So, would YOU have charged the Uvalde school shooter?

Think hard before you answer the question.

Last week in the WSJ, columnist Peggy Noonan opined:

I don’t understand those saying with nonjudgmental empathy, “I’m not sure I would have gone in.”


I understand that nonjudgmental empathy completely, Peggy.

I hate to say it, but I doubt that I would have run in.

For perspective, here are some things that I would do:

  • I’d donate a critical organ to one of my grandkids … even if the likelihood of my survival was far less than 50-50
  • I’d run in front of an oncoming bus to try to save an inattentive grandkid who wandered into harm’s way.

OK, so what makes those situations different than charging the Uvalde shooter?

  • First, they’re my grandkids … literal “skin in the game”
  • Second, there’s some likelihood that I might save the periled kid
  • Third, I think (maybe mistakenly) that I would be physically equipped to succeed.
  • Fourth, both “rescues” would be risky, but they’re not certain suicide missions.

Remove any of those 4 conditions and the likelihood of my intervening goes down.

Does that make me a coward … or a bad person?

Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Just shows that I’m human … and, reasonably rational, right?


An Uvalde case example

For the record, there was one local law officer (who was not part of the official rescue team) who did run in with a shotgun to save his wife (a teacher) and his daughter (a student).

Run that case against my 4 personal criteria.

His immediate family was involved, his wife & daughter were not in the shooter-barricaded classroom, he was armed (albeit with only a shotgun), and he had law enforcement training.

He had his family’s “skin in the game”, there was a reasonable likelihood of success, and he had some training & equipment … so it wasn’t a certain suicide mission.

So, with this perspective, would you have gone into the school?


BTW: Noonan dismisses my argument.

She’d argue that my criteria don’t apply to law enforcement officers since:

It was their job to go in.

If you can’t cut it, then don’t join and get the badge, the gun and the pension.

We can’t let it settle in that the police can’t be relied on to be physically braver than other people.

An implicit agreement in going into the profession is that you’re physically brave.

Whoa, Peggy.

In a subsequent post. I’ll offer an alternative point-of-view on the “implicit agreement” that Noonan asserts …

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