Report claims Uvalde police focused on the wrong thing

Report claims Uvalde police focused on the wrong thing
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

This time in 2022, few of us had ever heard of Uvalde. Why would we? It’s a small town in Texas. Most have never heard of Leesburg, Georgia either, despite a couple of pretty famous people coming from that neck of the woods, so why would Uvalde be any different?

Now, unfortunately, we all know about it. The shooting there was beyond awful. The English language lacks the words to adequately describe the horrors we’ve learned about since that day.

A recent report found that part of those horrors are becomes the Uvalde police chief focused his attention on evacuation, rather than confronting the armed gunman killing children.

The former school police chief in Uvalde, Texas, Pete Arredondo, told investigators he was primarily concerned with protecting those outside the classroom where a gunman had holed up with children during the massacre at Robb Elementary School last May, according to details from an interview a day after the attack.

CNN on Tuesday published details from a video interview Arredondo gave to investigators after the shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead. Arredondo has drawn fierce criticism for treating the shooter as a “barricaded subject” rather than an active shooter, going against police training and protocol. It took officers more than an hour to confront the gunman, who was later killed by law enforcement. An investigation is looking into if any of those killed could have been saved had police intervened sooner.

“Once I realized that was going on, my first thought is that we need to vacate,” Arredondo told investigators a day after the shooting. “We have him contained ― and I know this is horrible and I know it’s [what] our training tells us to do but ― we have him contained, there’s probably going to be some deceased in there, but we don’t need any more from out here.”

The problem was that there was an armed gunman inside of a room with young children, kids he was still killing.

As Arredondo noted, protocol for such a situation is to go after the gunman. While evacuation makes some degree of sense, not breaching the door and going after the killer doesn’t. Not when there were plenty of people who could have evacuated the rest of the building.

This isn’t that different than what happened during Parkland, when police waited while the shooter remained inside, armed and capable of killing victims.

There too, protocol was ignored, a policy adopted by law enforcement following the Columbine massacre. Before then, such an incident was viewed as a hostage situation, and for understandable reasons. There really weren’t shootings like that before, not in schools at least, and such a case was more likely to be about hostages.

Yet that changed because as police waited outside, the killers continued to slaughter people.

The decision to do that in Uvalde also likely led to an unknown number of deaths, which is why the procedure to go after the attacker is the standard today.

Meanwhile, that’s often ignored as our gun rights continue to be under attack. Law-abiding gun owners are tasked with defending the loss of life for some idiotic reason, even though we had nothing to do with this and law enforcement failed to act appropriately.

Before you ask me to give up some segment of my rights–and it’s not happening, but you can ask anyway–you should probably make sure that law enforcement didn’t screw the pooch.