credit: google maps

“One of the most striking proofs of the personal existence of Satan…is found in the fact, that he has so influenced the minds of multitudes in reference to his existence and doings, as to make them believe he does not exist.”     William Ramsey

Things are moving fast in this case, gentle readers.  We begin with this surprising, but hopeful, admission:   

Nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classrooms during this week’s attack on a Texas elementary school for more than 45 minutes before agents used a master key to open a door and confront a gunman, authorities said Friday.

The on-site commander believed the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was barricaded in a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde during Tuesday’s attack and that the children were not at risk, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said at a news conference.

If this is accurate, what the f***?!   No one present had the wits to find a crowbar or a key?!  The fire department was present.  All fire departments have purpose-designed door breaching tools.  No one thought to get one of those?!  It now appears the “barricade” was nothing more than a locked classroom door, and this formidable obstacle stymied the police for “more than 45 minutes?!”

‘He was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize’ to get into the classroom, McCraw said.

‘Of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision,’ he said.

Perhaps the occasional, continuing gunshots from inside the classroom might have been an indication?

McCraw said U.S. Border Patrol agents eventually used a master key to open the locked door of the classroom where they confronted and killed Ramos, who killed 19 students and two teachers.

McCraw said there was a barrage of gunfire shortly after Ramos entered the classroom where they killed Ramos but that shots were ‘sporadic’ for much of the 48 minutes while officers waited outside the hallway. He said investigators do not know if or how many children died during those 48 minutes.

Throughout the attack, teachers and children repeatedly called 911 asking for help, including a girl who pleaded: ‘Please send the police now,’ McCraw said.

Contrast that with this example of proper police procedure and the courage expected of all police officers: 

Father and off-duty Border Patrol agent Jacob Albarado was sitting in a barber’s chair when the Robb Elementary School attack commenced and he grabbed the barber’s shotgun and ran into the school to save his daughter.

The New York Post reports that Albarado was in the barber’s chair when his wife texted and told him there was an ‘active shooter’ in the school.

Albarado grabbed the barber’s shotgun, entered the school and went to the wing of the building where his daughter was in class.

He told the New York Times, ‘I’m looking for my daughter, but I also know what wing she’s in, so I start clearing all the classes in her wing.’

Two officers, pistols drawn, provided cover for Albarado as he cleared the wing while two other officers ‘guided children out on the sidewalk.’

Albarado finally found his daughter. He said he hugged her and then kept helping other children move to safety.

A number of independent news sources have confirmed some unknown number of officers entered the building(s) to rescue their own children.  It’s a virtual certainty those officers, like Albarado, also rescued as many other children as they could.  As the map at the top of this article reveals, Robb Elementary School is a single story complex with several separate buildings, most loosely connected by a covered walkway.  This sort of school construction is common in the warmer states, but is a nightmare for the police when responding to a school attack.  However, in this case, there was apparently no doubt exactly where the killer was.  He apparently entered, and remained throughout, in a single classroom, or two connected classrooms, until he was killed.

Paula Bolyard at PJ Media has what appears to be the best general timeline to date:  

1101: the killer called a girl he met online in Germany to tell her he loved her.

1120: local police got a call of a crash and someone in body armor carrying a rifle.

1121: the killer texted the girl to tell her he shot his grandmother and was going to “shoot up” an elementary school.

1128: police got the first 911 call about the crash.  The killer, driving his grandmothers truck, apparently drove through a guardrail into a ditch, destroying the suspension.  For the next 12 minutes the killer, without result, fired at two people in the parking lot of a nearby funeral home.

1140: He hopped the four foot fence surrounding the school and entered a west facing, unlocked door, unopposed.  We now know there was no school resource officer present, but we do not know if one was assigned that school.

1143: the school went on lockdown, which is a rapid response.

1144: officers enter the school. We don’t know where they entered or their exact numbers.  “Official” accounts are unclear and contradictory, but it appears the killer fired at them and they retreated.  We don’t know if they returned fire.

‘Officers are there, the initial officers that received gunfire,’ he [DPS spokesman Escalon] explained. ‘They don’t make entry initially because of the gunfire they’re receiving, but we have officers calling for additional resources, anybody that’s in the initial area: tactical teams, we need equipment, we need specialty equipment, we need body armor. We need precision riflemen [and] negotiators. So during this time that they’re making those calls to bring in help—to solve this problem and stop it immediately—they’re also evacuating personnel. When I say personnel, students, teachers. There’s a lot going on. A complex situation.’

1235: Border Patrol tactical—SWAT—team arrives.

1250: the shooter is killed.

Let’s be absolutely clear about this: since Columbine (04-20-99), police practice at school attacks has universally been that the first officer on the scene, and every other officer arriving, immediately enters the school, hunts down and kills the attacker or attackers.  There is no waiting, no “containing” while waiting for a SWAT team and police administrators to arrive, establish a command post, make and execute a plan.  There is no waiting for a negotiator, because school attackers have no political goals or demands; they only want to rack up as big a body count as possible.  Their goal is to become famous, to be remembered, and most plan to commit suicide.  While police try to negotiate, people are bleeding out and more are being shot.  For the police, there must be only immediate action, because every second wasted is potentially another dead child or teacher.  If this means officers risk, even lose, their lives, that’s what they signed up for.  Any officer who doesn’t realize that, who is unwilling to risk their life to protect little children, should turn in their badge.  They’re not fit to wear it.

Isiah 6:8:  ‘Then I head the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’  ‘Then I said, Here am I.  Send me!’

