WaPo worries Uvalde police response problems will ‘take focus off the real issue: guns’
The Washington Post editorial board insisted Saturday that readers not be distracted by the mistakes police made in response to , but rather “focus” on gun control to prevent mass murder.
Commenting on the news reports that Uvalde law enforcement made errors in neutralizing the school shooter on Tuesday, the outlet’s editorial board maintained that gun control is the only thing that lawmakers should strive for in mitigating these horrific crimes.
The column, titled, “Police mistakes in Uvalde should not take focus off the real issue: guns,” began by describing on a day in which 19 children and two schoolteachers were gunned down in their classrooms by a killer with a gun, namely the revelation that “for more than 45 minutes no effort was made to breach the classroom door.”
To the editorial board, this “exploded the trope, so frequently offered by opponents to stricter firearm laws, that the best protection from mass shootings is ‘a good guy with a gun.’”
The editorial acknowledged the police have some explaining to do. “There are still questions to be answered. Foremost: Did children die who could have been saved if police had acted differently?” they wrote but insisted the public not get distracted by that.
“But outrage over police actions — or, in this case, inaction — should not take the focus off the fact that the central issue this country must confront, if it is to prevent these kinds of atrocities, is guns,” the board claimed.
The piece declared that are “Too many and too often in the hands of the wrong people.”
“Yes, it appears that people in Uvalde made mistakes,” the board conceded, adding, “The incident commander who misjudged the situation, the teacher who propped open the door that the gunman used to enter the school, the school resource officer who drove right by the suspect in pursuit of the wrong person will all no doubt wish they had acted differently.”
Though those mistakes were mentioned as if they were inevitable: “But they are human and — despite the myth — training or preparation can never eliminate the possibility of human judgment errors in a life-or-death situation.”
The editorial board then detailed the criminal and his weapons: “The gunman who shot up the school bought two shortly after turning 18. He had 1,657 rounds of ammunition on him before he was killed,” and then proposed “common-sense” gun control.
“That’s madness, and that’s something we can try to fix with common-sense gun law reform. Like strengthened background checks. Like banning assault weapons. Like raising the age to purchase a rifle to 21, the same that now exists for handguns,” said the editorial.
Noting that a bipartisan group of senators is attempting to compromise on gun legislation, the board concluded, “They owe the children and teachers of Uvalde more than their thoughts and prayers.”