Police should have gone to school earlier, senior Texas official admits

Police made a “bad decision” by failing to quickly enter the Uvalde school where a gunman had taken refuge in a class that had committed a massacre there, a senior Texas official admitted Friday. “Looking back, of course it wasn’t the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period,” Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a tense press at a conference. “If I thought it might help, I would apologize,” he said, deeply moved.

Nineteen officers at the scene waited for a Border Patrol intervention unit about an hour after the gunman, Salvador Ramos, broke into the building on Tuesday. The 18-year-old teenager killed 19 children and two teachers. Pressed by journalists to explain this highly criticized delay in the intervention, the official said police thought “maybe there are no more survivors”.

Many calls received by the police during the tragedy

Police nevertheless received numerous calls from several people in the two affected classrooms, including one from a child at 12:16 p.m., more than half an hour before the 12:50 p.m. police intervention, warning that “eight to nine students were alive,” said Steven McCraw. On one of her first phone calls, this student, who had warned of multiple deaths, asked, “Please send the police now.”

A few hours away, America’s first gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, held its annual convention in Houston, rocked by a controversy over the timing of the event, leading politicians and country music stars to cancel their visit. The NRA promised that this high mass would be an opportunity to “reflect” on what happened in Uvalde – a tragedy for which the organization had stripped itself of all responsibility.

Donald Trump at the NRA Convention

While former President Donald Trump will be in attendance, as will Conservative Senator Ted Cruz, Republican Governor Greg Abbott will give Uvalde a press conference instead. Greg Abbott, a staunch defender of the right to own a firearm and a candidate for reelection this year, will still speak to members of the NRA, in a pre-recorded video, one of his spokespersons at the Dallas Morning newspaper said. news. † His deputy, Dan Patrick, will also not show up to avoid “hurting the families even more,” he said in a statement.

By late morning, thousands of firearms enthusiasts were already sauntering through the huge convention center lined with manufacturers’ booths, displaying semi-automatic rifles and hunting gear. “I have guns in every room of my house,” laughed one 60-year-old when asked if the gun he was considering buying would be his first.

Country stars avoid convention

A sign of discomfort, several country stars have also chosen not to attend. Among them singer Don McLean, known for his song “American Pie”, who found it “disrespectful” to perform there. Artist Lee Greenwood, whose patriotic hit “God Bless the USA” punctuates Donald Trump’s encounters, also preferred to cancel his concert. Another notable absentee was the maker of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by the shooter.

The NRA, which claims five million members, also specified that to ensure the safety of Donald Trump — to whom the organization gave tens of millions of dollars during his two presidential campaigns — firearms would be banned in the room. Outside the building, protesters gathered with signs calling for a ban on assault rifles or asking “stop killing children”.

A drama that revives calls for better gun regulation

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who will meet Greg Abbott in the November governorship election, is expected to join them. In an unusual scene, a sign of growing tension over the gun issue, he interrupted the governor in the middle of a press conference on Wednesday, accusing him of being responsible for the tragedy. The shooting, described in the US press as the “new Sandy Hook”, in reference to the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school in 2012, has awakened America’s traumas.

The faces of the very young victims, ages 11, 10, 9 and years, broadcast on television in a loop, and the testimonies of their collapsed relatives have moved the country and revived a wave of calls for better regulation of firearms blown in. This move is unlikely to translate into action, given the lack of hopes for an ambitious national law on the matter passed by Congress.

Leave a Comment