Uvalde, TX — The worst school shooting in more than a decade unfolded this week in a small Texas town west of San Antonio. The massacre has rocked the nation and led to a fierce debate over guns and school security. One aspect of the shooting is flying under the radar, however, and that is the police response — or rather, lack thereof.
New information is coming out from bystanders who watched the shooter enter the school and then watched as police stood by as he murdered 19 children and two teachers. According to reports, the shooter stayed in a single classroom, killing everyone inside.
"[The shooter] barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom. It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter," Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety said.
Had the shooter walked out of the classroom, things could've gotten even more deadly but for some reason, he stayed inside. And the police had nothing to do with it.
Video taken from outside the school shows parents attempting to go into the school to try to stop the shooter. Instead of being allowed in to stop the shooter, however, they were physically accosted by the officers who were more concerned with setting up a perimeter than stopping a mass murdering psychopath who was executing children inside.
As parents beg police to help, they merely stand there, holding a perimeter as if they were at war with dozens of shooters. But there was only one.
Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, told the Associated Press that he raced to the school when he heard about the shooting, arriving while police were still gathered outside the building.
When he arrived, he too witnessed police do nothing. Upset that they were allowing a psychopath to indiscriminately murder children inside, Cazares brought up the idea of charging into the school to stop the shooter himself.
"Let's just rush in because the cops aren't doing anything like they are supposed to," he said.
"More could have been done. They were unprepared," he added.
Other folks outside the school reacted similarly.
“Go in there! Go in there!” nearby women shouted at the officers soon after the attack began, according to Juan Carranza, 24, who told KCRA he saw the scene from outside his house, across the street from Robb Elementary School. Carranza said the officers did not go in.
Law enforcement are standing by their response, however, and claim that they followed the proper procedure.
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"The bottom line is law enforcement was there. They did engage immediately. They did contain [the shooter] in the classroom," Department of public safety director Steve McCraw said, defending the actions of the officers.
But is waiting 40 minutes outside of the school as a lunatic murders children inside a classroom good police work?
“There were more of them, there was just one of him,” Carranza said.
Unfortunately, we saw a similar initial response from police in the Parkland shooting as well. In that case, ex-deputy Scot Peterson, nicknamed "The Coward of Broward" was actually charged for failing to respond to Nikolas Cruz as he murdered children inside of the school.
As TFTP reported, video showed deputy Peterson cowering in fear outside the building as gunfire erupted inside. Had he confronted Cruz, an untold number of lives may have been saved.
When Peterson went to court, however, Peterson's attorney, Michael Piper contested the court's claim that the deputy had a duty to protect the children inside the school.
“There is no legal duty that can be found,” Piper said. “At its very worst, Scot Peterson is accused of being a coward. That does not equate to bad faith.”
This defense worked. The fact is, police in America are not required “protect and serve.”
The leading case on the topic is Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981) when the Court stated that the "fundamental principle of American law is that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."
In that case, police were directly alerted by Carolyn Warren, Miriam Douglas, and Joan Taliaferro that they were being held hostage by Marvin Kent and James Morse. Warren called police twice. But police never intervened and Warren, Douglas, and Taliaferro were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse—for over 14 hours.
The appellants argued that because police were alerted—twice—that police had a specific duty to protect them from the harm to which they were alerted. However, the court ruled in favor of police following "the well-established rule that official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection."
On top of this case is another from the Supreme Court dating back to the 1930's which established the guidelines for federal government protection of citizens. In short, there is none. In the case of Erie Railroad Co. Vs. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 82 L.Ed. 1188, the Court stated "there is no federal general common law. Congress has no power to declare substantive rules of common law applicable in a state whether they be local in their nature or 'general,' be they commercial law or a part of the law of torts. And no clause in the Constitution purports to confer such a power upon the federal courts."