Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, July 18, 2022

‘Systemic failures’ in Uvalde school massacre, report finds

I don't know what to think about this.  

The report by the Texas State House of Representatives ("Uvalde report: 376 officers but 'egregiously poor' decisions," Associated Press) says that a state or federal law enforcement agency could have taken control of the response to the mass shooting event at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and 2 teachers were killed and it took more than an hour for the police to engage with the shooter.

Like all government agencies, law enforcement agencies are very conscious of jurisdiction, and definitely a federal agency wouldn't step in unilaterally.  The report says that the Texas Department of Public Safety is tasked with the responsibility for dealing with mass shootings and could have taken control. Or that they or the US Border Patrol could have asked for control.

But that takes time, negotiations between the local department and the state agency etc., unless they already have a memorandum of understanding in place.

Why the chief of the school district police department, Pete Arredondo, or the acting chief of the city police department, Lt. Mariano Pargas, didn't step up and declare they were incident commander and act accordingly is beyond me.

It's definitely a great example of my belief that most people and organizations are bad at decision making, and even worse in crisis conditions.

It's accentuated by lots of different agencies in small places. While I understand the value of subsidiarity and having agencies organized and focused on smaller units, there is a lot to be said for scale.

Also see "America is resigned to mass shootings — but not to cops who fail to act," Washington Post. From the article:

An infuriating new report on the shameful police response to the Uvalde, Tex., school shooting “absolves no one,” according to The Post’s print headline. A better way to put it would have been that the report “implicates everyone” for delaying more than an hour while 19 children and two teachers were dying or lying dead.

But the question here is not whether the existing system could have been made to perform better. It’s whether we need a whole new system to confront the mass shootings that have become a tragic fact of American life. ...

But because we have effectively decided to tolerate school shootings and other mass killings of innocents, we need a system in which schools and other vulnerable institutions, such as churches and even shopping malls, are more effectively locked down. We need a system in which it is clear who is taking charge of the police response and in which incidents are considered “active shooter” until proved otherwise.

The reports on Uvalde make clear just how poorly every single tripwire that might have prevented the shooting functioned.


-- "Not that I want to defend management failure and unnecessary death, but that was an outcome determined by a corrupt system ," 2020

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At 10:50 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

My thoughts exactly.

Uvalde intensifies doubts over whether tiny police agencies make sense

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I’m a Texas gun owner. The Texas way of guns is an American failure.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

377 good guys with a gun editorial cartoon

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Tel U said...

I deeply regret that this can happen in school, hopefully the families of the victims will be given fortitude.


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