Incompetence, cowardice of local police in spotlight following Uvalde school tragedy

The Uvalde, Texas school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead is an event that has transfixed and horrified the nation, and sadly, as the facts behind the tragedy continue to unfold, the picture being painted is one of inexcusable incompetence and blatant dereliction of duty that likely cost additional lives, as John Daniel Davidson of The Federalist writes.

In the hours and days following the incident itself, a series of different, often contradictory accounts have been brought forth by local and federal authorities, and with each passing day, the story of what truly occurred last Tuesday appears more and more devastating.

It was revealed during a jaw-dropping Friday press conference, for instance, that more than an hour elapsed between the start of the shooting spree and the moment when federal Border Patrol agents defied orders from local police and stormed into the school to eliminate the threat and end the siege.

Indeed, numerous police officers stood amassed in a school hallway, making no effort to breach the classroom containing young students as well as the gunman, despite 911 calls from those inside frantically requesting assistance.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, the commander in charge at the scene that day made an error in judgment, believing that the shooter was barricaded in the aforementioned classroom, police were no longer dealing with an active shooter situation, that there was no remaining threat to children, and therefore there was no need to immediately breach the door.

“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, Period,” McCraw admitted, also stating that the on-scene commander was Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief – someone who has not spoken publicly since Tuesday.

As the New York Post reports, an investigation is now underway to determine whether Arredondo even had a police radio in his possession at the time he made the fateful determination that officers should stand down rather than storm in and confront the shooter.

If Arredondo was not equipped with a radio, that fact could provide some insight as to why he decided to prevent officers from neutralizing the shooter at the very same time 911 calls were coming in from students inside the classroom, who reported that while there were multiple individuals already dead, others remained alive.

Given anguished reports of panicked parents pleading for police to take action and the apparent unwillingness of local law enforcement to fulfill their moral duty regardless of personal risk, Davidson aptly argues that “[a]t the very least, McCraw and the other top law enforcement offiiclas need to have clear answers about what happened, and why, the next time they get in front of the cameras. If they don’t, they’d better be drafting their letters of resignation right now.”