The Price Of Cowardice In Uvalde Is Greater Than We Can Bear
America is nothing if not brave to a fault. This part of our DNA has put our mark on history.
We go in to right a wrong. We storm through with blazing guns akimbo and with jet fighter bald eagles on our flanks - for better or worse!
Yes, America can screw it up sometimes. Ok - maybe more than occasionally. But at our core, we’re doing it for freedom, apple pie, the pursuit of happiness, etc.
Therefore, the wake of the events in Uvalde, Texas comes like an existential kidney punch to the system.
And, sad to say, the shock isn’t from a school shooting or even a loss of life. You can chalk those up to a criminally dysfunctional mental health system, fatherhood scarcity, and a handful of other social structures that post-modernism has eaten away at for the greater part of a century.
No, the truly disturbing aspect of Uvalde is the unmitigated cowardice of law enforcement.
The timeline plays outs like many other school shootings. No one was surprised that the shooter acted out. There had been dozens of incidents that lead up to the carnage. And law enforcement had engaged the shooter at least once in the months before the incident.
The shooter fit the psych profile of a school shooter as if from a textbook. He was an 18-year-old male from a broken home. His life was full of drug abuse, bullying in school, lack of a father figure, and emotional abuse.
The shooter was a chia pet of hate. The community watered him every day and then let him sit in a lonely corner to bloom.
As soon as news crews arrived there was a disconnect between what police and parents were telling the press.
As days went by it became clear that something was amiss. Something that was akin to the disorganization that allowed the tragedy at Parkland to continue longer than it should have.
The Parkland shooting was laced with police ineptitude. One of the first responders, Deputy Scot Peterson, took cover outside the building and told backup to create a perimeter. He radioed in a lockdown and thereby let the shooter have a free run of the school for 58 minutes. The 19-year-old then escaped the school unharmed.
But the Uvalde response was worse than anyone could fathom. An armed squadron of 19 officers waited in the hallway just outside the classroom that the shooter was in.
And they did nothing.
They stood there for 40 minutes while the shooter slaughtered students and teachers in the classroom.
Thankfully off-duty elite Border Patrol Agents (BORTAC) defied the orders of the Uvalde PD and stormed the school. They passed the Uvalde PD Officers dithering in the hallway, rushed to the classroom, and took down the shooter.
Carnage was silenced when good men did their duty.
CS Lewis put it best, "Cowardice is pure pain, horrible to feel, horrible to remember." Law enforcement has a difficult job but the social contract that separates order from chaos rests upon them doing their job. Part of that duty is putting their life on the line for the innocents.
How will this affect the public's already shaky trust in government institutions? The scenarios that play out from here range from depressing to full-blown anarchy.
If your loved ones were in an active shooter situation, would your instincts allow you to stand by and let the police handle things?
Or would you take matters into your own hands knowing that authorities may be “evaluating protocols” or other such nonsense?
If you extrapolate that to communities across the nation, it looks more like the frontier of the early 1800s than first world 2022.
And that’s the thing about the promises of the modern world: they are only as good as the people that back them up.
A Man of Order must always remember, and take into account, that the façade of civilization is just that: a façade. If your problem isn’t a problem for the state, then you are on your own.
We saw that happen repeatedly in 2020 and 2021 with the top-down authoritarian state responses to the pandemic. That broke a lot of trust and the social contract is hanging on by a handful of threads.
And the most sobering fact is that few people, if any, in the world governments are willing to take a moment to understand that trust is gained in inches and lost in yards.