Where Are the Hard Men?

Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way!

This is a direct quote from General George S. Patton, Jr. This military principle by General Patton immediately came to Gumshoe’s mind when it was reported that police officers were ordered to wait in a hallway during the recent Uvalde, Texas elementary school massacre.

Shots were still being fired by this evil-possessed bastard! The 911 pleas for the police to rescue them went unheeded from the helpless and doomed school kids. They were trapped inside the killing field. They had somehow survived the initial rifle fusillade. Their fate was sealed.

Their 911 calls ceased as the murderer took his time and pleasure to execute them. Easy targets to be sure as they were lying along the bloodied floor with their freshly killed classmates. Unmitigated and unimaginable human carnage.

Damn him to a special place in Hell! He had the presence of mind to exact his rage on defenseless kids. Mental illness my a**!

Gumshoe is righteously angry and has unfathomable professional resentment for the commanding officer in charge at the scene. His chosen order (“inaction”) to stand down was just inconceivable and cowardly by any measure of expected police performance in Gumshoe’s unfiltered opinion. He is an embarrassment to all law enforcement professionals and he should be held accountable in the days to come. No excuse possible.

Damn the incompetence!

Cops are trained to run to the gunfire and work as a team to eliminate the threat. There is never a compromise between self-preservation versus selflessness to save others. That’s what real-life cops signed up for. Period!

Protect the innocent and the helpless is the battle cry of true street warrior police officers. It is the basic mission statement “on or off duty” for all good cops. That’s the credo for all peace officers who strap on a firearm and pin a badge on their chests.

Gumshoe experienced numerous occasions where he along with other brother and sister officers raced to the “shots fired” and stabilized the situation. Pedal to the metal and balls to the wall!

How about the cops who stood down? How do they deal with an obvious unlawful order by a totally incompetent leader?

Why did they choose to just stand idle while the cacophony of rifle rounds fired by the killer coupled with the terrified screams from the children pierce their ears? These sounds echoed within the hallway where they took safe refuge. Somethings you cannot ever un-hear that which will undoubtedly and unmercifully eat at your conscience for evermore. They will “second guess” their individual performance forever. Perhaps they will become better police officers or seek other lines of employment out of harm’s way.

Damn their inaction!

Gumshoe passes judgment like many of his former and present police comrades on this horrid incident. Those of us have been in those “life and death” situations where mere seconds count. Act! Don’t react! Lives depend on you alone.

Damn the delay!

Failure to train; failure to effectively supervise married to the unconscionable failure to act was the death sentence for those young innocents as well as for their helpless teachers.

Damn the failures!

Gumshoe will share a quote from G. Michael Hopf’s novel, “Those Who Remain”:

Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And weak men create hard times.

Gumshoe thinks that you can replace the “strong men” with “strong leaders” as well as the “weak men” with “weak leaders” within this quote. Patton would heartily agree with and he would applaud this modified quote.

God bless all of those innocent victims and pray for their grieving families.
May all of the responding officers find peace and forgiveness.

Coram Deo!


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. As spoken of more than once, this was a tragedy in more ways than one, leaving question after question, and most importantly some questions will never be answered at all. As I watched this along with my husband, we could see early on the red flags, the lack of preparedness and especially the lack of training, despite the supposed fact that they had just trained for this type of a situation. If I wasn’t beyond my years, I would offer to travel and train and give training seminars based on videos that show the errors. Solution? open the hiring of retired Law Enforcement Officers, former military to become the security of the schools, and where the hell is all the money that was supposedly given to the schools during COVID?????

    • All good points Nightingale. There are an abundance of retired police officers who would voluntarily take positions of plainclothes armed security at their local community elementary schools. They also could provide hard earned training experience to teachers and school administrators in critical incident preparation.

  2. As usual Gumshoe you are spot on. I am still trying to figure out how this could have gone so horribly wrong.. They had just trained for this type of scenario. How can the man in charge not have a radio for communications to 911 or a command center?
    We, by we, I mean we the police, take the oath to protect and serve, an oath I took seriously. It’s been a long time since I put on the gun and badge but I do remember the number of times when we executed a no knock drug search warrant, I wanted to be the first through the door. Not for glory, but for the fact someone had to be first and as you know Gumshoe that was not always the smartest option.
    Not sure how the investigation of what happened that day will play out. Without a doubt there needs to be accountability. It looks like the man that was in charge of that carnage has stopped talking to the investigators. I will call him out for what he is, a coward.
    The last thing I would like to say is that each of those officers will be judged by the citizens of Uvalde for their lack of inaction which resulted in the death of those innocent children and teachers.. They will also have to look at themselves in the mirror every day and reconcile with themselves whether or not they acted appropriately in the face of danger.

    • Your spot on Thomas. Those of us who have been in similar situations have earned the right to critique this critical incident. So many blunders constituted the perfect storm of dismal failure and the opportunity to save lives.

  3. Very well written my true brother in Christ. Evil persists in this fallen world and we can’t kill it dead enough. The awesome power of prayer will have us keep the faith and fight the good fight as Paul the Apostle of Christ declared in his letters.

  4. I agree with all you say. Perhaps the real justice for those that ordered a “stand down” and those that followed the order lies in the lifelong knowledge that they contributed to 21 deaths of inocent people, 19 of them children. I understand that it takes real guts and courage and a deep commitment to right verses wrong to go against all the training to “follow orders”. But, I find it almost inconceivable that not even one officer said “screw this, it’s wrong and I’m going in”.

    • You right my friend Ken. Officers must do the right thing, at the right time for the right reason. Regret is the definite cancer of life.

  5. A tragedy on so many levels. The children and teachers we lost….loved ones and family members who are mourning as I write this……the never-ending political debates that inevitably resurface each time there is a tragedy of this proportion…..and on we go. Even the more conservative leaning media reports little if anything of the Biblical perspective regarding the increase of violence, the lack of morals and the downward spiral of society these days. Many of my fellow believers agree that these are signs of the last days the Bible speaks of. We pray for an end-times revival. Sadly even that won’t help the victims of this terrible event. It is unlikely we ‘civilians’ will ever discover how we might react in a life and death situation. Would I put myself in harms way to protect another? I hope so, I think so. But until bullets start flying….. The men and women of law enforcement rely on their training to ‘kick in’ in the heat of an emergency, when members of the public they are sworn to serve and protect are counting on them. Many officers spend their entire careers not having to draw their weapon….never discovering how they might react in a similar situation. Many of us have worked for an inept supervisor in our non-law enforcement careers…..their bad decisions may have resulted in a loss of efficiency or a drop in the profit margin……but a loss of life? Of course not. Hard to imagine the frustration of the officers in the hallway who knew better but failed to override the bad call of a higher rank and do what they knew to be right….let the chips fall where they might…..damn the torpedos! No doubt some of those very officers are wishing they had….wishing they could get a ‘do over’. May in the Uvalde community will not see their police officers in the same way they used to. All of those who wear the badge in Uvalde (and elsewhere) will have to live with the stain of their brothers failure in the face of danger……even those who would have reacted quite differently. A tragedy on so many levels. Those of us who believe in the power of prayer must continue to do so and do whatever we can where we live to positively impact those around us…..we were born for such a time as this.