MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Don’t Let Them Claim Uvalde’s Police Failure Was Just a Local Problem

Posted by M. C. on July 23, 2022

The man supposedly in charge of the Uvalde response, school district police chief Pete Arredondo, continues to make excuses and straight-up lie about the situation. Consider this version of reality coming out of Arredondo and his spokesman, as reported by the Texas Tribune:

https://mises.org/wire/dont-let-them-claim-uvaldes-police-failure-was-just-local-problem

One remarkable aspect of the coverage of the Uvalde shooting is how quickly the narrative has gone praising police heroics to exposing the law enforcement agents’ complete, total, and shameful failure. Simultaneously, police apologists’ excuses have repeatedly changed as well. 

Among these excuses has been the claim that the Uvalde police were just a small-town force and that with better funding—they always call for more funding—the police wouldn’t make these “mistakes.” It is also claimed that larger state and federal police personnel would never have the same problems.

Thanks to the  Texas Department of Public Safety’s report released this week, we now know that a majority of law enforcement officers at the Uvalde massacre were from state and federal agencies and that the total law enforcement personnel numbered a remarkable 376. Yet, even as these “first responders” continued to amass personnel and equipment, they chose to prioritize officer safety over children’s safety. 

Clearly, the excuses about an “underfunded” and undersized local police force hold no water. The presence of dozens of well-armed state troopers and federal officers did not lead to immediate action against a single untrained gunman. This was a systemwide failure of law enforcement. Yet, unfortunately, the narrative over the behavior of law enforcement at Uvalde has zeroed in on the idea that it’s all entirely the fault of a small number of local officials. 

Nearly Four Hundred Law Enforcement Officers at Uvalde

This was no matter of a small police force being overwhelmed by events. According to the Texas Tribune, the state’s report on Uvalde 

reveals for the first time that the overwhelming majority of responders were federal and state law enforcement: 149 were U.S. Border Patrol, and 91 were state police—whose responsibilities include responding to “mass attacks in public places.” There were 25 Uvalde police officers and 16 sheriff’s deputies. [School district police chief Pete] Arredondo’s school police force accounted for five of the officers on the scene. The rest of the force was made up of neighboring county law enforcement, U.S. marshals and federal Drug Enforcement Administration officers.

In total, 376 law enforcement officers were at the scene. 

Not all of these officers were present from early on in the incident. But within minutes, armed police officers showed up and choose to not take action against the gunman. Soon, more weapons and protective gear arrived. And police still chose to do nothing. As victims bled to death in the classroom with the gunman, dozens of federal, state, and local personnel were standing around in a grim “comedy” of errors. No one took responsibility or took action for more than an hour. By far, the most enthusiastic action from police could be witnessed in how officers harassed, attacked, cuffed and generally mistreated the parents of dying children at the scene. 

So, let’s dispense with the claims that the reason the police stood around in Uvalde was because this was a police force of country bumpkins who “lacked training.” It took the presence of nearly three hundred state and federal officers for officers on the scene to take action—more than an hour later. This was against a single untrained gunman with a weapon no more powerful than what the police themselves possessed. 

Excuses and Lies 

See the rest here

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