained spasm of violence.
At 12:58 p.m., law enforcement radio chatter said Ramos had been killed and the siege was over.
What happened in those 90 minutes, in a working-class neighborhood near the edge of the little town of Uvalde, has fueled mounting public anger and scrutiny over law enforcement’s response to Tuesday’s rampage.
“They say they rushed in,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, and who raced to the school as the massacre unfolded. “We didn’t see that.”
On Thursday, authorities largely ignored questions about why officers had not been able to stop the shooter sooner, with Victor Escalon, regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, telling reporters he had “taken all those questions into consideration” and would offer updates later.
It took the shooter 12 minutes to enter the building. In that time, no one apparently thought to lock the doors? No one thought about evacuating students from a door on the opposite side of the building–assuming, of course, there was one?
Then the police waited?
There may be explanations. For example, they may have thought this was a hostage situation rather than a mass shooting in progress. You don’t go into the building immediately for a hostage situation, after all.
But one would think that the gunshots would be a pretty good clue this wasn’t about hostages. At what point do you make the determination that this is a time to go in, even if you don’t have the absolute best team for the task on-hand.
Meanwhile, parents who only wanted to save their children were arrested and tased.
This has been a big black eye for the Uvalde Police Department. Nothing about this is passing the smell test right now, and that’s definitely not good.
Of course, let’s understand that the courts have ruled the police have no duty to protect you or your children. They’re not required. Even the school resource officer in Parkland–a man whose job was to protect the kids in that school–was found to not have a duty to protect them.
Yet not having a legal duty doesn’t abdicate a moral duty to act in the face of evil.
It looks more and more like the Uvalde Police Department didn’t, though. Not until after 21 people had been murdered.
And yet, there are people who expect me to give up my guns in the face of what happened. They think I should just hand them all over and trust that the police will keep me safe. Meanwhile, the police apparently did nothing to stop this horrible nightmare from getting worse and worse, but I’m supposed to put my life in their hands?
I don’t think so.