Veteran Navy SEAL Jimmy Graham said a newly released video showing police officers standing idle inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May amid a deranged gunman’s rampage is “hard to watch.”
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“Sitting around … 74 minutes waiting to act, that bothers me,” Graham said, speaking of security footage that shows officers in the school hallway for more than an hour while the gunman was inside classrooms. “It bothers me a lot as a father of four.”
Media outlets have noted the footage, sparking widespread rebuke, is also spawning more questions than answers.
“The video sheds no light on why officers waited so long to confront the gunman, nor does it reveal who was responsible for the delay,” CNN said of the footage. “In fact, days after its publication by the Austin American-Statesman, the video raises more questions than answers.”
As for Graham, he said the officers in the video have some of the best gear and materials imaginable, from ballistic shields to body armor. Yet they were seemingly unprepared to take action that day.
Listen to the ex-Navy SEAL discuss the video:
“You see all this stuff and there was one thing missing, and that was the grit to go in there and save children’s lives,” Graham said.
While the cops present in the video reportedly underwent active-shooter training recently, Graham said they were still clearly not equipped to deal with the dire situation.
The actions that were finally taken at the end of the situation, he argued, could have happened early on.
“Someone’s hurting children. Solutions stop them, right?” he asked. “So what was done in the last 30 seconds could have been done in the first 30 seconds on scene.”
Graham, CEO of Able Shepherd, a training program equipping people to protect churches, schools, and other institutions, said people must discuss what went wrong in Uvalde, especially considering these sorts of issues have already been solved by law enforcement in other areas.
“Since Columbine, this has been worked on and we’ve come up with a pretty good place to start,” he said, explaining that the first officers on the scene should have, in his view, taken action.
“You can hear gunshots. I tell my students, ‘Don’t think gunshot; think dead kids,'” Graham said. “Why? Because it’s brash enough to make them move. It gets you moving when you think like that. It means, if the problem is that children are dying, the solution is to make it stop.”
Graham said it’s essential to ensure police know how to actually take action in events like this, stressing the importance of practical training versus simply checking off a box that some sort of training unfolded.
Despite anger and furor over the Uvalde video, Graham encouraged people to show “truth and grace.”
“Let’s have the courage to find the truth and face that, and we need to administer grace,” he said. “These are people who have the heart to serve, so we do need to pray for them, give room for them to grow.”
A report by a special Texas House Committee released Sunday found “systematic failures” plagued the police response. And while most victims likely wouldn’t have been saved due to their injuries — even with a swift police response — some could have plausibly survived if were saved more rapidly.
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