Saturday, May 28, 2022

Murphy's Law, Only With Dead Kids

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan. on loan from Ari.)
Remember May 24th, 2022. That was the day law enforcement announced the abdication of their responsibilities to keep their communities safe. Not just in Uvalde, Texas but everywhere. Uvalde just exposed it.
    Honestly, the law enforcement response in Uvalde that day can only be bettered, if such a word is applicable, to Vladimir Putin's response to the theater terrorist incident nearly 20 years ago in which Putin's goons took care of the terrorists, alright. They used gas to kill all 40 of the terrorists as well as 130 hostages. But that was a case study in how not to use hyperaggression in a hostage situation. What happened in Uvalde was the exact opposite. Indeed, the passivity of law enforcement, at the very least, bordered on the criminal.
     As expected and as is often the case after a school mass shooting, the NRA is holding a shin dig, this time their national convention, in Houston, just 280 miles from Uvalde, before any of the victims have been buried. America's biggest pro-gun, pro-death lobby, which in a sane, just world would have been dissolved after Letitia James' lawsuit, features all the usual paper tigers- Wayne LaPierre, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump (Who never owned a gun in his life).
     But for all the usual fake chest hair application and locker room talk, anything at the convention that doesn't call for strict gun control measures (ha ha) is going to result in horrible optics. The thing is, the NRA has become so radical, it no longer cares about bad optics as one lobbyist did when the NRA held another shin dig in Colorado right after Columbine in 1999.
     To get back to the convention for a moment, thus far the most "substantive" initiative from both Ted Cruz and Trump is "hardening" our schools (Uvalde and all of Texas did so and failed) and providing only one access point in the entire building. It's a suggestion that flies in the face of countless fire safety regulations and almost reaches the level of idiocy that gave us bullet-proof backpacks, ballistic blankets and even buckets full of rocks.
     Because God forbid anyone should use the phrase "gun control" much less actually suggest it after a nightmarish school shooting. And the only people whom the NRA purports to represent are the gun and ammunition manufacturers and those who faithfully buy their products as often as toilet paper. They certainly don't represent the 90% of Americans who support background checks, including 72% of NRA members.
     And they certainly don't want to hear anything about HR8, which addressed that very issue and passed in the House March 11 last year with a minimum of bipartisan support where it then died the usual death in Mitch McConnell's Senate, despite the Democrats having a slim majority. The problem, of course, is that while the House required just a simple majority vote, in the Senate it needs a filibuster-proof 60 votes to pass, which simply isn't going to happen.
     But let's get back to my original point: The utter uselessness of law enforcement.

Back the Blue Until They Stop Backing You
Lucian K. Truscott IV wrote an inelegant but justifiably angry screed in Salon today about the law enforcement "response" to Salvador Ramos' unchecked rampage in Uvalde last Tuesday afternoon. In fact, the arrogant twats who were milling around and doing literally nothing sure were proactive with the frantic parents. Moms and dads were tackled, tased, pepper-sprayed and hand cuffed just for asking the police to do something.
     One woman, Angeli Rose Gomez, told the Wall Street Journal she was handcuffed by federal marshals under a bullshit charge of "intervening in an active investigation", which obviously didn't look so active to her. After appealing to two Uvalde cops she knew, the Marshal's office uncuffed her. She immediately took off, ran around the school, jumped a fence and got her two children and others through a classroom window. In other words, Gomez did what any able-bodied mother would do in that situation and did it without weapons, tactical training or body armor.
    It's exceedingly difficult to wrap one's mind around this perfect storm of fuckuppery, much less establish a starting point so one can explicate the events, or non-events in this case. All I can do is to refer you to the timeline as established by MSNBC in the lead image above. The horrifying end result is that it took law enforcement nearly an hour and a half from the time Ramos entered the school, before which he wandered around for an additional 12 minutes firing at the school without being accosted until the time they killed him.
    That means the siege lasted for one hour and 28 minutes. According to the FBI, the average active shooter situation lasts for just five minutes. First of all, this nightmare was made possible because the school resource officer who was supposed to be at the school was not. Instead, he was driving around town. When he got the first 911 advisories, he button-hooked back to where he should have been to begin with then actually drove past the shooter who was merely crouching behind a bush.
    Eventually, over 100 local, county, state and federal law enforcement officers were surrounding Robb Elementary and did literally nothing. That isn't me saying that. That's what was said yesterday by Texas DPS chief Steve McCraw, who essentially threw the tiny Uvalde Police Department under the bus (without, pointedly, explaining why his agency was MIA during the siege, during which time his agency would have been calling the shots).
    This serves right now as the tail end of an endless and dizzying array of narratives as Texas law enforcement tried to dissuade us from seeing that that infamous Texas swagger withered when it came time to confront a single gunman who didn't have their tactical training. Instead, we're now hearing that 19 cops, the same number as the children who were killed, were bunched up at the door behind which the siege was taking place. Then they backed off when Ramos fired at them through the door.
     Eventually, the shooting stopped when a janitor arrived to let them in with the key that, for some darkly magical reason, they didn't have. Only then did the Border Patrol's Tactical Team (BORTAC) breached and put Ramos down like the rabid dog he was. And that was after having to wait an hour while the six man Uvalde PD made them wait before allowing them in.
     Yes. You read that correctly. A tiny police department in a town of fewer than 16,000 residents, six cops and a joke of a chief, were keeping the US government from entering the school. Again, an hour and a half after the siege began.

