uvalde police school shooting
Courtesy Austin American-Statesman
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By Jon Miltimore

The gunman walked into Robb Elementary School almost casually.

Minutes earlier he had crashed a vehicle near the school, spraying three bullets at a pair of men who approached the scene to see if he was okay. After walking into the school, AR-15 in hand, the gunman takes a right turn down a hallway. From a different hallway, a child sees the gunman. The child pauses, watches, and then jumps at a roar of gunfire. He darts away.

Less than three minutes later, police officers begin to fill the corridor, weapons drawn.

The scene described comes from new video footage obtained by The Statesman and KVUE News on the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 22 people dead and 18 injured. (Editor’s note: the footage, which is embedded below, does NOT show anyone being shot.)

The 77-minute video shows that police were on the scene minutes after the shooter entered the school, but they quickly retreated after receiving a burst of gunfire. As KVUE notes, over the next hour little is done, even as more and more police arrive.

“In the video, 13 rifles can be seen arriving in the hallway in the first 30 minutes of the incident. The first shield arrives in under 20 minutes. Dozens of law enforcement officers can be seen in the hallway, along with equipment. No officers make entry into the classroom for more than 70 minutes.”

The tragic events in Uvalde have naturally sparked both outcry and discussion. On good and evil. On mental health. On courage and cowardice.

Above all else, however, Uvalde has reignited the debate over gun control.

Following the shooting, and heated demands for new gun control laws, lawmakers in DC passed federal gun legislation for the first time in nearly 30 years, imposing tougher background checks on younger buyers and encouraging states to impose “red flag” laws.

This is peculiar, because the events at Robb Elementary School actually undermined one of the key arguments used to argue for gun control.

As Richard W. Stevens pointed out in a FEE article more than two decades ago, a common—and false—belief underpins gun control ideology.

“Private citizens don’t need firearms because the police will protect them from crime,” wrote Stevens, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and author of Dial 911 and Die.

This belief, Stevens noted, is false for two reasons. The first reason is the most obvious one, which was on full display in Uvalde. Police can’t protect everyone from crime, and rarely do. The primary purpose of police is to respond to crimes after they occur, and data suggests even this they do not do very well.

“In reality, about 11% of all serious crimes result in an arrest, and about 2% end in a conviction,” writes Shima Baughman, professor of criminal law at the University of Utah, in The Conversation.

Second, Stevens notes, the government generally and the police specifically have no legal obligation to protect people from criminal attacks in most localities. In fact, they don’t even have to show up, Stevens explains.

“It’s not just that the police cannot protect you. They don’t even have to come when you call. In most states the government and police owe no legal duty to protect individual citizens from criminal attack. The District of Columbia’s highest court spelled out plainly the ‘fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.’”

The “no duty” rule was established in a particularly gruesome landmark case.

“Just before dawn on March 16, 1975, two men broke down the back door of a three-story home in Washington, D.C., shared by three women and a child. On the second floor one woman was sexually attacked. Her housemates on the third floor heard her screams and called the police. The women’s first call to D.C. police got assigned a low priority, so the responding officers arrived at the house, got no answer to their knocks on the door, did a quick check around, and left. When the women frantically called the police a second time, the dispatcher promised help would come—but no officers were even dispatched. The attackers kidnapped, robbed, raped, and beat all three women over 14 hours.”

The horrifying events were made more horrifying in the legal aftermath. The victims sued the city and the police department for negligence to protect them (or even respond to the second call).

“The court held that government had no duty to respond to their call or to protect them,” Stevens writes. “Case dismissed.”

The court’s response was not unique. Most states have similar laws, Stevens notes, and some are quite explicit. A statute in Kansas precludes citizens from suing the government for negligence in police protection, while a California law states “neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for failure to establish a police department or otherwise provide police protection service.”

While police may not be obligated to help people in need, it’s fair to assume that most want to help people. Unfortunately, by its very nature, bureaucracy tends to frustrate the ability of police departments to effectively do so.

