Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2: Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Breyer’s Self-Refuting Dissent

“…Insofar as the Framers focused at all on the tiny fraction of the population living in large cities, they would have been aware that these city dwellers were subject to firearm restrictions that their rural counterparts were not. They are unlikely then to have thought of a right to keep loaded handguns in homes to confront intruders in urban settings as central. And the subsequent development of modern urban police departments, by diminishing the need to keep loaded guns nearby in case of intruders, would have moved any such right even further away from the heart of the amendment’s more basic protective ends…”

—-Justice Breyer, dissenting in the 2008 landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that the Second Amendment indeed protected as an enumerated right an individual’s right t”o possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

Brava to Ann Althouse, who recalled the passage above while discussing still more of the increasingly infuriating fact now emerging about the failure, incompetence and cowardice of the Uvalde, Texas police when a homicidal maniac began shooting kids in the Robb Elementary School.

I wrote, before seeing this, “The argument that citizens shouldn’t have access to guns isn’t supported by the alleged conduct by the police in this tragedy. In fact, the opposite is the case. If police won’t take risks to save endangered children and use their weapons, then citizens must have the tools to do the job the police won’t.”

Ann wrote, in response to the Times report that “when specially equipped federal immigration agents arrived at the elementary school…the local police at the scene would not allow them to go after the gunman…according to two officials briefed on the situation.”:

If the police don’t arrive and save us from violence, how can this event support the argument for restricting guns? This is the very situation that makes the most responsible people want to own guns. It reminds me of the summer of 2020, when there were riots, and the police stood down.

Or the Rodney King riots, where the LA police made local Korean businesses under siege fend for themselves.
Or Baltimore’s Freddy Gray riots, when the mayor also ordered police to “stand down.”
Other reports today on the complete police botch…

Children were calling for help, shots were being fired, kids were dying, and the Uvalde police were waiting for…something.

  • “Police admitted to a stunning string of failures — including driving right by the gunman — in responding to the Texas school shooting while children were being massacred inside, with the head of the state’s Department of Public Safety saying the time for making excuses about the botched response was over.”

Waiting to confront the shooter for nearly an hour was, NBC reports authorities as admitting, “the wrong decision.”


It would be profoundly ironic if this horrific tragedy immediately seized upon by anti-gun zealots as exemplifying the need to remove individual gun rights emerged as a persuasive example of why they must be protected.

10 thoughts on “Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2: Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Breyer’s Self-Refuting Dissent

  1. Did any founding father turn in any weapon to any armory at any time or any place?
    Wouldn’t they have made a public showing of it once the bill of rights was adopted if that was their intent?

  2. Reading that dissent, I have to wonder whether Breyer understood he was a judge on the US Supreme Court, and not counsel for King George III.

    • An incident in a small city caused by someone who probably never lived in a large, urban area makes you wish a racial profiling, torturing general was real, so he can lead an invasion of inner cities and detain anyone he wants just based off of how they look.

  3. The police have absolutely no excuse for not going in and blasting that kid immediately. None. When shots are being fired, it is their commissioned duty to go into harm’s way. Damn the procedures and damn the second guessing of society.

    But let’s not forget we have just undergone just under a decade of questioning every last decision cops make – even after it turns out that they were 100% justified in their conduct – we’ve dragged their character through the mud and ruined their lives – despite their actions turning out to have been correct.

    We’ve bogged cops down with numerous procedures that make 100% sense in a non-combat scenario – graduated escalation of force – making sure perimeters are secured – making sure back up is set in place – making sure reports are handled properly.

    The police officers have NO excuse for not acting – but let’s not pretend like society hasn’t spent a great deal of cultural energy turning their thought processes during emergencies into a glaciated morass.

  4. T.he problem is: did any of the police at the scene know that there were children calling 911 from inside? Did that info get passed from the call center to the field units? They cannot act on information that they do not have.

    The police commander, COP?, whoever.. said most of the shooting occurred prior to police arrival and that it was relatively quiet…. making him think it had progresses to a hostage or barricaded suspect situation, not an active shooter.

    No excuse? If the commander tells them to hold back, and they do not, there will be hell to pay…. And how do they criticize those restraining the parents from entering on their own… if they did not, who would be blamed for the additional deaths?

    There are far too many unanswered, and many unasked, questions at this point to be making judgements.

    • Some judgements. The judgment that the police left a man with gun inside the school for almost an hour without doing anything—except stop the border patrol and parents from intervening–and that this was a mistake had been made by police authorities themselves.

      • I was the first supervisor of my previous agency’s SRO program, and I helped teach Active Shooter Response to all our law enforcement deputies for nearly fifteen years. Standard doctrine since Columbine has been for the first two officers on the scene of an active shooter incident to enter and respond directly to neutralize the threat. Additional pairs of officers will respond as they arrive. Period. Our agency policy was that a single deputy arriving, and hearing gunfire, would respond alone after communicating his point of entry and direction to other responding deputies not yet on the scene. Such direct responses are directly counter to traditional “SWAT” doctrine which teaches systematic clearing of buildings room-by-room, etc., and never passing an uncleared area. In our case, we moved deliberately but quickly -sometimes almost running- down hallways toward the sounds of gunfire, alone or with a partner. We rehearsed these responses multiple times every year, often using actual school buildings when school was not in session. Often, teachers were invited to observe. Every sworn deputy up to and including the rank of captain was required to attend this training.
        During each of these sessions, some instructors role-played being the bad guys, helping critique the responses. As both a “bad guy” and a “good guy,” I have been shot by more Airsoft and Simunition rounds than I could count. The longest it ever took a responding deputy or deputies to neutralize an active threat (any situation which did not turn out to be a simulated hostage-taking or barricaded subject, with no casualties) in our training scenarios was just over six minutes after entry (this in a very large high school, which seemed like an eternity), with the average being about four minutes. In a real incident, some of us might have become casualties, but we had a standing joke that they might name a school after us if we died saving kids. I thank God that we never had a real active shooter incident at our schools, and I know that no plan is infallible, but I never had a serious doubt that any of our officers would fail to act appropriately.
        You can well imagine my reaction to the apparent dereliction by the officers in Uvalde.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.