Uvalde Part 2
Uvalde – Part Two
Since the tragic shooting deaths of nineteen school children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, there has been a lot reported in the media about the events, nearly all of it wrong. This is not surprising since, for all their crowing about being the source of truth, media knows absolutely NOTHING except what they’re told and what they publish is mostly the product of their own mind. A massive army of media descended on the small Texas community and reporters proceeded to interview anyone they could get to talk. They probably interviewed live oak trees if they couldn’t find a person. (They’d have interviewed cactus except the only cacti in that part of the country are prickly pear and they’re notorious for their silence. All that could be said with certainty was that a Uvalde teenager named Salvador Ramos entered the school with a rifle and started shooting. Besides that, things were sketchy. Even the Texas Department of Public Safety, the state law enforcement agency, failed to get the facts straight before the commander, Steven McCraw, conducted a press conference in Uvalde. Some of the things McCraw said turned out to be different than he reported. McCraw said that Ramos entered the school through a door a teacher had propped open with a rock. It turned out the teacher hadn’t left the door open; she had pulled the self-locking door closed. He also said that Uvalde school district chief of police Pete Arredondo had assumed the role of on-scene commander and that he had ordered a pullback and prevented officers from “breaching” the classroom. This has also turned out to be untrue. McCraw also stated that “based on hindsight,” Arredondo “made the wrong decision” and has caused massive criticism of Uvalde law enforcement by people who had no clue what had actually happened. The media in many articles left out McCraw’s “based on hindsight” comment along with his other comment “I was not there.” Media took the word of parents who came to the school and saw members of law enforcement outside and assumed no one was going after the shooter.
Now that Arredondo has told his story to the media, a clearer picture has emerged, at least it’s clearer to those who don’t have their own preconceived notions of what happened. There has been a lot of “woulda, shoulda, coulda” on the part of media and political pundits, none of whom were present. They point to a protocol developed by the FBI after the Columbine, Colorado shootings – by an FBI agent who has never been involved in a mass shooting in her entire life – that establishes that law enforcement must rush in and kill the shooter without regard to their own life. Unfortunately, protocols are theories, not reality, usually advocated by those who have never been there and never will be, and what law enforcement is taught in classes and seminars may be entirely different from real life situations such as the one at Uvalde.
Just how Ramos got into the building is still not clear. Since it’s been confirmed by video footage that the teacher who allegedly left the door propped open actually closed it, it’s been theorized that the self-locking door somehow failed to lock. Now, my wife is a Texas teacher and I know for a fact that outside doors automatically lock when they’re closed and the only way to get in is with a key. Although she’s a certified teacher, she now substitutes. She frequently mentions that she had to find someone with a key to let her class back inside the building after recess. None of the articles I’ve read – including the one linked above – consider that Ramos may have actually had a key to the building. Not a lot of attention has been paid to it in the media, but his grandmother is allegedly a Uvalde school district employee, and she worked at Robb Elementary as a teacher’s aide at the time of the shooting. Why she wasn’t at the school at the time is unclear. Perhaps she had the day off of perhaps she went home for something during lunch. Regardless, Ramos shot her in the face before he went to the school. He got from her house to the school in her truck, which means he had her keys. Whether or not he took the keys when he jumped out of the truck after driving it into a drainage ditch has not been addressed.
Although numerous articles have been written implying that law enforcement left the building and did not reenter it until well over an hour after the shooting started, McCraw pointed out that officers entered the building within two minutes after Ramos and a total of nineteen officers were in that particular section of the building. He did not make clear that there were officers in the building the entire time – including Chief Arredondo, who was one of the first officers in the building and did not leave until after all of the dead and wounded children and teachers had been carried out. Although parents implied that law enforcement did nothing, they had actually evacuated the building, except for the two adjoining classrooms where Ramos did his killing and wounding. Some five hundred (500) children and staff were brought out of the building during the hour and seventeen minutes from the time Ramos entered the building until he was shot and killed. Just where they were taken is unclear, although law enforcement apparently kept them somewhere, perhaps in the gymnasium, in order to make sure that all were accounted for. The parents outside had no clue what was going on in the building.
Many articles implied that Ramos was continually shooting and killing kids the entire time up until he was killed. McCraw made clear in his press conference that law enforcement believed the killing took place in the first five minutes when Ramos fired at least a hundred rounds. (Around 120-125 empty cartridges were found in the classroom and 22 others were found outside – he fired at people in the parking lot at the funeral home across the street and possibly at the school building.) After that, he fired sporadically at the doors where he knew there were law enforcement officers waiting outside. Some of his bullets penetrated the steel door and others went through the wall into the opposite wall. Much has been made over Arredondo not having a radio with him. He said in his interview that he left them in his vehicle because they would get in the way as he rushed inside to confront the shooter. Even though he didn’t have a radio, he had a cell phone and was in contact with his office and local law enforcement. He was NOT out of communication as the media has implied.
