Allahpundit already covered the initial release of news of yet another moment in the Uvalde school shooting timeline that turned out to be completely wrong, so if you haven’t heard about this yet, go read that first. The school district police (who are no longer cooperating with state investigators or answering requests from reporters) had stated repeatedly that the shooter entered through a door that had been left propped open with a rock by a teacher. She allegedly did this because she was carrying in some food from her car.
The first reversal we heard was that the teacher didn’t prop the door open. By the end of the night, that story had changed again. She had propped it open, but when the shooter was approaching she “kicked the rock away” and either “pulled” or “slammed” the door shut. There is allegedly a video showing this happening but it’s not being released. So now we have even more questions.
An exterior door at Robb Elementary School did not lock when it was closed by a teacher shortly before a gunman used it to get inside and kill 19 students and two teachers, leaving investigators searching to determine why, state police said Tuesday.
State police initially said a teacher had propped the door open shortly before Salvador Ramos, 18, entered the school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.
They have now determined that the teacher, who has not been identified, propped the door open with a rock, but then removed the rock and closed the door when she realized there was a shooter on campus, said Travis Considine, chief communications officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety. But, Considine said, the door that was designed to lock when shut did not lock.
Most people are correctly saying that if we want to prevent future school shootings, we need to understand how they happen and what went wrong in new systems and training that should supposedly prevent these events. But that requires a thorough and competent investigation, a task currently seeming almost impossible when people are apparently either lying to cover their own backsides or are extraordinarily incompetent. (Perhaps a combination of both.)
If there is a video of the teacher propping the door open or at least kicking the rock away and closing it, why not release it? I understand the need to protect her privacy (though plenty of locals are already suggesting they know which teacher it is), but couldn’t her face and features be blurred? That may seem intrusive, but if you expect the public to have any faith in this investigation they need to start providing some incontrovertible evidence because we’ve been given no reason to believe anything they say at this point.
The next item on the agenda should have been as easy as pie and yet I don’t see any record of it being done. If the door is designed to automatically lock when it shuts and that didn’t happen on the day of the shooting we will have identified a weak point in the system. Then all schools using similarly designed doors can begin inspections and, if required, repairs or replacements. Why hasn’t someone brought the press with a few cameras over to that entrance, opened the door multiple times, and closed it with varying amounts of force? Preferably, they should let it close multiple times in the same fashion it’s supposedly shown closing in the video. If you can reproduce what’s been reported and the door doesn’t lock – even if it’s only one in ten times – then the mystery is solved and we can move forward. But if you can’t reproduce that effect and the door is functioning properly, somebody else is either lying or criminally confused.
Personally, I will be stunned if it turns out that the teacher is lying. She could definitely have an incentive to lie if she actually did leave it propped open because she wouldn’t want to be seen as the person who let the shooting happen through negligence. But at that moment, with a gunman approaching the entrance, would she knowingly leave the door ajar? It doesn’t seem so. And the fact that the school district police are no longer answering questions or cooperating with the investigation probably tells us all we need to know. Someone saw a chance to possibly pin the blame on one of the teachers to deflect from the disastrous decisions the police chief made while the children were being murdered.
Does there need to be accountability? Obviously. But that should only be a sideshow in this ongoing mess. We need to keep our focus on finding out what parts of the system failed and then get the word out to every school in the country. If the Department of Education really wants to make itself useful, it could ensure the accurate promulgation of this data and any other useful information and ensure that federal funding is available to support schools in making required changes. It would be a pleasure to see some congressional action that everyone would support regardless of party or ideology.