Legit or illegit in the law, Jared Yanis asks the liability question: if the police higher-ups give the impression that they are in charge and that they are busy with effecting a rescue, but then, contrary to this, provide a standdown order to subordinate LEOs even while stopping others (like the parents of the kids who are getting slaughtered) from doing the necessary, are at least the police higher-ups liable in some way?
Meanwhile, I’m no lawyer, not a cop. But I do have some observations of my own.
(1) The breachability of the door: even if you have no breaching explosives or other tools, let’s take the worst case scenario, a steel security door meant to stop fires and bullets. Rated 1-10, availability, say, for schools, such doors are typically limited from ratings 1-8. But even level 10 is not considered bullet proof, but rather bullet resistant. This means that a good fist full of shots from a rifle carried by some LEOs in the trunks of their cruisers (say, something throwing out a 7.62 or even a 5.56), or simply a solid fist-full of bullets from pistols carried by all LEOs, all these doors will fail, guaranteed. If there are no windows and you don’t know where victims are at, you throw yourself to the floor in the corridor opposite the door though not directly in front of it, and angle a heap of bullets upward around any locking mechanisms and the frame of the door. What I mean is, you let the bullets fly, well placed, but quite continuously. With that, just a bit of brute force will make such a door fly open. Anyone familiar with guns and who practices scenarios knows this. Is there something absolutely impossibly unique about this door at this school, on paper? Still, you never know in real-world circumstances if that’s fact, until you try. But you try.
(2) There is no such thing as an active shooter with large numbers of people involved that turns into a hostage situation. That’s a very outdated way of thinking with inapplicable circumstances of hijackings and bank robberies where aggressors wanted to stay alive. Regardless of knowing about ongoing 911 calls from the kids, regardless of 911 calls taking place or not, you must assume that there are kids who, even if shot, are still alive and in need of urgent medical assistance. Are there still sporadic shots after a barrage of slaughter, you know, with those shots targeting LEOs. Surely. Whether or not it could ever be proved to be the case, in the fog of war you have to assume that at least some of those shots are aimed at helpless kids who caught breathing, hearts beating.
Here’s the point: The kids have no guns. They have no ballistic vests. There simply is no excuse for not going in as soon as physically possible. None.
I agree with Jared. There is a question of liability.
But just say that no matter what there is liability and no matter what you’ll be guilty. Who cares? When it comes to doing the rescue or not, you just do the rescue, come what may. You gotta.
I’ve been shot at – really a lot – in my life. More recently, I’ve been a police chaplain under very many regimes and have been in a thousand situations, some of them very immediately dangerous, some involving SWAT-esque no-knock entries, some involving traffic stops going wrong, some domestics, some involving the clearing of a school with a reported “guy with a gun” after school hours with not one person involved hesitating even a nano-second, as you don’t know if a “guy with a gun” in the school has kids with him who he’s turned on, and you don’t know around which of the 100,000 corners you’ll find a gun in your face. You just do it. Someone could need life saving attention immediately.
This isn’t about the LEOs’ safety.
This is about the safety of victims who may still be alive.
That’s the point.