My heart breaks

I have done my best since the Uvalde shooting to wait and see what the investigation showed. It’s been difficult, especially when, from the start, it became clear the head of the school district’s police force did little, if anything, to fulfill his role as incident commander or to take responsibility for what was–and was not–done. Yesterday’s release of the video taken from outside cameras, body cams and interior security cams only drives home the point that the police response to the situation left one hell of a lot to be desired.

It is chilling to watch the shooter enter the school building with the overlay of the 9-1-1 call from a teacher about what was happening before yelling for the children to run. It is infuriating to see the cops hanging back for more than an hour before doing anything. My anger went through the roof to see officers on their cellphones after hearing Pete Arrendondo, the chief of the school district’s police force, saying the reason he didn’t communicate with those on the outside because cellphone service in the building is spotty at best.

Hey, Chief, why didn’t you send one or more of those officers standing around waiting for you to give the order to breach the room outside to talk to whoever the hell you thought was in command of the scene? By the way, why in the hell would you think anyone else was in command when you hadn’t talked to them?

You can watch the video here. I warn you, it isn’t easy to take, especially not if you know good cops who would have been the first to volunteer to go through the door to protect those babies and their teachers.

But I’m also angry right now and not at the cops. I’m angry at the person who leaked the video. I’m angry at the news sites that decided to publish it. Before you get on your soapbox, it’s not because they released the video. It’s the timing of it.

The video was going to be shown this weekend to the families of those students and teachers wounded and killed in the attack. They deserved to be the first to see it. THEY are the ones to suffer the loss and heartache, the fear and anger caused by the shooting. They have been lobbying for the release of the video and for a full explanation for what happened since that terrible day. They did not deserve to be blindsided by media outlets trying to be the first to publish the videos so they got the ratings and advertising revenue.

The leaker of the video and the media did a disservice to those families. As I write this post, I’m watching the reactions of some of those parents. They are angry. They are heartbroken. Even though the video did not include the cries and shouts of their children as they were terrorized, assaulted and murdered by the shooter, you still see the cops loitering in the corridor. There’s a fist bump. There’s one calmly using hand sanitizer. There are minutes of video of them sheltering down the corridor from the classrooms where the shooter took position. But you do hear the gunshots. So many gunshots. You can imagine the horror those children and teachers felt.

Now imagine the pain, the heartache, the anger those parents felt. Not just to have to face audio evidence of what their loved ones went through but to see the lack of response by those they trusted to keep them safe.

I’m not sure Uvalde will be able to recover from this, at least not for a very long time. Trust has been broken.

Watching the video, hearing the gunshots ringing out on multiple occasions, I have one question for Arrendondo: How in the ever-living hell could you not have seen this as an active shooter situation?

My thoughts and prayers go out, again, to the people of Uvalde. The failures that happened that day run deep. The school district had not taken simple steps like making sure classroom doors could be locked from them inside. The cops did not respond according to active shooting training. The shooter did not get the help he so obviously needed before taking this reprehensible action. His parents carry their own load of blame in this, even if they can’t or won’t see it. But, the majority of the failure rests, in my opinion, squarely on the shoulders of Pete Arrendondo and his lack of leadership, his continuing imitation of an ostrich–or mayby Nessie since we see the Loch Ness monster more often than we have him since the shooting.

My only question is how many of those involved in the decision making process that day will continue to hold their law enforcement licenses once everything is said and done (not to mention their jobs)?

Featured Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

Comments

  1. why is anyone surprised? there was plenty of video evidence at the time of the shooting and shortly there after, that they had fucked up willingly, willfully and by the numbers. Evidence that they all and I do mean ALL of them, should have been beheaded on live international television and their heads stacked upon school grounds. As a lesson and samadh to the dead children they FAILED and in that failure…aided and abetted in the slaughter of.
    “there’s a widow in sleepy Chester who weeps for her only son. there’s a grave on the pabeng river, a grave that the burmans shun; and there’s Subadar Prag Tewarri who tells how the work was done”

    1. Wolfie, little about the video surprised me. Well, maybe seeing the cop use the hand sanitizer did. Nor am I really surprised by what the media did. We’ve seen how it puts ratings and advertising dollars head of everything else more than once.

  2. “the reason he didn’t communicate with those on the outside because cellphone service in the building is spotty at best.”

    Why were they not able to communicate via radio?

    I remember back in the 80’s when my mother was a police dispatcher, if her officer’s needed to “talk” to an officer from another jurisdiction about something – like a pursuit – she would relay the message through her base station.

    When I was in uniform in the 90’s our radios had multiple channel, we could switch over to a shared channel and talk directly to a unit in another jurisdiction.

    Have we learned nothing from 9/11? Or have we forgotten what little we did learn?

    Communication is key to everything in the 1st responder world.

    1. Wyldkat, Arrendondo initially said he didn’t use his cellphone because of the lousy reception and he didn’t take his radio because of the whip antenna on it. He was afraid it would get in his way if he had to run. Of course, there’s also the fact he had dozens of officers inside the building who were doing nothing but twiddling their thumbs, texting, making calls, fist bumping and using hand sanitizer. He could have sent one of them out, but didn’t. BTW, my mom asked a good question this morning. If he couldn’t call out for help or for clarification of who was in charge, how did the EMT know to come inside?

  3. a friend of a friend, a marine, made excuses for the cops. ‘ well..they didn’t have the training for this. To handle this. Marines? marines do” which is a LIE there is video, posted by the goddamn cops in the department itself of them doing training for this kind of situation BEFORE it fucking happened. So don’t sit there and tell me they weren’t trained for it. That’s bullshit. Also since when do marines train to handle school shooters sunshine?
    He might have meant trained to run towards the fight, not away from it, but that comment still rubbed me the wrong way so bad. Good that comment pissed me off so bad. probably a good thing I’m still banned for another week and a half. Or I’d have told that marine what he could do with that opinion

    1. Wolfie, I had someone say basically the same thing and then back down when I showed them how the cops in question had received the training not that long ago. What really gripes me, however, is Arrendondo saying he didn’t take his radio with him because the antenna might get in the way if he had to run and he didn’t use his cellphone because of spotty service–which apparently no one else had a problem with, including the teacher or students who called 9-1-1.

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