Greg Abbott's Turn to Anger at Police Response in Uvalde Exposes a Blind Spot for Republican Politicians

Greg Abbott's Turn to Anger at Police Response in Uvalde Exposes a Blind Spot for Republican Politicians
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

As RedState reported earlier on Friday, Gregg Abbott’s prior praise of the police in Uvalde, TX, turned to anger after it became clear he was lied to. Contrary to early reports that made it seem as if the response was carried out in the best way possible given the situation, we now know the local police not only waited around for an hour but also attempted to stop the Border Patrol agents who eventually killed the shooter from entering the barricaded classroom.

In other words, the situation could have actually been worse had the local police not been defied, which is an unbelievable thing to contemplate given the carnage that did take place. Yet, I believe Abbott’s sudden shift exposes a blind spot that has so often plagued Republican politicians.

My position towards the police is fairly nuanced. I believe the overwhelming majority of law enforcement do a tough job to the best of their ability. Still, I’ve seen far too many examples, ranging from abuse of power to complete ineptness, to ever generically “back the blue” without question. Too many GOP officials haven’t learned that lesson, though.

Abbott rushed to defend and praise the police early on, even as there was already mounting evidence that things had not only gone terribly wrong with the response, but that much of what transpired was self-inflicted by inexplicable decision making. That’s an issue in that it demonstrates a lack of caution and critical thinking in these situations.

It was known from the start that officers had engaged the shooter within minutes of the massacre starting inside the school building. Abbott’s skepticism should have been awakened immediately given the circumstances. How did a shooter manage to kill 21 people when he was supposedly engaged so quickly? None of what was being said made sense.

So yes, Abbott was misled and should be furious about that, but he also shouldn’t have allowed himself to be misled in the first place. There was no reason to rush out with platitudes about how great the police are, when the red flags were waving strongly and brightly that something had gone badly wrong with the response.

Republicans need to respect law enforcement, and we should be the party that does the most to promote public safety. But I also think it’s time for the GOP to stop being so reflexive in how they respond in situations like this. If we are going to wait for the facts to condemn the police (a process that has been completed in this situation), we should also wait for the facts before putting our stamp of approval on their actions.

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