An example of this can also be seen in Uvalde. A New York Times description of Uvalde Police Chief Pedro Arredondo’s decision making process reveals how bureaucratic processes and red tape appear to have cost lives.

“[Arredondo] ordered the assembled officers to hold off on storming the two adjoining classrooms where the gunman had already fired more than 100 rounds at the walls, the door and the terrified fourth-graders locked inside with him, the state police said. (…)

“Officers were told, under Chief Arredondo’s direction, that the situation had evolved from one with an active shooter — which would call for immediately attacking the gunman, even before rescuing other children — to one with a barricaded subject, which would call for a slower approach, officials said.

“That appeared to be an incorrect assessment, according to the state police director, Steven McCraw: Gunfire could sporadically be heard inside the rooms, including on continuing 911 calls by the children.”

Police officers standing around debating protocols while a gunman in a nearby room executes children is both horrifying and mind-boggling to most people, but it perfectly illustrates the very real problems inherent in bureaucracies noted by economist Ludwig von Mises, who wrote about the inherent “slowness and slackness” pervasive in bureaucratic institutions.

On Tuesday, the Uvalde City Council accepted the resignation of Uvalde school district police chief Pedro Arredondo, who rightly stepped away from his position under pressure. But make no mistake: the lack of response by the Uvalde Police Department is a characteristic of bureaucracy itself, a problem that goes far beyond Arredondo’s leadership shortcomings.

The bottom line is that police usually have no obligation to protect individuals from crimes, and even if they do, they lack the ability to effectively do so. The idea that Americans can protect themselves just by calling 9-1-1 is simply not true, and the tragic events in Uvalde and countless other examples show this.

When they say you don’t need a firearm because the police will protect you, don’t believe it.


Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.

Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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  1. In Uvalde it looked like the procedure is to dial 9-1-1 then the local PD will show up and put a protective perimeter around the bad guy so he can do whatever he wants for the next hour.

    • RE: “The gunman walked into Robb Elementary School almost casually.”

      First and foremost…School personnel incompetence allowed the gunman to walk into Robb Elementary School almost casually.

      Funny how the finger pointers want to lay it all on the doorsteps of the police and give those at the tip of the spear a complete and total pass.

      Furthermore finger pointers…The bigger picture is…With an utter incompetent like Jim Crow Gun Control democRat joe at the helm America is a sitting duck like those defenseless children.

      • Teachers are not the tip of the spear, they do not have rifles, they do not have vests, they do not have bulletproof shields. They are not the ones expected to deal with a gunman, just like an officer is not expected to pull you over to grade your homework. The fact they spent more time restraining a mother that was trying to get to her kids while they stood back and waited 77 minutes is unforgiveable. The biggest picture is that we see soldiers running into fire to help their wounded brothers and we watch the police use hand sanitizer to be extra safe and not get and of those dangerous germs on them

    • RGP,

      Your comment, while containing an element of comedy, is tragically spot-on. And that is the absolutely infuriating aspect of that event. While I am not thrilled with police refusing to engage the attacker, I can potentially give them a pass if they got out of the way such that parents could take care of business. The fact that police refused to engage the attacker AND USED FORCE TO PREVENT PARENTS FROM TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS rises to the level of being a felony criminal accessory to the attacker.

      Every law enforcement officer who even implied that they would use force to stop parents from rescuing their children must go to prison for a very long time, just like you or I would go to prison for a very long time if you or I were accessories to more than a dozen murders.

      • This Uvalde disaster is a textbook example of why we need fewer gun control laws instead of more. Laws that make schools gun-free zones, actually make schools killing zones. I don’t mean that all teachers should be armed. But, if a teacher takes it upon himself or herself to arm themselves, they should be allowed to do so. If law enforcement agencies can’t keep us safe, it is our duty to take that responsibility ourselves. Common sense.

      • Then there are a lot of Liberal Progressive Democrats and Foolhardy Republicans that still haven’t learned that and most of them will have to learn it the hard way.

