A year ago today, a gunman not only slaughtered 19 children and two adults but also killed the myth that “good guys with guns” can keep schools safe… or any other place for that matter.
Listen To This Story
A year ago today, a gunman not only slaughtered 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, he also killed the myth that “good guys with guns” could keep schools safe… or any other place for that matter.
For 75 minutes, the law enforcement officers on site — all 376 of them — did nothing to help the children who were locked in a room with the killer.
Presumably, many of them were good guys, and it stands to reason that most of them had guns.
On the one hand, it makes perfect sense. Why would you rush into a room where a killer with military-grade weapons is waiting for you?
On the other hand, it seems inexplicable. How can you, as someone who took an oath to serve and to protect your community, stand by while children are being maimed, murdered, and traumatized a few feet away from you?
And if all those cops didn’t act for more than an hour, how can you possibly expect that arming teachers will do the trick?
Seventy-five minutes! That’s a long time. To illustrate just how long, we put together clips of a recent National Rifle Association (NRA) conference that total 75 minutes. We matched them up with some of the key points of the timeline that began when the first officers arrived at the school within minutes of the initial shots being fired.
And if you think that watching more than an hour of NRA clips feels long, imagine what it must have been like for those kids playing dead next to the bodies of their friends.
11:35 a.m.: Three police officers, armed and armored, enter the school through the same door as the killer. At the same time, four others access the building through the south entrance. Shortly thereafter, the first group reaches the interconnected classrooms where the killer is murdering his victims, and they are fired upon. One officer tries to advance, but nobody follows him.
At about the same time, the officers treat this situation as a “barricaded suspect” event and not as an active shooter.
At this point, events are still unfolding rapidly — within three minutes. It also took three minutes for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to address the NRA leadership forum, thank the group for its work, pat himself on the back for expanding gun rights in Florida, and criticize financial institutions for discriminating against gun makers.
By 11:41 a.m., additional officers entered the building and they hear more shots being fired.
A minute later, officers begin breaking classroom windows to evacuate students, which is the kind of thing they should be doing.
At 11:43 a.m., the school posts on Facebook that there is gunfire in the area but “students and staff are safe in the building.”
Again, early on in such an event, it is understandable that there still is a lot of confusion. By this point, five more minutes have passed, so here is a five-minute clip of NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre talking about having to “fight like hell” to “get more freedom.” He then praised NRA members for “having liberated” more than half the nation, by which he means that a majority of states now allow the permitless carrying of guns.
Back in Uvalde, one officer tells his colleagues that his wife has been shot, and he is escorted out of the building.
Things are happening more slowly now. At 11:51 a.m., 16 minutes into the massacre, the first ballistic shield is brought into the school.
Two minutes later, a special agent of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrives. Shortly thereafter, he asks whether there are children in the classroom.
“If there is, then they just need to go in,” he says.
At 12:03 p.m., a student calls 911 from inside the classroom and identifies herself in a whisper.
At this time, another 20 minutes have passed, so here is 18 minutes of former Vice President Mike Pence proudly proclaiming that, with the landmark Bruen decision, the three Supreme Court justices confirmed during the administration of Donald Trump helped roll back gun control legislation already on the books in several states.
Pence also advocates speeding up the death penalty for mass shooters, notwithstanding that most of them end up dead, so this isn’t much of a deterrent.
And since that doesn’t quite get us to 20 minutes, here is a two-minute clip of two Republican presidential contenders from South Carolina, former Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott, pandering to the NRA.
Back in Uvalde, 30 minutes have passed since the police arrived, and there are now at least 19 law enforcement officers in a school hallway.
More gear arrives, including a second and third ballistic shield.
At 12:10 p.m., a SWAT team arrives. The female student calls 911 again and says that multiple people have been killed. In the hallway, some officers put on gas masks.
A few minutes later, a Border Patrol Tactical Unit arrives.
The student calls again (for a fourth time in total) and says that eight or nine students are still alive.
At 12:21 p.m., the gunman fires more shots and another ballistic shield is brought in. This one is the only one that is “rifle-rated,” which means the other shields were not designed to handle the firepower of the two guns a young man could legally purchase on his eighteenth birthday.
No wonder the cops were afraid.
But, at 12:30 p.m., 55 minutes since the first officers arrived, they move closer to the classrooms where the gunman was waiting for them.
Another 27 minutes have passed and things have slowed down considerably, so it seems fitting to subject you to the first 27 minutes of former President Donald Trump’s address to the NRA.
Back in Uvalde, almost an hour since arriving, officers are searching for the keys to the classrooms. A “forcible-entry tool” is brought to the school, and the commander of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit tries it out but concludes it would take too long to use it and “dangerously expose an officer to gunfire coming from inside the classroom.”
An hour has now passed.
At 12:43 p.m., the gunman shoots the door.
The officers on site finally retrieve a master key. As it turns out, this was unnecessary because the door wasn’t locked.
Three minutes later, after 72 minutes, the green light is given to enter the classroom.
At 12:47 p.m., the student inside the classroom who called 911 says: “Please send the police now.”
Finally, the good guys with guns act. They kill the gunman at 12:50 p.m.
Another agonizing 20 minutes have passed, which is just about as long as the second part of Trump’s speech to the NRA.
If you watched all of these clips, then you have an idea of how long these small children had to spend in a room with a man who killed their friends… because he had so much legally obtained firepower that the good guys with guns were too afraid to confront him.