Uvalde’s Biggest Mistake Was Trusting the Police to “Keep Us Safe”

by | May 31, 2022 | Headline News | 18 comments

This article was originally published by Ryan McMaken at The Mises Institute. 

The Uvalde police have helped demonstrate, yet again, what has long been clear: when you’re facing a maniac with a gun, don’t count on the government’s uniformed bureaucrats with badges to help you. As we learned this week, not even a child begging for help on a 911 call will get the police to confront a shooter.

Moreover, given the lack of competence and effort consistently displayed by police in cases where they face real danger—as at Columbine, Parkland, and Uvalde—it’s clearly a matter of chance as to whether the local police in whatever town are willing to risk “officer safety” for the sake of public safety.

Contrary to what gun control advocates think, this reality sends a powerful message against gun control: we can’t trust the government’s armed enforcers to provide any measure of safety, and we absolutely need a right to private self-defense, to private security, and accountable trained professionals who are not the bloated, overpaid, branch of the government bureaucracy known as “law enforcement.”

“Back the Blue” Plays into the Hands of Gun Control Advocates

When it comes to evaluating the disastrous police cowardice and incompetence in Uvalde’s Robb Elementary last week, those who blindly defend the police are essentially making the same argument as those who want to destroy the right to private self-defense: “the police did as much as they could, but a single untrained teenager with a gun is just too much to handle for 20 or more trained police officers who are armed to the teeth.”

For gun controllers, the takeaway from this is “see, these guns are so powerful, the cops were left impotent in Uvalde.”

The police defenders can only shrug and admit the same thing: “our heroic men and women did all they could do! That guy was just too tough, fast, and smart for us!”

This sends a message to casual observers of the gun debate—which is most of the public. It suggests those “assault rifles” the Left is always talking about are really “weapons of war”, and allow a single person to outgun an entire police force. Many people will ask themselves: why would any person need such a thing?

But what retort can the police defenders offer to this? It seems they can only repeat something about how our selfless heroes are beyond criticism and that we should keep trusting the regime, its police, and its schools to “keep us safe.”

Meanwhile, gun control advocates are mocking the old conservative line that “a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun.” It’s difficult to mount an effective response to this if one is committed to the idea that the Uvalde police were even remotely competent or conscientious in their work. If it’s true that Uvalde police were in any way doing their best, then an entire department of “good guys with guns” could truly do nothing to stop one person with an AR-15.

The reality, however, is that the Uvalde police were most certainly not “good guys with guns.” They are cowards clad in impressive-looking taxpayer-funded gear who made the situation worse. As their own supervisors admit, they sat around waiting for backup because had they actually tried to stop the shooter, the police “could’ve been shot.”

The police at Uvalde were not just useless in terms of public safety. They actively got in the way of public safety. When a group of parents—some of whom were likely armed—attempted to intervene in the school themselves, the police literally assaulted the parents. Witnesses report police at the scene tackling women, pepper-spraying men, and drawing their tasers in order to further intimidate the parents. The police did this while the killer was rampaging inside the school. Naturally, the police, swaggering around in their cowboy hats and body armor, didn’t like being shown up by the uppity private citizens of the town.

Enforcing Gun Laws Also Requires “Good Guys with Guns”

Repeated displays of incompetence from police agencies also call into question the idea that these same bureaucrats could effectively enforce gun prohibition laws.

A longstanding problem with prohibition—whether we’re talking guns, drugs, or alcohol—is that it tends to be only effective in keeping prohibited objects out of the hands of relatively law-abiding citizens. But when it comes to real criminals, it’s a very different story.

In the case of drugs, we’ve seen this many times over. Ordinary people often avoid drugs because they don’t want to get in trouble with the law. The professional criminals are a totally different story, and law enforcement has never managed to keep committed drug runners from plying their trade.

