It’s been nearly two weeks since police in Texas stood outside an elementary school fearing for their lives as children and teachers were being slaughtered inside by an 18-year-old man with an AR-15.
But the cops have yet to admit they were too scared to go after the gunman.
Instead, they have come up with a myriad of excuses and deflections to justify their inactions, spinning and twisting the truth while digging themselves deeper into a scandal that has sparked both a state and federal investigation into what went wrong.
From the initial false narrative about their heroic response to the way they handcuffed and threatened parents trying to save their children, the police response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24 has become a case study on everything wrong with policing today, not to mention an argument for defunding the police which simply means reducing its budget by re-directing tax dollars elsewhere.
After all, the city of Uvalde spent 40 percent of its budget on the police department in recent years, according to Bloomberg News, only for the cops to stand around and do nothing during the state’s worst school shooting in history.
Also in recent years, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District doubled its budget for police officers and security measures like role-playing active shooter drills during school hours, expanding its department from four officers to six officers to serve 4,000 students across eight schools.
The expansion also brought in Pete Arrendondo as police chief for the school district, a veteran with almost three decades of law enforcement experience who supposedly has extensive training in how to respond to active shooters.
Arrendondo, who was the commanding officer responding to the shooting, made the decision to not confront the shooter as the gunman continued his rampage.
Meanwhile, more than 140 law enforcement officers from 14 agencies, including local, state and federal, remained outside the school and classroom for more than an hour, blindly following the chief’s misguided orders to not confront the shooter, choosing to let children die rather than break rank.
Yet we are expected to believe that pouring more tax dollars into policing is supposed to keep us safer?
The latest revelation is that Chief Arredondo did not have a police radio when he arrived at the scene minutes after the shooting began which led to communication problems with dispatch and presumably why he did not hear the dispatch reports of 911 calls from terrified students over the next hour.
As incompetent as that sounds, it is why he treated the incident as a “hostage-barricaded situation” instead of an active shooter situation, according to sources who spoke to the New York Times. And it is also why police tried calling the gunman by phone in the hopes of negotiating with him to surrender .
But that plan failed when the gunman did not answer the phone.
Instead, Salvador Ramos kept shooting while at least two students kept calling 911, begging for police to protect them.
It was only after an hour into the massacre that a group of officers, mainly Border Patrol Agents, defied the chief’s orders and entered the school, shooting and killing the gunman after entering the locked classroom with a janitor’s key.
But by then, Ramos had killed 19 children and two adults despite cops arriving only minutes after the teen had entered the school.
It did not take long for the Police PR Spin Machine to start spewing lies, claiming at first that a school district cop confronted the gunman before the teen entered the school, but the officer was left wounded after an exchange of gunfire.
But the truth was the school cop drove right past the shooter, ignoring him altogether, confronting instead a teacher outside the school who was not armed as the shooter entered the school to begin his massacre.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also contributed to the lies, informing journalists on the day of the shooting that the police response was swift and heroic, “running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives.”
But the truth is police entered the school through the same doorway only minutes after the shooter but ended up retreating after two city cops were grazed by bullets during an exchange of gunfire.
In other words, Chief Arrendondo based his decision to retreat on “officer safety,” the training protocol that prioritizes the safety of officers over the safety of citizens, despite the long-held myth that cops are heroes willing to sacrifice their lives for citizens.
U.S. Supreme Court Decision
The U.S. Supreme Court, in fact, ruled in 2005 that law enforcement officers have no Constitutional obligation to keep citizens safe from danger.
And that not only became clear after the Uvalde school shooting but also earlier this week in Arizona when a group of Tempe police officers watched a man drown without trying to save him despite the man begging for help.
It also became clear following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018 after Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scott Peterson, who was the school resource officer that day, remained outside for almost an hour while 17 people were being massacred inside the school.
Peterson, however, is still facing 11 charges, including felony child neglect, and is scheduled to go to trial this fall but a conviction appears to be a long shot considering the 2005 Supreme Court ruling.
The Myth of “Protect and Serve”
It appears as if citizens from across the country were under the impression that cops were required to “protect and serve,” judging by the outrage on social media over the lackadaisical police response to the Uvalde school shooting.
But that is nothing more a marketing phrase created by the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1950s which was then adopted by other agencies across the country as well as popularized by Hollywood TV cop shows. It was never standard policy and it never will be.
It is part of the same Police PR Spin Machine that has indoctrinated people in this country into placing cops on a pedestal while believing the more money we spend on cops, the safer we will be.
But history shows that the more cops we hire, the more we must lower hiring standards which leads to corruption and abuse as it did within the Miami Police Department in the early 1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol in the early 1990s and the Baltimore Police Department in the early 2000s.
Cops in Schools
History also shows there is a higher rate of school resource officers arrested for sexual abuse compared to cops who don’t work the schools, who already commit a much higher rate of sex abuse compared to other professions.
In fact, a Buffalo News investigation determined at least one law enforcement officer in this country was caught in a case of sexual abuse every five days during a ten-year period between 2005 and 2015, a rate that was probably much higher considering most cases of sex abuse tend to go unreported.’
Then there is the school to prison pipeline which according to studies, shows that placing cops in schools results in more children being criminally charged over incidents that used to be handled by school administrators, especially Black children.
Yet after every school shooting since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, pandering politicians on both sides of the political aisle call for an increase in school resource officers, only to continue seeing an increase in school shootings, along with an increase in the criminalization and sexual abuse of students.
So it should be obvious that blind allegiance to police along with turning our schools into prisons is not the solution to a problem that is not going away anytime soon.