Does this sound harsh? Uncompromising?  Does it ask too much of our men and women in law enforcement?  As a USAF police officer, and a civilian police officer, I lived it.  I was willing to give my life for people I didn’t know then, just as I am now.  I ran to the sound of gunfire and willingly entered potentially dangerous situations.  That’s what it means to be a guardian, a protector, one of the few.  This is partly why D/S/Cs so hate the police: they see their own craven weakness, their lack of character, even evil, reflected in the example of better men and women, so they try to destroy the police, regardless of the consequences to the favored victim groups they pretend to love, and of course, to the public generally.

In situations of this type, when high-ranking officer/administrators show up, much time and effort is expended deciding who gives the orders.  The more egos involved, the more time lost.  Officers with skill and initiative are not allowed to use either, unless and until an order comes from on high.  From photos, media accounts and official statements, present were:

The Uvalde School District Police

Uvalde City Police

The local Sheriff’s Office

The Border Patrol

The DEA

The FBI

US Marshalls

The Texas DPS (state troopers)

Texas Rangers, part of the DPS, were almost surely present

SWAT teams from the Border Patrol and the San Antonio PD

Obviously, we don’t know exactly when representatives of those agencies arrived, their ranks or numbers, but there was likely political/turf wrangling that did not encourage rapid, intelligent decision-making.  According to the DPS, the decision devolved to the Chief of the school district police.  I know nothing of his background, but it’s reasonable to think he had little or no experience in responding to school attacks.  School attacks remain, thankfully, rare.  Very few police executives have any practical experience.

How rare?  This rare:  

The fundamental point to be made about mass school shootings is that they are extraordinarily rare. If we use the FBI’s definition of a ‘mass shooting’ incident, i.e., one where four or more people are killed, this is the pattern of mass school shootings in the 21st century:

2022: 1
2021: 1
2020: 0
2019: 0
2018: 2
2017: 1
2016: 0
2015: 1
2014: 1
2013: 1
2012: 2
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 1
2007: 1
2006: 1
2005: 1
2004: 0
2003: 0
2002: 0
2001: 0
2000: 0

So mass school shootings are rare, a total of 14 incidents in more than 22 years. In a nation of 320 million, many more people die from bee stings, lighting strikes, and so on; yet, for understandable reasons, school shootings command national attention.

How can the number be so low?  Hasn’t the media reported on scores of school attacks?  No, they haven’t, not actual school attacks, as I noted in last year’s school attacks articles.  Even NPR, among the most leftist organizations in the country, did minimal research and discovered most of the supposed attacks were nothing of the kind.  Some were nothing more than reports of someone potentially firing a shot on or near school grounds when school was not in session.  Others were simply made up.

I’m certain there were capable, brave officers present who were as frustrated as the parents at being forced to do nothing.  Commonly, higher-ranking people giving orders have little or no experience in such events.  The smarter among them ask those who do—lower ranking, experienced officers—for advice.  The dumber, who are usually more numerous, do not.  The smarter expend a great deal of time gathering information and advice and making a decision.  The dumber spend a great deal of time dithering and figuring out how to cover their asses and sometimes make a decision, sometimes not.  Not to decide is to decide—to do nothing, to let a killer of children drive events to their conclusion.  In the meantime, innocents die.  We do not know exactly which prevailed in this case.  Apparently, a decision, or non-decision, was made to wait until a SWAT team, which apparently turned out to be the Border Patrol’s BORTAC team, arrived.

During that hour of waiting, various reports indicate the attacker was killing children and teachers; “sporadic” shots could clearly be heard. Apparently, there was some attempt or attempts to negotiate with the killer.  He apparently did not respond, which should have told officers, based on decades of experience with school killers, his intentions. It should also have immediately driven an aggressive police response.

Final Thoughts:  It seems officers, early on, knew the killer had a rifle and may have been wearing body armor.  If we can take at face value official statements the initial officers called for body armor, specialized equipment, snipers and negotiators, does that indicate cowardice or reasoned procedure?  Could that have been ass covering, an excuse for high-ranking officers to explain away their waiting an hour while children died?

We cannot assume every agency, every officer there, had been comprehensively trained—or trained at all—in the most effective school attacker procedures and tactics.  As I’ve so often written, most police officers are not expert, even proficient, with arms or tactics.  

A single killer armed with a rifle, even with body armor, is not an impregnable obstacle.  It now appears the killer was wearing only a load bearing vest, but no ballistic panels.  Of course, the officers could not have known that at the time.  At the kinds of distances one would encounter inside a school building, multiple officers armed with handguns are not presumptively at a tactical disadvantage.  With an armored suspect, one shoots for the lower abdomen, legs and head.  With multiple officers, fire and maneuver—keeping the killer pinned down–should get them into a position to kill the shooter.  That’s apparently what Border Patrol Officer Albarado and two other officers did as they cleared part of the school and rescued children.  Of course one would prefer a rifle or submachine gun, and body armor capable of stopping rifle rounds in such situations, but where the lives of children are at risk, you work, as intelligently as you can, with what you have.  Obviously, I wasn’t there, but the necessary and well known tactics are universal, and apparently, were never employed, even while officers, and desperate parents outside the school kept hearing gunshots, each one likely killing or wounding a child or teacher.

Perhaps the officers present honestly did as well as they could under the circumstances, but even knowing as little as we currently know, that does not appear to be the case.

We can take some solace this early into events, that the head of the DPS has opted for honesty.  This may mean we’ll eventually get a complete and accurate timeline, and an honest accounting of why things went so wrong.  We should not, however, expect politicians, local, state and federal, to do anything effective to deter future attacks, or to ensure effective, immediate responses to them.

One more heart-breaking note.  One of the two teachers killed was Irma Garcia.  Within hours of her death, her husband Joe, died of a heart attack, leaving alone their four children.

More on this next week, likely Tuesday.