Tough times, they say, make tough people. They also apparently make a good time for fake tough guys to expose themselves as cowards.
Examples are emerging as more details come to light about the massacre at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., and the responses of politicians, companies and cops in its wake. To be clear–and for purposes of the requisite disclaimer to pre-empt the Blue Lives crowd that’ll jump in my DMs after reading this–there were heroes in Uvalde.
The teachers who shepherded hundreds of children into locked classrooms and eventually out of the building while the killer wiped out their pupils and peers deserve every reward society can offer. The children who saved themselves and others by disguising themselves as cadavers using their expired classmates’ blood are avatars of bravery. The parents who stood up to feckless cops, including one mother who was reportedly handcuffed and uncuffed, only to scale a fence and rescue her own kids, have special places in heaven awaiting them. Likewise for the Border Patrol agents who eventually cut down the killer–assuming that the latest law enforcement version of events is actually true.
But their heroics also expose the cowards who, until this week, were loud and proud about their stances on making money from guns, taking money from gun lobbyists and on the ever-fading myth of the valiant, hero cop. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Canadian weakling who took more money from the gun lobby than anyone else in Congress, ditched his Yosemite Sam act and ran for the hills after a reporter from Sky News didn’t accept his attempt to skirt a direct question about why only American kids get mowed down in their classrooms with AR-15s.
But we already knew Cruz was no stranger to running in a time of crisis.
Daniel Defense, the Georgia company which manufactured the guns that were bought legally and then used by the 18-year-old assassin in Uvalde, earlier this month proudly posted a grotesque image to its Twitter account of a little boy holding–you guessed it, an assault rifle. The caption? A Bible verse, Proverbs 22:6 specifically: “Train up a child in their way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
But after their product was used to extinguish 19 children’s opportunity to be trained up in any way possible, Daniel Defense lost its moxy and locked its Twitter account. They’ve also decided to pull out of participating in the NRA’s annual convention, which is unconscionably being held in Texas as we speak. No more scripture for them, although Revelations 21:8 comes to mind: “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers…and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Which brings us back to the cops. It’d be wrong to paint every Uvalde officer with a broad brush, but the city’s police department has lots of explaining to do and so far, they’re failing that assignment. Videos have emerged of cops cuffing, tackling and otherwise restraining frantic parents while the shooter was still inside the school, alive. The local police’s initial story that the shooter was initially “engaged” before making his way inside now appears to be a fabrication.
It’s possible those changing stories could be the result of evolving information during a crisis of the magnitude that a small town department like Uvalde’s wasn’t capable of handling. But we also live in a time where die-hard police supporters continue to prop up the myth of superhero cops who always deserve the benefit of the doubt.
With 19 dead kids and grieving parents demanding answers about the police’s behavior in their final moments, that’s not a benefit we should be willing to extend here.