And now we have yet another timeline of the beginning of this incident.
While I have some respect for Heather, and more for Goofy, the bottom line is that we still don’t really know how the interactions between police and the gunman unfolded.
The consistent elements are that the grandmother was shot, the grandparent’s pickup truck was taken and then crashed near the school, and that the shooter entered through a rear door of the school.
What the police did is constantly changing.
This is both concerning and unsurprising. The consistent elements of the event are those for which there is clear physical evidence. Grandma is in the hospital. The wrecked truck is at the side of the road. Entering through the rear door either has multiple consistent witnesses or is the only possible path of entry. All of this is unsurprising.
What concerns me are the police actions. Who is talking about what the officers did? Are these witnesses to the event? If so, inconsistencies are expected. Witnesses almost always differ in some part of their recollection of an event like this. Every decent news reporter knows this, as does every professional investigator. So they should not be talking to the public about this until all witnesses have been interviewed and the differences in their accounts of the event can be identified and investigated further.
We also need to hear from the actual officers involved. I would not expect them to have talked to anyone in the media. Senior officers on the scene and official investigators will likely remind the officers involved that they should not talk to the media. So I really doubt their accounts and reports have been included in any of the reporting so far.
But what concerns me is that people who should know better are relaying this partial information - which, IMHO, is nothing more than unsubstantiated rumor. It’s one thing for a reporter to report on witnesses’ accounts. Those are normally clearly identified as the account of a witness and are ideally delivered via video or audio interviews, not the reporter’s summary.
Even worse, public officials who should know better are spreading these unvetted accounts. Governor Abbott has already been publicly embarrassed by repeating what he’s heard. I have no problem with him receiving briefings on what is believed to be known so far, but he should not be repeating those briefings until the facts are verified. But he’s a politician - although a high level one who should be able to shut his trap after a confidential briefing. I’m more concerned about the DPS folks who are giving out this information in press conferences. They are displaying an amazing amount of ineptitude in this event.
I also have another potential concern. The local police are already coming under fire for their handling of this situation. That means there is some pressure on the individual officers to put their actions into the best light possible. I don’t want to accuse any of them of anything at this point. I just want to recognize the external pressures that exist. My hope is that they would tell the truth about their actions and refuse to participate in any whitewashing or more nefarious cover up.
I would also trust that investigators have already interviewed the officers on the scene and that the officers have filed the appropriate written reports of their actions that day.
The only thing I’m sure of at this point is that this event is going to become a case study for many future students of political science, journalism, police academies, and probably some others in how to handle (or really, how NOT to handle) information reporting and dissemination after a significant newsworthy event.