Once the word got out about the shooter, dozens of law enforcement personnel rushed toward the school. Some came from as far away as San Antonio some eighty miles away – including US marshals. A Border Patrol tactical team came from Del Rio, a border town some sixty miles due west of Uvalde. It would have taken them an hour or more to get there, from the time they left which means that most didn’t arrive until just before Ramos was killed. Other Border Patrol personnel were in the town; many live there. Some were off duty but had children in the school as did members of local law enforcement. One of the slain teachers was married to a local officer. Much has been made of how one Border Patrolmen took his barber’s shotgun and proceeded to the school and went in and got his children. Those same articles fail to mention that law enforcement were in the process of evacuating the school while being careful not to attract Ramos’ attention. Those in the classrooms in the section where Ramos was in a locked classroom were brought out through the windows – the officers in the hallway didn’t want them to be brought out into the hall where they could be fired on by Ramos - .223 bullets can penetrate concrete. Media and political pundits have focused on a woman, who was on probation, who claims she drove forty miles after she heard of the shooting and was arrested by “Federal” officers for interfering with police. She claims that after they let her go, she went “inside the school” and got her children. Her story does not jive with the fact that children had been brought out. However, they were being kept away from the parents until a determination had been made that all children were accounted for. She also claimed that law enforcement “threatened her” if she went public but the facts are that the woman is on probation and defying law enforcement is clearly a violation.
There were actually two groups of law enforcement outside the classrooms where Ramos had locked himself in. Arredondo, who grew up in Uvalde and attended Robb Elementary, had entered the building through the south entrance along with a Uvalde officer and was outside the southern-most of the two classrooms while another group of local Uvalde police (possibly including Arredondo’s subordinates) had come in through the main entrance and entered the hallway from the north. They were pointed to the classrooms where the shooter had gone by teachers. Ramos fired at the group on the north and wounded two of them, but their wounds were sleight and they returned to the classroom after temporarily withdrawing.
They had no means of breaching the reinforced steel doors; the doors open outward and couldn’t be battered in. They also have steel door jambs rather than the usual wood. Some have raised the question of using shotguns to shoot out the locks but this requires special shells with clay rounds inside and some articles indicate that only specially designed shotguns should be used. Arredondo says that he called for breaching equipment along with a sniper and armored shields but the breaching equipment never arrived. He and the other officers tried for some time to find the right key to open the classroom doors. Apparently, the school does not have a single master key but each door is keyed separately.
Although Arredondo’s interview doesn’t say, apparently the Border Patrol tactical team arrived at some point with tactical equipment, including shields, and came in the hall. Someone in the group on the north end of the hall finally found the right key and notified Arredondo. Allegedly, someone told the Border Patrolmen through their headsets not to enter the classroom but they chose to ignore it. (There may have been a jurisdictional issue.) Someone opened the door and they rushed inside. Ramos started shooting at them but one finally killed him.
Much is being made over the fact that Ramos was able to buy two AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles manufactured by a Georgia firm called Daniel’s Defense. Although they fire the same ammunition as AR-15s, they are actually knockoffs and sell for twice as much as most AR-15s and AR-15 clones, which sell for around $800-$900. Just what makes them more expensive is unclear. The company manufactures rifles for law enforcement and the military as well as for consumers. Ramos’ age is often brought up – Federal law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing ANY firearm. The age limit for firearms purchasing was implemented in 1968 in the wake of the Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinations. That Ramos was able to purchase the two rifles is only indirectly related to the shootings – thousands of 18-year-olds purchase firearms, including semiautomatic rifles, each year and only very rarely is one used in a so-called “mass” shooting.
Contrary to popular belief, the AR-15 and other military-looking semiautomatic rifles are NOT assault rifles! The definition of an assault rifle is one that can fire fully automatically. Nor is the AR-15 the first military-style semiautomatic rifle or even military rifle available to the public. Civilians have been able to purchase M-1 carbines since they became surplus after World War II. Along with the larger caliber M-1 Garand rifle, the M-1 carbine is semiautomatic. It also is capable of firing as many as thirty rounds if a 30-round clip was used. Originally, the carbine came with a 15-round clip while the more powerful Garand used an eight-round clip. The M-1 was initially intended to have a fully automatic feature but the feature was left off due to production considerations. A later version with full-automatic capability was produced as the M-2. Civilians are allowed to own M-1 carbines but the M-2 requires special licensing due to 1934 Federal firearms laws that prohibit the ownership of unlicensed automatic rifles. (The same laws prohibit ownerships of shotguns with less than a 26-inch barrel.)