Similarly, it’s easy for police to target ordinary law-abiding people when it comes to gun prohibition. These people are unlikely to buy or sell guns in the black market or employ connections with illegal gun runners to get the guns they want. Thus, it’s a safe bet that new gun prohibitions will disarm peaceful people, but it’s not at all a safe bet that violent felons will be equally disarmed.

Confronting depraved and violent criminals requires real work and real danger. Enforcing laws against those people ultimately requires “a good guy with a gun.” When it comes to government police, however, we’ve seen at Uvalde and Parkland the quality of work we should expect. We’ve seen that when it comes to doing dangerous work, police are often uninterested.

Gun control advocates are now highlighting police inaction when it comes to shootings like Uvalde. They think it helps their case. Yet the same people continue to cling to the unwarranted notion that police would be competent enforcers of gun laws. The fact is we have every reason to assume the police will be often unreliable in both cases.

The Right to Bear Arms Is Rooted in Opposition to Regime Power

It’s always an odd mix when advocates of the right to self-defense also profess to enthusiastically support government police. Historically, the philosophy behind private gun ownership has always been a philosophy of strong skepticism of a government’s ability or inclination to “keep us safe.” 

Certainly, in the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, legal protections of gun ownership were rooted in the assumption that the governments’ “public safety” personnel were inadequate to keep the peace or provide safety. Local police forces were viewed as corrupt and as partisan hacks who served only elected officials and party machines. Professional military personnel were viewed as people who were too lazy to make a living through honest work. There was fear that granting greater military or policing power to the state would result in abuse of that power.

This is why Americans before the twentieth century relied largely on private security and decentralized militias.

Much of the debate revolved around the balance between private coercive power and the state’s coercive power. It was understood that granting more of this power to government personnel necessarily decreased the relative strength of the private citizens’ coercive power. That is if the police are better funded and more well-armed than private citizens—this puts the private citizen at a disadvantage.

The state, after all, is fundamentally built on the idea of securing a monopoly on the means of coercion. The more power that is given to the police, the more complete this monopoly becomes.

Gun Control Tips the Balance Toward More Relative Power for Felons and for the Regime

Out of fear of private-sector criminals, ordinary law-abiding people have repeatedly granted a stronger and stronger monopoly on coercion to governments over time. Police budgets are now immense, law enforcement agencies are flush with cash and fond of buying military-style equipment for use against the public. Adopting new gun control measures would further tip the balance toward greater government monopolies on coercion. But, given what we’ve seen from police in Uvalde, we have no reason to believe this ever-increasing enhancement of the state’s power would actually translate into more public safety.

Nevertheless, in the wake of the Uvalde massacre, NRA chief Wayne Lapierre was still beating the same old tired drum, claiming—contrary to all the evidence—that the nation’s police departments need even more tax money. It’s not surprising that this is the only “idea” they have to offer. When one’s alleged commitment to private gun ownership is bundled with unqualified support for government police, it’s impossible to argue the obvious: that private self-defense is essential because the government has repeatedly shown it has little interest in providing public safety.

 

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    Comments

    18 Comments

    1. Anonymous

      How did that POS afford those long rifles.

      • Anonymous

        He worked, he had a part time job and no cost of living involved on his part.

    2. Jay

      uvalde booed abbott are they for orourke

    3. Genius

      Why would you trust the cops for anything? They won’t even give you a jumpstart if your stranded on the road. They don’t serve the people, they are just revenue makers. Sure they solve some crimes and jail criminals but other than that they do their best to rob you for victimless crimes.

      • Jesse

        You can trust this blue line gang to follow orders. They will come for your guns. They will come to inject you with poison and sieze your preps. They will stand down and allow our southern border to be overrun. They will enforce unconstitutional “laws”. They will protect the UN-ELECTED POS in the office of the president.

        Had enough yet?

        • Anonymous

          vote Republican, that’ll fix it!

    4. Spider25

      If you are a police officer and the sound of gun fire in a gun free zone where children are in school does not compel you to do the right thing and go to the sound of gun fire to engage the suspect and protect innocent kids then you are a coward pos that should not be in law enforcement period.

