Uvalde and the state of Texas deserve better than a governor whose initial statement in the face of the deadliest school shooting in Texas history was, “It could have been worse.” 19 children were killed in the shooting.
The Uvalde massacre was plagued by one incompetent decision after another, from ‘missing keys’ to police officers who hung around for more than 40 minutes in the hallway while children and teachers – who were only a few meters – asked for help a few minutes before getting shot.
Almost two months have passed since this terrible event, and no clear answer has yet surfaced. State and local authorities have made the situation worse by constantly spreading contradictory and false information, while denying access to their records.
The narrative keeps changing, most of the facts about the police response have been misleading and the information that has surfaced more recently are leaks or self-interested accounts by lawyers.
The people of Uvalde deserve answers, and those responsible for the tragedy must be held accountable. The continued lack of transparency appears to be a defense mechanism for everyone involved.
So far the designated scapegoat, Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo, has been the only person to quit. Even though the chef is clearly at fault, the problem is much bigger than local enforcement. Much of the bogus information leaks come from a larger source: the Texas Department of Public Safety, which falls directly under Abbot’s jurisdiction.
The fall began on May 27, just three days after the massacre. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas DPS, told a grieving town that the police had made a serious “mistake”. The original narrative that law enforcement reacted quickly suddenly broke.
The reality was that while the students and teachers needed immediate medical attention, the police stayed behind waiting for shields and reinforcements. According to a report from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, the reason for the massive back-to-school delay is that officers believed the active shooter stage was over and the situation would enter a barricaded stalemate. Yet there was no evidence to back up these claims and even if there was, the police are told they are behind innocent civilians in the hierarchical list of priorities.
Additionally, when a combination of federal agents, police, and county deputies prepared to enter the classroom the shooter was in, they were unable due to an allegedly missing key situation. The group was only able to enter the room after a member of staff brought them a key. According to McCraw, the classroom doors in rooms 112 and 111 were never “secured”, as there was no way to lock the doors from the inside.
More recently, a report based on the Texas Department of Public Safety claimed that a local Uvalde officer was lucky enough to shoot the shooter before he even entered the building. Shortly thereafter, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughin issued a statement denying this information.
“The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT) report does not give a complete and accurate account of what happened at Robb Elementary School,” McLaughlin said.
While this contradictory narrative persists, it seems likely that some of the responsible parties are lying and others are doing their best to obfuscate and conceal – each new piece of information tends to introduce new questions and confusion.
After weeks of local and state agencies denying most requests for disclosure, the chairman of a Texas House committee investigating the Uvalde school shooting said Tuesday he would challenge a prosecutor local district office and would release a video of the interior of Robb Elementary School to the public.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Lubbock Republican Rep. Dustin Burrows said on Twitter that he plans to show the more than hour-long video to families of the victims before releasing it to the public on Sunday.
The 77-minute video was obtained and released Tuesday by Austin American-Statesman and KVUE. The disturbing footage shows in detail dozens of sworn, local, state and federal officers — heavily armed, wearing body armor, with helmets, some with protective shields — walking back and forth in the hallway, some dragging their weapons to the classroom, texting, talking on the phone, and even getting hand sanitizer, none of them can muster the courage to order the lot into the classroom and protect the children locked inside with the shooter.
So much for the good guy with a gun eclipsing the bad guy narrative that Republicans always preach, it certainly didn’t help Uvalde’s victims. More than an hour must have passed for a trained, protected good guy to stop the untrained villain… and only after the villain had already brutally slaughtered 19 innocent children with 100 rounds of his AR-15 rifle.
Will watching this video provide the answers the people of Uvalde and the State of Texas desperately need? Even if the Uvalde school shooting is clarified and people are held accountable, the precedent for what happened in the tiny southwestern Texas county will perpetually tarnish the reputation of law enforcement. order of the state and instilled a culture of mistrust among communities and heads of state all over the Lone Star. State.
“The people of Uvalde are angry,” said State Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents the small town. “They want answers. They distrust law enforcement. The credibility of law enforcement is at stake,” he said. “They’re good people, but they just want honesty, man.”
Last Sunday, some 500 protesters gathered in Uvalde to march for the lives stolen from their community. Families of the victims wore custom-made matching t-shirts to commemorate the unthinkable. The demonstrators carried signs reading: “Bullets are not school supplies”, “You don’t need a gun to be powerful” and “Listen to their cries”. They chanted: “Not one more child” and “Que queremos? Justice ! Cuándo? Ahora!” (What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!) as the sun went down.
AJ Martinez, one of the children who survived the attack, said: “Right now I don’t feel safe anywhere. … I don’t want anyone to have to go through what my family and friends, or the community, went through.