As is usual in the aftermath of horrific violence, speculation has run the spectrum and fingers have already been pointed. CNN is saying this is the 30th shooting “at K-12 schools” this year, which I am sure they pulled from somewhere like Giffords and will include anything that happened on or near school properties, at any time, to include a stray round landing on the property.
NPR in particular has wasted no time in tying this directly to the NRA and the NRAAM being held in Texas this weekend. They posted the video that has been seen of the NRA leadership debating canceling the NRAAM meeting after Columbine in 1999, and deciding that if they did the NRA would look to have been cowed completely by the anti-gun lobby. NPR rather clearly see this as bloody profiteering instead of defending a civil right from a coordinated attack.
They are brazenly framing the circumstances today in that exact light. And in that they are mostly, technically correct. The circumstances are very similar minus one crucial legislative detail that nobody is going to bring up. Columbine happened 5 years into the Assault Weapon Ban. The very ban that is being touted as one of the cures for this type of extreme violence event.
It didn’t stop it then and it won’t stop the next one, but that isn’t slowing down NPR’s correlation or anyone else who wasted no time in hopping upon a grandstand to shout their asinine snake oil sales pitch…
Chain of Events
As far as we can put together at this point, the 18 year old shooter shot his grandmother and then fled in a vehicle. The grandmother survived.
He then crashed the vehicle at Robb Elementary and law enforcement was either in pursuit of him already or was on scene for another reason.
Law enforcement officers saw the assailant exit his crashed vehicle wearing a tactical vest, at this point stated as non-ballistic (so it was not ‘body armor’ as has been reported), and he reportedly had a rifle and handgun, unknown details beyond that.
The shooter fled into the school from law enforcement.
He barricaded himself inside a classroom and killed the nineteen children and two teachers who were inside.
Law enforcement was able breach the classroom and killed the shooter in the subsequent gunfight. There were numerous related injuries. Two law enforcement officers were also reported shot by the assailant.
Unconfirmed items, things we do not know
We do not have confirmation on whether law enforcement was actively pursuing the shooter when he crashed at the school or they happened to be there when he crashed.
We do not have confirmation on whether or not law enforcement fired on or was fired upon by the shooter outside the school before he fled inside, although indications that might have been the case are present in certain reports.
We do not know how the shooter was able to get inside the school. Schools these days are kept restricted access for child safety purposes, although the efficacy and adherence to policy varies wildly. In general though, exterior doors are locked during school hours with usually one controlled public entrance.
We do not know if the school was the target of choice or one of convenience while the shooter was being pursued. We do not have an alleged motive, unlike we do with Buffalo, NY. The Elementary school could have been deliberate or could have been the panic reactive target of opportunity while he was being pursued. The vest, ammunition, and two firearms indicate some level or prior planning but for what specifically and to what end are unknown.
Things we do know
Beneath the shrill cries of opportunists using this to further their pet gun control projects, those that won’t move the needle of violence a single solitary degree, there will be a case study on school external security. I pray that someone actually pays attention this time because indications are that the lessons from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Florida 2017, got ignored as politically inconvenient. Nobody wanted to harden schools because it would send “the wrong message” essentially. Everyone wants security. Nobody likes what it looks like and is. Certainly nobody wants to hear that it never works perfectly either, it’s just throwing enough things in the way of possible assailants to try and make it not worth their time.
That is it. That is security.
So instead, once again, we will either do nothing at all, or worse do nothing worth doing and pass a bunch of useless hot take solutions that punish the wrong people. The latter is the solution that the President and friends would prefer to do.