Air Force chief of staff Curtis Lemay chose the AR-15 as the official rifle of the Air Force to replace the carbine in 1963. Carbines were issued to Air Force air police security forces as well as aircrews and other Air Force personnel who might be exposed to combat and all male Air Force recruits were required to qualify with it in basic training. I went through Air Force basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas in July and early August 1963 and, like every other recruit, was given training on the disassembly and reassembly and cleaning of the carbine then went to the range to fire it. I was looking forward to firing the carbine as I’d had an interest in firearms all my life. My dad had a .22 rifle and several shotguns and I started hunting at a very early age (9 years old). I was given my first firearm, a 20-gauge Ithaca pump shotgun at age eleven (I still have it.) I started hunting squirrels with the .22 at around 12 and fired the 30/06 automatic my dad bought to hunt deer. I didn’t do as well with the carbine as I thought I would. At that time the Air Force used standard targets with bullseyes and all of my shots weren’t in the center of the bullseye. Still, I did okay. After firing, we took our carbines to a nearby shed and broke them down and cleaned them. That time on the firing range was my only exposure to the carbine.
After basic and technical training as an aircraft mechanic, I went to Pope AFB, NC. Sometime the next spring we were told that the Air Force had purchased the M-16 to replace the carbine. I knew that the M-16 was the military designation for the AR-15 but that the military had ordered new features – including a selector switch on the side to allow full-automatic fire. We went to the range and went through the same training as we had at Lackland – instruction on the weapon itself followed by instructions and practice breaking it down and cleaning it – then fired it from the standard Air Force positions, prone, standing and kneeling. The Air Force had gone to silhouette targets rather than conventional bullseyes. The instructor demonstrated the full-automatic feature by firing at a concrete block. The block exploded as it was hit by numerous rounds – I could have done the same thing with a single round from a 30/06. We did not fire it on full-automatic; we only fired single-fired rounds. We were also admonished that firing full-automatic for more than a couple of bursts would burn up the barrel and cause the weapon to jam.
We were also given instruction on the 5.56 millimeter bullet used by the M-16/AR-15. The bullet is actually .223 caliber, which makes it only slightly larger than the .22 bullets I had hunted with and used in the .22 rifle I have in my closet (and which is semiautomatic with a 15-round magazine.) The .223 caliber is not new. Hunting rifles with .222 cartridges to hunt varmints such as groundhogs have been around a long time. However, they were forbidden for use to hunt deer, which required a larger caliber bullet. Although the bullet is the same size but longer, the .223 cartridge is much larger than the common .22, which makes it “high-powered.” (The “high-powered” term is in relation to the smaller .22 and pistol cartridges such as those used in the .30-caliber carbine.)
At the time, the Air Force was the only service using the M-16. Army special forces had acquired some and liked it because of it’s light weight but Army and Marine infantry were using the M-14, a larger .30-caliber rifle. They started issuing M-16s to troops after LBJ sent troops to South Vietnam in 1965. I later went on flying status as an aircrew member and started flying missions in Southeast Asia. The two enlisted men on our C-130 crew were required to carry an M-16 as well as a .38-caliber revolver. All Air Force aircrew were required to carry a pistol on combat and combat support missions. At one point the Air Force ran out of .38s and we carried .45 automatics. We went to the range and learned to clean the pistols then fired them for qualification. I checked out a M-16 and pistol every time we went into the combat zone. Later on they decided we didn’t need the M-16s since we were no longer going into secure fields but we continued carrying the pistol. Fortunately, I never had to fire either one in combat.
With that said, I don’t feel there is a need for people to have AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles, except for one thing which I’ll get into. I’ve only known a few people who owned an AR-15, AK-47 or similar rifle. Although I no longer hunt, my brothers and their sons are hunters. To the best of my knowledge, all of their rifles are bolt-action. I don’t think they even own an automatic except, possibly, for the automatic 30/06 our dad bought back in the late 50s when he started hunting deer. My uncle had a similar rifle but it was a pump rather than an automatic. AR-15s aren’t really suitable for deer hunting. Someone in Uvalde mentioned that he hunts pigs with an AR-15. Wild hogs are rampant in Texas, to the point they have become pests. AR-15-type rifles are popular with some people for a couple of reasons, with one being that the LOOK LIKE military rifles. Actually, there have been actual military rifles available to civilians all along. Some, like the M-1 Garand, are much more powerful than the AR-15. So are most high-powered hunting rifles. In fact, Army and Marine snipers used common hunting rifles with telescopic sights in Vietnam. Sniper rifles have since been developed but they are basically modifications of hunting rifle designs. AR-15s and AR-15 clones are also popular with target shooters. I’m sure it gives them a thrill to shoot at a watermelon and watch it explode (watermelons and other fruits will explode when hit by a .22 long rifle too.)
