Generations worth of TV and movies have created a distorted expectation of what the police can be expected to do.
1. The police are a deterrent, preventing crimes before they happen through foot patrols and such that convince criminals that there are eyes on them.
2. They’re the clean-up crew after the fact, taking reports, conducting investigations, making arrests.
Very little of what law enforcement actually does involves direct intervention during a crime.
Mostly what the police do in their interventions involves disorderly conduct, calls to homes about one of the people living there, and that sort of thing. In a crisis, you can expect them to secure the scene and wait for a tactical team.
That’s what happened at Uvalde. People are angry and they should be.
But paradoxically, all the LEOs at the scene made things worse. An individual or a few of them might have done something more directly. As a group, everyone was following procedures. And that’s what procedures look like.
Law enforcement, like everything else, has been heavily bureaucratized. Initiative is discouraged. And yet it’s initiative that was desperately needed here.
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