    • Missouri Mule,

      “no one is coming it’s up to us”

      As I stated above, the absolutely infuriating dimension to this horror was law enforcement officers actively using force to stop parents from rescuing their own children.

      I cannot see any other way of viewing this other than those law enforcement officers are accessories to the murder of those children and teachers.

      • U_S
        I totally agree. What would happen if the shooters parents stopped the cops from going in to kill their kid?
        By refusing to act and preventing persons ready to act from doing so.they are all guilty.
        Accessories to murder, unlawful restraint probably 20 or 30 more.

  2. that is a total oddity… as an ex police officer I know for a fact that a vast majority of those officers could not wait to shoot someone, especially a bad guy… most cops would have shot every round they had even if they missed…they were too many Chiefs on that scene and not enough Braves… Who in the hell are the guys doing all the hollering on the scene and holding back the responders ??…there are multiple different uniforms there…The The sheriff deputies could’ve overrode those police officers at any time!.. The sheriffs department is a higher ranking law-enforcement agency in the county! The deputies had communication with the sheriff!!.. The sheriff could’ve taken over the entire scene!!…If the command is deemed ineffective a higher agency could’ve easily taken over….

      • The sheriff is the highest ranking law-enforcement officer in any county… he most definitely could have took over!!

    • FIRST…. The police didn’t do “anything”, SECOND….the sheriff and his crew did didley squat (meaning nothing), THIRD….. it was a unit of the “Texas Border Patrol” who on their own after listing to radio traffic went there and were the ones that went in making the assault leaving the fucking candy ass police and sheriffs department back in the hallways picking their ass.

  3. Why is anyone surprised?
    The police followed orders and stood down in 2020. And allowed thousands of rioters to burn cities to the ground. And murder people where they stood.
    Disarm the police. There is no rationale or moral reason for the police to be carrying firearms. They should be issued only nightsticks and the training to use them.

    Repeal all the laws that prevent property owners from being able to kill dead on-sight anyone who tries to steal their private property. If teachers don’t want to carry guns? Then repeal all the laws that prevent parents from carrying guns onto school property. And allow parents to form a defensive perimeter around schools.

    Put rifle teams back in the schools. Start 2A education rights and responsibilities classes as well. The bible has great references they can use for this.

  4. There’s an error in the title. The word ‘revealed’ should be ’emphasizes’. Let us fall back to the old tried and true, ‘When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.’ And, the oft repeated, ‘You are your own first responder.’

    Rational people have always known that 911 is a fantasy. Less rational, less savvy, less intelligent, and less worldly people still enjoy the fantasy, but few, if any, TTAG regulars have fantasized in recent years.

    Over the past couple years, we have watched as BLM and Antifa have wrecked cities, and claimed lives. Calling 911 did little if any good for the victims of leftist violence.

    Be a good Boy Scout, and ‘Be Prepared’ to deal with your own emergencies. Then, call 911 for the cleanup crews and garbage disposal.

    • Slightly different bit on the last line I did enjoyed hearing “load your gun then call for help and see which one matters first” hopefully the second ends up being relevant first but when it’s not you at least have a say in how the next few moments go. Obviously if you are already loaded it’s even better/faster but local laws can get weird sometimes.

      • Not being a wise ass, but your gun(s) should always be loaded. Therefore the first step is to unload your gun thru the muzzle. Then you can think about other stuff, like dialing 911.

        • Not a wiseass comment at all, you are exactly right its just we still ignore Heller in several counties unless the firearm you retrieve is “holstered” when you wake up to retrieve it it can be a misdemeanor thanks to various safe storage laws and local regulations.

        • Calling 911 ain’t on the list.
          Unload gun
          Get keys for backhoe
          Ummm…. nevermind

  5. The COWARDS have learned NOTHING since Columbine!

    Hey stupid we don’t need you to set a perimeter. We need you to push through. You claim you are like the military no you aren’t. Stolen Valor!

    We have learned what COWARDS they are!

    How do you live with yourselves?