Now for the really big elephant in the room – the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Only those who wish to construe it otherwise don’t accept that it gives the right of ownership of weapons to ALL Americans. The amendment, which reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” was adopted by the first US Congress in 1791 after a bitter fight over ratification of the Constitution in 1788-89. Although most Americans seem to have the idea that once the Constitution was drawn up, everything was hunky-dory, In reality, there was strong opposition to the new Constitution, particularly in Virginia where the famed patriot Patrick Henry was in strong opposition as were George Mason and James Monroe. Opposition was so strong that James Madison was in danger of losing the election to the First US Congress to Monroe or a New England Baptist minister named John Leland who pastored a church in Orange. Madison finally convinced Leland to drop out of the race and support him by promising to introduce a bill of rights.
One of the key points of the anti-Federalists, as those in opposition to the Constitution and a Federal government were called, was the maintaining of a standing army. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provided for a standing army under the command of the President, who would also command the militia when called into Federal service (which meant the Constitution recognized the militia.) By definition, the militia act of 1792 defined the militia as all able-bodied white men from age 18-45. During the debate over the Constitution, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, in particular, advocated that the militia would stand as a defense against any standing army that a president or Congress might attempt to use to suppress the rights of citizens. Hamilton, who was an immigrant from the British West Indies and was commissioned in the Continental Army and served as Washington’s aide de camp, proposed that the militia be part of the army while Madison saw the militia as a safeguard against it. Leftists zero in on the militia clause as the intent of the Second Amendment and link it to the modern National Guard when Madison intended just the opposite.
Hamilton’s views were no doubt prompted by many Continentals lack of confidence in militias during the just concluded Revolution. They saw the militias as ill-disciplined and likely to break and run when under fire in a war where the Continental Army was trying to fight on British terms, meaning standing in lines on fields and shooting back and forth at each other in European style. Hamilton’s service was all in the North and he wasn’t present at Kings Mountain, where a force of “overmountain men” from the Carolina and Virginia frontier which later became Kentucky and Tennessee, routed a larger force of British and loyalists under Major Patrick Ferguson, or Cowpens, where militia under General Daniel Morgan fired the first volley at British troops under Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton then pretended to break and run, thus suckering the British into a trap. Militias, particularly those from the Carolinas and Virginias, were often made up of men who had fought Indians and were used to firing from concealment. In many respects, they were the forerunners of modern warfare as nations moved away from the European-style toward armies trained to fight without needlessly exposing themselves.
Madison, who was born and raised in Virginia, saw the militia as local organizations that could be called up by the states in opposition to the Federals. He made this clear in his missive now known as Federalist 46 in which he said: “Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the state governments with the people on their side would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield in the United States an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.” Madison also recognized that much of the United States was still frontier and that arms, particularly firearms, were needed both to hunt for food and for defense against hostile Indians as well as outlaws. There can be no doubt that Madison saw the necessity of prohibiting Congress from passing any laws that would disarm American citizens.
Opposition to independent state militias rose after the War Between the States when the seceded states were able to quickly raise an army of men. The Federals also depended on state militias and volunteers raised by the states to fill out the Union army. However, it wasn’t until after the Spanish-American War that Congress incorporated the National Guard into the US Army. The Militia Act of 1903, commonly called the Dick Act after Ohio Republican Charles Dick, an Ohio National Guardsman who had served during the Spanish-American War, effectively made the National Guard part of the United States Army. In the modern military, Army Guard and Air National Guard troops are extensions of the active duty forces.
I see the AR-15 and other semiautomatic rifles as important to James Madison’s original intent. Although they are not military weapons per se, they are equal to the M-16 and its successors in every respect. Democrats and liberals (both words are oxymorons) are scared shitless by the millions of firearms in American civilian hands. No one really knows how many AR-15s and AR-15 clones are in civilian hands, but estimates indicate there are well over 20 million. President Joe Biden recently commented that if Americans were to revolt, they’d be going up against tanks and F-15s. Mr. Biden apparently is not aware that a very large percentage of the American arsenal is in state hands, and in the event of a revolution, many National Guard, Air National Guard and possibly active duty and Reserve units would join it. That’s the main reason modern military commanders are trying to purge their units of men and women who don’t go along with current “woke” political thought. Democrats like Beto O’Rourke want to confiscate every firearm in America because they see armed Americans as a barrier to their goals. They’re using Uvalde as ammunition for their efforts.
 Just how age became a factor at that time is unclear since neither of the accused shooters was under age 18. They were both adults.