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Tuesday, May 24, 2022, America experienced another national disaster. I feel certain that every person in our country is aware that an 18-year-old gunman slaughtered 19 children, and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. What few know is that although there were 19 armed police officers outside of the school, they were ordered to stay there by their commanding officer, although gun shots rang out as some students made 911 calls begging for help.
“Of course it wasn’t the right decision,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said at a news conference, choking back tears. “It was the wrong decision. Period.”
They obviously don’t listen to the NRA gun lobby, or maybe they do. It was nearly one-and-one-half hours from the time the first officers arrived, until they breached the Uvalde school and killed the perpetrator. Would these same officers have stood and watched the planes hit two towers in New York, waiting until they crumbled to offer assistance?
While the officers remained in safety outside of the school, teachers were attempting to protect the children.
This was one shooter with one military assault weapon. I find it hard to believe that someone did not have a plan to get inside the school for nearly 90 of the longest minutes in the lives of the children and their teachers. They knew from 911 calls that several children were already dead. What were they waiting for?
The cop shows on television often brag that “law enforcement officers run towards the bullets while everyone else runs away from them.” That was not the situation in Uvalde.
I am guilty and admit that I do not trust anyone in power today. Unfortunately, what happened last Tuesday is another of the reasons why I feel this way. I was reminded of January 6, 2020 when Trump ordered his Neo-Nazi supporters to take over our government and stop the count of the Electoral College, telling them that “he would be with them.” Then the bully/coward marched back into the safety of the White House.
“The truth lives here,” and in my heart I believe that knowing what was happening inside that school, any man, trained in combat or not, would have found a way to get into Robb Elementary in Uvalde, and attempt to stop the carnage.
I hate to write this, but I cannot help thinking about it. If this was an all-white school in Dallas, Houston, or Austin, would the police in those cities acted quickly and aggressively? Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, is 90 percent Hispanic.
Personally, I pray that I will never be forced to write another story about a mass shooting, especially in a school. The United States is the only country in which this is common and accepted. This one fact is proof that something is wrong in America, and change must come, and come soon.
I am sick and tired of listening to right-wing deniers make excuses for the fact that our country is gun crazy, and this is the only reason why this problem exists to such an unforgivable extent.
Op-ed by James Turnage
My nine novels are available on Amazon’s Kindle
Daily Kos: Teacher throws self in front of students; police wait outside for bigger guns to arrive
Los Angeles Times: As police waited, children inside Texas school called 911 begging for help; by Kevin Rector, Jenny Jarvie, Richard Winton, Hayley Smith
Forbes: Uvalde Shooting Timeline: Student Pleaded With 911 To ‘Send The Police Now’ As Officers On Scene Waited For Tactical Units To Arrive; by Anna Kaplan