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Did the police intervene late to stop the Texas killing?

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In the last few hours, the media and the American authorities have released new details on the development of the massacre carried out on Tuesday in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and 2 teachers were killed. In addition to more information on the perpetrator of the massacre, the 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, information was also disseminated on how the police acted while the massacre was in progress, which led to accusations of delays and mismanagement of the situation.

The first detailed information on the police actions had been communicated on Wednesday by the Texan authorities: in particular, they had said that between 40 minutes and an hour had passed between Ramos having entered the school and when the police had raided and killed Ramos. . Some judged this time to be too long and accused the police of not intervening promptly to prevent the massacre.

– Read also: What is known about the perpetrator of the Texas massacre

According to some reconstructions published in the American press – but still to be fully confirmed – before entering the school Ramos would have met two policemen who were outside the building and there would have been a fire fight. It is not clear exactly what happened, but according to AP this first intervention by the police would not have been enough to prevent Ramos from entering the school.

The accusations against the police were also fueled by various testimonies of what had happened outside the school while the massacre was in progress. Some people, including the pupils’ parents, accused the policemen of waiting too long to enter the school and stop the shooting. Some of these people had proposed to enter themselves but were blocked by the police, who had surrounded the area.

Among other things, the policemen would not be able to break open the door of the classroom where Ramos was barricaded, and would have it opened by a school employee who had the key. “They weren’t prepared,” Javier Cazares, the father of one of the girls killed by Ramos, said of the policemen.

Obviously, the videos and testimonies collected in these days cannot be considered a complete representation of what happened, because there are many elements of the police operations in Uvalde that are not yet known. For example, it is not known whether the policemen who were stationed outside the school were only a part of all those sent on the scene to stop Ramos, and the full dynamics of the operation that led to the raid on the school are not known precisely.

Moreover, it is not even known for certain whether the police really waited 40 minutes before breaking in: on Thursday a spokesman for the Texas Security Department said investigations are still underway to ascertain whether the 40 minutes should be counted from when Ramos was entered the school or since leaving the house, after shooting his grandmother.

Lieutenant Christopher Olivarez, of the Texas Security Department, has so far denied any allegations made to the police and said law enforcement had acted promptly and complied with all protocols for emergency operations like this one.

The controversy surrounding the work of the police is also relevant because it is part of the debate on weapons in the United States and their relationship with the massacres in schools. One of the arguments of those who argue that gun regulation should be as loose as possible, for example, is that the best way to counter an armed assailant is to be equally armed. This is why after the Texas massacre some Republicans argued that teachers should be given the opportunity to have a weapon in the classroom, in order to be the first to defend pupils from possible shooters like Ramos.

The controversy over the work of the police, if confirmed, could give arguments to those who argue that the only way to counter events like the one in Texas is to more strictly regulate the sale and dissemination of weapons.

– Read also: The gun laws in Texas are some of the most lax in the entire United States