The Austin American-Statesman has obtained new video of the murders and police response inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A 77-minute video from a security camera shows the killer's entry into the school, the moments when he began shooting, the audio of children screaming as the gunman fires over and over inside the classroom, and the subsequent police response. Body camera footage from one of the responding officers was also obtained.
An edited version of the video was published by the Statesman, and shows "dozens of sworn officers, local, state and federal — heavily armed, clad in body armor, with helmets, some with protective shields — walking back and forth in the hallway, some leaving the camera frame and then reappearing, others training their weapons toward the classroom, talking, making cellphone calls, sending texts and looking at floor plans, but not entering or attempting to enter the classrooms."
The one consistency in reporting about the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting is that every revelation has always been worse than the last, and video of police waiting "even after hearing at least four additional shots from the classrooms 45 minutes after police arrived on the scene" is hard to take. The new video shows that while Uvalde's school district chief of police Pete Arredondo may have been the incident commander most responsible for the delay, there were officers from "multiple" agencies inside the building during the standoff—and they didn't take action, either.
Texas law enforcement agencies have been trying to block public release of such footage, claiming that it would give future mass shooters information on police tactics, but the more likely truth is that those agencies are more worried about public reaction than anything else.
The families of Uvalde victims, however, are absolutely fed up. On Sunday families marched from Robb Elementary to Uvalde Plaza, next to City Hall, to demand both answers about the police response and action to prevent further violence, and families have been angrily demanding answers inside City Hall as well.
The elected officials who rushed to Uvalde to be photographed expressing their concern are now long gone—only Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke was on hand for the Uvalde Plaza rally. And the community is angry about that as well, with one meeting attendee demanding state politicians "show your face" and "answer our questions."
What's not evident, still, is any sense of urgency from any of the officials whose jobs consist of, at minimum, preventing the execution-style murders of Texas schoolchildren. Sen. Ted Cruz is no longer demanding that the state immediately replace classroom doors. Gov. Greg Abbott's prior insistence that mental health issues were to blame is not resulting in a significant beefing-up of the mental health programs his government so eagerly slashed.
The current plan for local and state officials appears to be to pin the blame on responding officers while doing not a damn thing else. Whether the state's voters are willing to accept that depends entirely on them. Texas doesn't have to value assault rifles over children, but it does. It does, and the state Republican Party remains insistent that it will remain that way.
If Texas parents disagree, then they should vote against those plans. There are plenty who won't, though, and we're allowed to judge them for those choices.
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