Taking Our Eyes Off the Ball
When confronted with senseless tragedy it’s so tempting to dwell on “what ifs”. What if something had been even a little different; if only that door had locked, if only the police or private citizens had intercepted the creep with the AR-15, if only the police had stormed the classroom and taken him out.
In a weird way these speculations are comforting, they grant us the reprieve that the horror was almost averted, that it could have been averted…if only things had gone a different way.
It feels like we can gain back a little control if we can pin the ultimate blame on systems that didn’t work, that almost worked, that should have worked. Not only are we fooling ourselves though, we are distracting ourselves from some hard but crucial truths.
The police in Uvalde could almost certainly have executed their “active shooter” training much, much better, and still that classroom would have been filled with lives cut short in the most brutal fashion. And just three days later the merchants of death and their political facilitators gathered in Houstin to mouth their meaningless thoughts and prayers and to spew the falsehood that people are now forgetting.
There were dozens of “good guys with guns” on the grounds of Robb Elementary, and though they eventually killed the mass murderer they were far too late.
The sheer firepower of the firearms being pushed in Houstin guaranteed that they would be too late, and like most mortals the good guys hesitated to face the weapons that the NRA and the Republican Party insist MUST be on our streets, in our supermarkets, overlooking our country music concerts, and of course, in our schools.
There was a good guy, a heroic guy with a gun in the Buffalo Tops supermarket, a trained and veteran police officer who gave his life to just slow down a creep with an AR, and I have little doubt the Uvalde cops knew this when they showed up at Robb Elementary.
Stopping a bad guy with a gun just isn’t nearly enough, and blaming the Uvalde police for their reaction to the Texas bad guy can’t make this fact disappear.
Let’s not allow ourselves to be distracted, let’s not allow Senators and Representatives, and Senate Minority leaders and ex-presidents to get away with this lie yet again.
The only thing that stops a mass killer is to keep the arms out of his deranged hands in the first place.