AG Report 3.23.2023
Texas Tribune Reporter Dishonestly Excuses Failed Uvalde Response to Push Gun Ban
I can confidently assume that I’m not alone in feeling that the details of last year’s horrific school shooting in Uvalde — in particular the pathetic response by law enforcement — are among the most infuriating and sickening things I’ve ever read.
Reading about kids crying for help while hundreds of police officers stood idly by is haunting. It seemed that everyone agreed there was no excusing or downplaying the failure of the cops that day. Especially worthy of condemnation is Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who allegedly gave the order to stand down and was fired because of it.
Unfortunately, focusing on the systematic and individual failures wouldn’t allow some activists to pursue their anti-gun agenda so Texas Tribune’s Zach Despart instead wrote an article suggesting that the hesitation was justified because the shooter had an AR-15. Citing the same people who failed at their jobs, Despart insists that they hesitated because the shooter was armed with a rifle, which he attempts to paint as a weapon incapable of being neutralized.
Despart mentions that the first officers at the scene didn’t have rifle-rated body armor. What he seemingly intentionally omits is that there were plenty of officers at the scene with the exact type of body armor and weaponry needed to neutralize the shooter within minutes. In fact, the Uvalde police department had previously bragged about obtaining rifle-rated body armor in social media posts. Despart also omits that the officers waited over an hour to go in despite active shooter protocol clearly dictating that they must confront the shooter right away. His own publication published a story last year correctly noting that the officers on the scene had all the equipment they could possibly need to quickly confront the gunman.
By the time all was said and done, there were 376 trained, well-armed, and outfitted law enforcement officers at that school. But this article wants you to believe that they were justified to sit back and do nothing because the shooter had a rifle that fires a smaller cartridge than your average hunting rifle. Yet, within a few months, there were multiple instances of untrained civilians stopping shooters with AR-15s.
I should also mention that handguns are by far the most commonly used weapons in mass shootings. But the entire point here was to use this tragedy to advocate for a ban on AR-15s, which doesn’t even make sense given the context. If cops are so scared of AR-15s that they won’t protect children in a mass shooting — and those willing to break the law will still have access to AR-15s — that’s a poor argument for banning such weapons for law-abiding citizens.
I understand that some activists don’t want to let any tragedy go to waste without trying to push their agenda, but doing so by dishonestly covering for the cowardice and incompetence of the police response that day is reprehensible.
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