    • I remember active shooter training shortly after the Fort Hood “workplace violence” incident. Perimeter is to be set up AFTER the threat is neutralized and you need to start processing the crime scene/keeping late responders from getting involved in friendly fire. And special equipment is optional if you happen to have it in the trunk ready to go otherwise you have a perfectly good M9 to engage the dude with an AR and body armor with. Not the smartest training I ever had to do but it made sense given the scenario and my dumb ass signed up for MP.

    • It has been stated that General Patton once said, “Lead me, follow me or get the hell out of my way”.

      • My dad used that line a lot. Made me laugh when I read that it was in his voice. Thanks.

  6. “and about 2% end in a conviction,”

    And if they are not convicted they do not appear in stats like the FBI stats.

  7. As a father of a small child, this video is just horrifying. The editing note about muting the sound of the children screaming is absolutely haunting. Fuck these guys for hearing those children screaming and doing nothing: burn in hell.

  8. The argument will be that your situation won’t be so extreme so the cops will race to your aid faster.

    Or some such irrational cognitively dissonant nonsense.

  9. I’m a retired cop with 35+ years and this disgust me. I feel the State of Texas should decertify this entire Department and start over. That said I taught civilian self defense classes and my main point was if you have not seen someone in action do not depend on them for your own personal safety. That still stands and applies to anyone.

  10. When this happened I suggested we wait and see. Well, it looks like we’ve seen. Not long after Columbine there was a new doctrine. My boss sent me and another guy to learn it. (We were working with other guys from other agencies. This will be important). The basic doctrine was: First on the scene? Go in. Two arrive on the scene? Both go in. All the way in. Two and three man teams were, generally, not a problem. When multiagencies began to be involved more problems did too. Communication was the largest. Quickly followed by rank. You can read, “Who’s in charge?” I usually voted for the man on who’s ground we stood. Captains and majors, from other agencies who had no idea of resources available at our training site, insisted they new best. Understand, we were training on a live middle school campus. Force on force. I suggested we include the students in the training, but I was overruled. Anyway, we had midlevel guys from the agency that had jurisdiction. They knew where everything was. FDLE wanted an after action report as they were trying to develop a new SOP. I told them pretty much what I told you guys. I don’t know if it made a difference. I do know this. Nothing I saw on that video looked anything like what we were taught in that active shooter class.

  11. There is no duty to respond or protect by LEO in California, and in most of the rural areas the local deputy may be an hour away. So my plan of reaction to an invasion, even if the PD is only minutes away, is to grab a gun and tell the wife to call 911.

    • here, police have a duty. Its imposed on them in law.

      But yeah, leave it up to California to not provide protection for their citizens then want to disarm them so they can’t protect their selves.

  12. The Uvalde massacre (where cowardly cops waited 74 minutes before doing anything!) proved four things:

    1) Cops won’t protect kids, so school staff need to be armed. Cops don’t give a shit about kids’ lives, only about their own lives.

    2) So-called “assault weapons” bans are useless, because in 74 minutes, the Uvalde shooter could have killed all 22 people with a revolver, or a bolt-action rifle, or a pump-action, or a lever-action.

    3) Someone should’ve told the Uvalde Police there were donuts in that classroom, then they wouldn’t have waited 47 minutes! Never get between a cop and his donuts. If you ever get between the police and a donut shop, they’ll take you down!

    4) Cops are bullies and executioners when facing unarmed people, but cowards when faced with armed people. Cops have no problem shooting an unarmed man 90 times in the back (in Ohio last week), but when there’s an armed shooter actively killing kids they run away. When faced with an armed man killing kids, cops are such cowards that even though the cops had body armor, helmets, shields, and 13 rifles at least as good as the gunman’s, they still just stood back and literally washed their hands (with hand sanitizer) instead of doing (what we ASSUMED was) their job and saving children’s lives. Because we learned it’s not the police’s job to save lives; their only job (they think) is to get home safely to their own house, and they don’t care how many children die.