Low-Hanging Fruit
That's how the local police looked at the parents who had the temerity to ask them to do their jobs and save their childrens' lives. They desperately wanted to show their community and the world that they were proactive in maintaining law and order as long as it didn't, God forbid, involve them risking their lives.
    It immediately helped put the lie to the quasi-romantic notion that cops put their lives on the line every time they put on the uniform and badge, which often is the case.  But Uvalde was another story entirely. And, according to Amanda Marcotte at Salon, this criminal inaction was far from an outlier. And, also according to Marcotte, and Supreme Court precedent, grieving parents of dead children are denied even the cold solace of criminal litigation against police departments for inaction.
   The legal precedent began in Colorado, just two months after Columbine. Jessica Lenahan had already taken out a restraining order on her estranged husband, Simon Gonzales. It stipulated that he remain 100 yards from Lenehan and her four daughters. Nonetheless, Gonzales showed up at his wife's house and kidnapped three of their youngest daughters.
    When Lenehan discovered they were missing, she frantically called the Castle Rock, CO police department but they refused to get involved, despite the husband having violated a valid court order. In fact, Castle Rock's constabulary wouldn't get involved until their own lives were threatened when Gonzales showed up at the police station and shooting at them. They killed him then when they searched his van, they found the three dead bodies of the girls.
     Lenehan sued the Castle Rock PD, a fight that reached the Supreme Court in 2004. Then, in early 2005, the High Court decided in a shocking 7-2 ruling that Lenehan, or anyone, is not entitled to protection from the constabulary. It was constitutional originalism at its cruelest and most senseless. This led Lenehan to sue the US Government, and win.
     Then there's the case of Joseph Lozito.
     Lozito was on the 3 train beneath Brooklyn in 2011 when he was randomly and viciously stabbed all over his head and body by spree killer Maksim Gelman, for whom the NYPD was allegedly searching. The attack was carried out over several minutes just feet away from where two transit cops were standing and watching the whole spectacle. Despite being stabbed twice in the head, Lozito was able to disarm his attacker without any help from the cops in passive attendance.
     As with Lenehan in Castle Rock years ago, Lozito sued the NYPD only to have his case tossed by a New York judge who decided, as with the Supreme Court, that he was not entitled to "special protection" under the law. These set dangerous precedents, in absolving the police anywhere to not put their lives in harm's way if they so choose. This, combined with the dark comedy known as "qualified immunity" that essentially lets police to literally get away with murder, puts the lie to the canard, "to serve and protect."
    John Stoehr simply asked in his title, "Police don't stop crime -- so what are they for?" Good question, especially in light of the fact that the Uvalde Police Department, all six of them, soaks up 40% of the little town's budget. And for what? (By contrast, the NYPD, the biggest in the nation, only accounts for 5.5% of the city's budget). 
     If the police are going to be that laissez-faire regarding violent crimes, then it seems to me if ever there was a time to renew calls to defund the police, now is it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be shy. I don't bite. Usually.