The horror surrounding the massacre of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas just got worse with confirmed information that the police waited more than forty minutes before entering the school and killing the 18 year old murderer. One mother who drove to the school from 40 miles away, arrived and was detained and handcuffed for insisting on going inside to rescue her two children. She was then unhandcuffed and moved away from the crowd, jumped the fence and ran inside the school and retrieved her two kids.
This event is more than a black eye for the police. There are three possible explanations–cowardice, incompetence or slaves to doctrine. I think the explanation is “slaves to doctrine” coupled with incompetence. In an ideal world, police confronted with an active shooter will call immediately on a SWAT team. There was no SWAT team in Uvalde, Texas. Instead of improvising and conducting their own assault, the police chose to sit back and wait. Inexcusable.
This is not Monday morning quarterbacking. Police are supposed to be trained in crisis response. Yes, having a SWAT team and/or hostage negotiator is the preferred option. But when SWAT is not available the police have a responsibility to put their lives at risk to stop the shooter and save the children and faculty. That is why they carry pistols. It appears none of the police on scene had a long gun (i.e. an AR-15 or M-4). I doubt that is true. Given the number of local police, Department of Public Security and Border Patrol officers at the seen, at least one of them had a long gun in the trunk of their vehicle.
The School Resource Officer (SRO) on scene failed to stop the shooter and was wounded as the killer entered the school. I am curious to know whether or not this SRO was trained in defensive and tactical shooting. Going to a gun range and shooting at paper targets while standing behind a shooting bench is a waste of time and ammunition in preparing for this type of situation. A SRO must be trained to draw from a holster while under stress and accurately hit a target ten yards away in less than three seconds. The training also should include learning how to move while shooting and landing accurate shots. The SRO also must know how to identify and use cover (i.e, a wall or column or barrier that can stop a bullet). A properly trained SRO should be required to shoot accurately from cover as part of the qualification course of fire.
This kind of training is something every SRO should do at least once a month. If you wait to learn this skills until the first shots are fired, you are likely to wind up wounded or dead. The reality is that the majority of SROs in the country probably have had no such training.
I realize Uvalde is a small town and probably did not allocate much funding to training police much less School Resource Officers. Let me remind you what a trained security officer can do. This incident took place at White Settlement, Texas in December 2019. A guy showed up at a local church and started shooting. Note that barely three seconds pass between the killer’s first shot and the return fire by the security guard at the back of the church. If you focus on the left side of the clip you will see the security guard draw and fire. One shot to the head of the assailant ended the threat.