Uvalde’s heavily-armed $4m SWAT team reportedly wait outside as children are shot

Uvalde county sign
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21 people have been killed in America’s latest school massacre. The shooting spree at an elementary school in the town of Uvalde in Texas has once again sparked a debate about the US’s gun laws. However, it has also raised questions about policing in the US – particularly about the militarised nature of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams.

Uvalde’s own SWAT team, it is being claimed, absorbed up 40 percent of the town’s municipal budget. And yet its members did not seem to do enough to intervene as the shootings took place on Wednesday 25 May:

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Small-town SWAT

Pictures emerged of the military-grade hardware the teams use, despite Uvalde being a town of only around 15,000 inhabitants:

Other social media users found further images of the town’s cops in military-style gear during training:

Others posted video of the police stopping desperate parents who wanted to help their kids:

Parents vs cops

One reporter said that when the panicked parents told the heavily armed police to go into the school and stop the attack, the cops simply refused – to the point that parents wanted to go in themselves:

Meanwhile, some marvelled at the amount of the local budget the apparently ineffective police force absorbed:

Another commenter asked what had happened to the supposed ‘Thin Blue Line’, a common trope for the far-right which characterises police as being the last defence between civilisation and barbarism:

AP News reported on Thursday 26 May that questions were being asked about why it took 40 minutes to an hour from the start of the attack for the shooter, named as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, to be shot and killed by tactical teams.

These questions will likely include what exactly the function of heavily armed police is. Especially if, when called upon to intervene with deadly force, they stand on the sidelines arguing with the parents of those under attack.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Billy Hathorn, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under Cc BY-SA 3.0.

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