    And besides being cowards, the Uvalde cops were also bullies who spent that 74 minutes handcuffing mothers, tasering parents, pepper-spraying parents, and tackling parents, just because those mothers and fathers wanted to go into the Uvalde school and rescue their children, children those same bully police were refusing to lift a finger to save! Bullies and cowards at the same time, that’s Uvalde police (and many other police departments nationwide).

    • Someone, there were only a couple of doughnut shops in my county. None were open after 1800 hours, and none before 0600 hrs. Isn’t that when the general public visits a pastry shop? Find a job.

      • Most donut shops in Texas shut down at by noon at the latest and I’ve never seen a police officer in one here. I’ve never even seen a police car parked near one.

    • Someone
      The cops in Akron didn’t shoot walker in the back. Watch the videos. When that story all comes out, not that msm will tell it, walker was a pos that just never got caught, yet. Those cops followed their training and sop. And suicide by cop plays into it also but isn’t the whole story at all.

  13. Hmmmm……how many times can a gunman switch magazines in 77 minutes?? Kinda kills the purported rationale behind 10 round limit magazines.

    As proven in Uvalde, Lakeland, et el, bottom line……you are on your own….you are your own first responder. When kiddies are dialing for help, when the gunman is reloading, when seconds are critical, police may be only 77 minutes outside waiting, checking their phones, and applying hand sanitizer……you are on your own.

    Does that mean one can get the “First Responder” discounts where offered??? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  14. Every cop there who had a gun and didn’t use it to try saving children’s lives should now eat said gun. That’s the only honor they’ll ever earn.

  15. If they were informed that the shooter is suspected of being in possession of an SBR, I wonder if the police would have been more… assertive in this situation.

    • They po-leece are pathetically predictable in my suburb. Chase EZ targets and minor infractions to get those tickets. Ignore and cower at BlackLootersMurder. Don’t give a damn when fireworks practically blow up the hood. I won’t call you again for gunshots across the street. I’ll stay locked n loaded…worse than Uvalde? I am my own 1St responder.

  16. Its strange how the local police stand down during an active shooting but the FBI and ATF shoot a pregnant woman and her teenage son when some guy in the woods might have a sawed off shotgun.

    • No he did have a sawed off shotgunm, the ATF made sure of that.
      The gov owes Randy Weaver more then money.

  17. I just couldn’t be a cop anymore if I stood around waiting on orders to stop someone from killing kids.
    Theres not enough shame in the world for those guys.
    I think all of them should take the Nestea plunge.

  18. Never seen anything like it One guy stops to disinfect his fucking HANDS for gods sake and the guys with the ballistic shields take up the bloody REAR. Far too many police tthere and if they HAD opend fire they would no doubt have shot each other. As far as I could see most of them were reluctant HEROS indeed.
    We may not generally arm our police in the UK but those we do arm would have sent in no more than three Officers and the tOP guty would have been ther that’s for sure> Once our Armed Police are called in THEY are in charge and their Senior Officer becomes incident Commander until relieved He or she does NIOT have to wait for permission to act. That’s a ‘given’ once they are called in!

    • He had to wash off the proverbial blood.

      One of the very few times I might agree with you.

    • @Albert

      “As far as I could see most of them were reluctant HEROS indeed.”

      You didn’t see very far or well then.

      They showed up, and became ‘place holders’ in the incident, and then after a bit became ‘useless placeholders’ in the event, then after a lot more time became ‘useless’, then finally after the carnage had been going on for over an hour a few of them became ‘useful’.

      They were/are not heroes reluctant or otherwise.

  19. They should have never removed the audio. You want to know what true cowardice is. You actually have to work at being a coward if you can stand around and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate. Cowardly and evil to hear those children crying and dying and doing nothing about it.

  20. Uvalde is an example of the real world, not the utopia world that the Liberals live in. Violence has been around since the beginning of time. The horrible truth is that we are all responsible for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones. It is irresponsible to expect someone else to take on that responsibility. We send our precious children to schools expecting others to keep them safe. Uvalde should open everyone’s eyes to the reality of this world we live in. It doesn’t take a PHD or even a college education to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Home schooling may be the answer up until the 9th grade level.

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