      How we have fallen, in the 60s when Charles Whitman was on his rampage , citizens in the street were taking pot shots at him. Protect the kids and get an armed guard in every school!

      • Nancy

        Want the easy answer?
        “Google” the court case Warren vs. the District of Columbia to learn what the police officer’s job really is. The courts say something that we have never been told by the government. The cop that sat in his squad car during the shooting at the high school, a couple of years ago, was “doing his job”!!!!

    5. Anonymous

      Everyone is ignoring the real cause of this incident, along with all the others, and no one, particularly politicians, are willing to even talk about it much less try to introduce legislation to fix it.

      Don’t know what it is yourself?

      Research June 25, 1962 and you’ll find the pertinent information.

    6. cranerigger

      Gun-removal-fools fail to see the problem. Firearms provide an opportunity for the 98-year-old woman to protect herself from the largest predator criminal. Many crimes are thwarted by a law-abiding citizen like me. Restricting the access to firearms strengthens the position of criminals and punishes the law-abiding citizens. Think rationally, penalize the criminals, and remove irresponsible & insane people from polite society.

      Do you really believe True-Dope & Brandon have the answer? And tell me one thing, “why the hell were the security doors open in the school?”

      • Jesse

        Worse still: Opened “minutes” before bad guy entered.

        No way. Simply too much for coincidence.

        • Anonymous

          Depends a bit on how many minutes were involved and what else that door was normally used for.

          And whether or not the door lock was reliable and locked without fail every time it was used.

    7. Between Three Centuries

      If there were good cops, the good cops would get rid of the bad cops. They would arrest their fellow officers and testify against them for the unconstitutional crimes they commit. Since this doesn’t happen and there is an unwritten rule against this and they stick together and lie for each other no matter what, there is no such thing as a good cop.

    8. Darth Skippy

      ‘Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.’
      — attributed to Adams

      99% of people in my demoralized state should not come anywhere near the power of life-and-death, at the press of a button.

      If they get uploaded into Montero, it’s not going to pass a Turing test.

    9. alfie

      Not all of the police are jerks and a– holes, there are some pretty decent guys, just trying to make a living in a field that nobody else wants to do, but having said that, I do know of or remember two or three local city cops from thirty, forty years ago that were real a– holes. Two were in the military and combat and the third one was just a plain out right jerk and a– hole ( must have been born that way ). Having said that

    10. zappo

      the stolen presidency rejects hardening schools because it undercuts murdering children to push anti-gun legislation

    11. zappy

      this isn’t a cop issue, this is a government engineered issue

      the cops are government employees and the government employeees above they forced them to stand down, same with doctors who inject poison based on direction from government. if you want the heads of these cops cut off, then surely all doctors should face a much harsher sentence.

      this isn’t a gun issue, this is a government political issue

      the White House is secured, Congress is secured, State Government is secured, so why are schools intentionally NOT secured? to me, the majority of school shootings are engineered events.

      in 2012 oBummer legalized psychological warfare against US citizens. since then the US government has bombarded citizens with psychological nonsense which has been designed by professional psychopaths. throw in anti depressants and you have incapacitated the reasoning capabilities of the majority of citizens (can you say “marxism”?)

      the US government is by far the #1 mass murderer on the plant, there are about 150 countries and 750 US overseas military bases.

      if you have accepted the US monstrocity mass murdering non-citizens, it is illogical to expect them to treat US citizens much differently

      which brings us full circle back to school shootings.

      it is my opinion that directly or indirectly these are government enginneered events, a product of professionally designed psychological warfare incessantly vomited onto citizens, scrambling the brains of intellectually insecure students and children, big pharma chemical poisioning, marxist tyrrany and an intentional decision to do anything to secure schools because it undercuts mass murdering children which is leverages into gun control nonsense.

    12. NoVaxCidentForMe

      Hey You fucked up! You trusted us!

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