After an unspeakably violent tragedy, there is often (and understandably) a haze of bad information floating around. Such is the case in the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The public was first told the 18-year-old, who massacred 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School, was met by a police officer before entering the building.
The new story is that “he initially walked in unopposed” after 12 minutes of walking around outside firing shots. But the most annoying new development is this: The chief of the Uvalde Police Department says officers are “replied within minutes‘ but it took police an hour for a tactical unit to attack the mass school rampage. I think it depends on your definition of “answered”.
That reason The police didn’t go in earlier? According to a Texas Department of Public Safety official, it was because “they could have been shot.”
Well, yes, that’s right – cops could have been shot confronting a heavily armed lunatic. But that’s the main reason we have armed state agents in the first place to protect the defenseless from murderous predators.
The officer further justified the decision, saying police could “contain” the shooter in a classroom. That’s great news, assuming your kids weren’t barricaded there with him. call 911 and ask for help. At least a full 40 minutes.
“This isn’t police bashing. This is a call to basic responsibility and humanity.”
I’ll be the first to admit I’m too much of a wimp to sign up as a cop. But once you sign up for this gig, it seems to me that you want to be ready to do your job when a maniac murders 19 little children.
Okay, I know that very few low-ranking officers would unilaterally go all Dirty Harry – disobeying orders from their superiors and rushing to confront the bad guy with brute force. And there are good reasons for this, not the least of which is maintaining the chain of command in a crisis. But unless this new reporting is also wrong, whoever ordered these officers to back off and wait belongs in the same category of our cultural consciousness as this Parkland, Florida officer who “retired to a safe position” instead penetrating Marjory Stoneman at Douglas High during the February 2018 massacre.
It’s bad enough that officers didn’t even try to confront the Uvalde shooter. What is arguably worse is that police have reportedly thrown parents to the ground and pepper sprayed one parent. A woman told The Wall Street Journal She saw police use a taser on a father who wanted to go to school and save his child. “They didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us,” she said.
Parents knew from the bottom of their hearts that it was their moral responsibility to protect their children. Compassion and human decency require intervention to prevent murder. The police in this case were not proactive in causing the damage. But common sense dictated that waiting outside was wrong. Still, we’re trained to respect the experts. respect authority. So that they can do their job.
I accept that I could be labeled a keyboard warrior trying to tell the police what to do. And as someone who would be inwardly averse to violent conflict, I would certainly be a very bad cop – which is why I never became one. But I’m not fundamentally hostile to the police. My father-in-law was a police officer for years, and my father was a correctional officer for 30 years (he ran the prison’s tactical department for a time). This isn’t police bashing. This is a call for basic accountability and humanity.
“Waiting an hour is gross,” said Sean Burke, a former school resource officer who is now president of the School Safety Advocacy Council, a group that provides school districts with training on how to deal with shootings. “If that turns out to be true, then that’s a disgusting fact,” Burke told NBC News.
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, apparently agrees. He said Friday that the police commander who ordered officers not to breach the building during the siege made “the wrong decision,” Axios reported.
The police have a tough job, and it’s possible some have checked out. Could recent criticism (particularly following the murder of George Floyd) have prompted some police officers to adopt a stance that dictates that they do what is necessary and not crane their necks too far to help others? I think it’s plausible, if deplorable, when it comes to street crime (for example). But would that attitude deter the police from rescuing young children?
Some have argued that in post-George Floyd America, police are too concerned about being caught on video doing something wrong that they might not take chances in a crisis. It’s hard to imagine a more grotesque cop-out.
The police officers who watched as George Floyd was murdered by one of their co-workers had a choice about whether to intervene in an injustice unfolding before their eyes. So did the officers who aggressively treated parents outside Robb Elementary School while children were butchered on the other side of the school’s walls.
Excusing this inaction is not pro-cop. If anything, it makes a mockery of the value of good bulls.
We need brave, ethical police officers, and we need their leaders who are competent and accountable. None of that was seen in Uvalde this week.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/cops-are-only-human-but-they-unforgivably-failed-in-uvalde?source=articles&via=rss Cops are only human, but they failed unforgivably at Uvalde