The school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde Texas has been an absolute nightmare for this small town since it began. While school shootings are always tragic, this one took on a whole other classification of devastation as the initially strong stories have begun to weather and fade. Instead, the truth of incompetence, cowardliness and general poor policing have taken their place.
A committee of Texas lawmakers gathered and generated the 77-page report. As first reported by the Texas Tribune, the report detailed the lack of awareness to the gunman’s family of his warning signs, the deviation from the safety plan by the school system, as well as the disregard of active-shooter training by the police.
With 376 law enforcement officers responding to the shooting, nobody was stepping up into their appropriate leadership roles. They also lacked even the most basic of communication, and there was absolutely no sense of urgency to get those children away from the situation safely or take down the gunman. The officers and parents who were found to have been responding in attempts to save their family members were detained and prevented from playing a more active role.
Per the report, the numbers broke down to 149 from U.S. Border Patrol, 91 state police officers, 25 Uvalde city police officers, 16 sheriff’s deputies, and 5 officers from the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police. However, that leaves a reported 90 officers responding from unidentified agencies. That statistic alone is incredibly troubling. Especially given the lack of urgency from any one agency or leadership at the scene. While Uvalde schools police Chief Pete Arredondo acted as incident commander while at the scene, his lack of appropriate response is indicative of someone who was promoted without merit.
This report in and of itself placed most of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the law enforcement for not doing more sooner.
“They failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety. In this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post. Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance.”
While stopping short of commending any of the solo officers who attempted to find a way to get involved, it acknowledged the glaring problem with the lack of coordination, thus making these singular attempts fruitless. Had they coordinated their efforts and worked together, the report suggests that these efforts could have proven successful and ended this crisis much faster.
Unsurprisingly, the school itself was also faulted in the report. While they had proper safeguards in place, they were complacent in having them properly implemented. Witnesses told stories of staff often leaving doors unlocked, and propping doors open with rocks, wedges, or magnets due to a lack of correct keys.
Members of the Texas House of Representatives on July 17th invited the family members of the 19 students and two teachers killed to review their findings. The committee will also show them the over hour-long tape of the officers wasting time in the halls before eventually killing the gunman. While this information won’t change anything about that day, it should allow the families to begin the process of closure.
Since this shooting, there has been a loud outcry for something to be done. Republicans are asking for more safeguards in schools. Properly trained and outfitted officers assigned to keep the kids safer in schools, and better locks are among the top of their suggestions. Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats keep pushing for gun control as the answer. As this school shooting showed, the only thing that is stopping a madman with a gun is a good guy with a gun.