The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

No End to the Crazy in Texas

Get a load of this headline —

They keep promising they’ll go, but they never do it, the jerks. How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

This happened at the recent Texas Republican state convention, which sounds like it was an even bigger clown show than the seemngly multiannual CPAC conference.

Among other things, a bunch of MAGA-head Proud Boy types got into the conference and heckled Rep. Dan Crenshaw as a “globalist RINO” and “eyepatch McCain.” I understad the latter taunt originated with Tucker Carlson after Crenshaw  visited Ukraine.

Crenshaw always seemed a typical hard-right wackjob to me. The “globalist RINO” charge came from an allegation that Crenshaw had something to do with the World Economic Forum, although I don’t know exactly what. He also was accused of supporting red flag laws, although he says that is not his position now. But somehow he is suddenly persona non grata among the insurrectionist set.

Back to the Texas GOP conference — along with calling for a secession referendum of some sort to appear on ballots in 2023, the conference appears to have approved the following:

  • A resolution rejecting the result of the 2020 presidential election and calling Joe Biden an “illegitimate president.”
  • A resolution calling for the complete repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
  • A party platform calling homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” Also the Log Cabin Republicans, which represents gay Republicans, was blocked from having a booth at the conference.
  • Another part of the platform called for teaching schoolchildren about “the humanity of the preborn child,”
  • Delegates adopted a formal “rebuke” of Sen. John Cornyn for engaging in bipartisan gun control talks. Cornyn was booed when he tried to give a speech explaining the talks.

This is all reminding me of a particularly creepy Twilight Zone episode. No one is allowed to disagree with the demon child. Except now there are a lot of demon children.

Going back to the Newsweek article and the secession resolution —

Under a section titled “State Sovereignty,” the platform states: “Pursuant to Article 1, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government. Therefore, federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified.

I hope they all understand that if Texas secedes, Texas citizens will forfeit all connection to Social Security and Medicare.

“Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.”

So Texans just want to declare they have a right so secede (they don’t), not that they’re actually going to secede. Do stop being such a tease, Texas.

In related news: Former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, currently the Republican front runner for Roy Blunt’s Senate seat, has released an ad so irresponsible and offensive that it was banned from Facebook. So let’s see it!

Yeah, he’s telling his followers to go RINO hunting. I assume he’s referring to his GOP political opposition, none of whom strike me as all that RINO-ish. They’re all verious degrees of MAGA. Unfortunately. Maybe former Navy SEAL Greitens will go hunting for former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw.

Seriously, this is not sustainable. At some point the only way left for them to up the ante will be to really start shooting each other.

Uvalde Update (Updated)

The San Antonio Express-News reports that the police in the hallways of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde may not have tried to open the classroom doors, but just assumed they were locked. The story is behind a subscription firewall, but the report was picked up by KENS Channel 5 News in San Antonio.

That source reportedly told the Express-News that police may have assumed the doors were locked and the shooter could not have locked the doors from the inside. Pete Arredondo, the district police chief in charge of law enforcement’s response at Robb, has said previously that he went through a ring of keys provided by a janitor in order to try and gain entry. 

The Express-News, however, reports that he was instead trying other doors nearby in an attempt to locate a master key. 

The classroom doors at Robb Elementary are designed to lock automatically when they are closed with a key as the only way to open the doors on the outside, the source told the newspaper. …

… Meanwhile, dozens of requests have been made for surveillance footage and other records pertaining to the shooting, and Uvalde has hired legal assistance to try and keep those records private. 

This is a bit iffy, obviously, but if there is surveillance video of the hallway, the truth is out there. And such blundering would explain what appears to be a cover-up.

Speaking of cover-ups, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the shooting was “part of God’s plan.” Yeah, that is so inappropriate, especially coming from someone representing criminal justice.

Updated: The Houston Chronicle reported:

Video surveillance footage suggests that police never attempted to open the doors to two classrooms at Robb Elementary behind which alleged gunman Salvador Ramos massacred 19 students and two teachers during the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation who spoke with the San Antonio Express-News’s Brian Chasnoff.


A Certain Person With a Big Mouth Should Probably Stop Talking Now

Here’s the much talked about New York Times video of how the Proud Boys instigated the January 6 insurrection.

Every one of them needs to spend serious time in a federal penitentiary.

The Independent (UK) says that after Thursday night’s hearing, Trump claimed on Truth Social that he never asked Pence to overturn the election. They have a video of Trump addressing the Faith and Freedom conference in which he said it was a “phony narrative” that he asked Pence to overturn the election; he merely wanted Pence to use his position to send some votes back to the states (so maybe the states would overturn the election). That this was a power Pence did not have was a mere technicality.

And then Trump attacked Pence again for “failing to act.”

See also 8 Top Former Prosecutors, Senior DOJ Officials on Key New Evidence in Effort to Pressure Pence. Nerdy but informative.

The next hearing will be Tuesday, June 21, beginning at 1 pm Eastern time.

Keep It Moving, Dems

Glenn Thrush and Luke Broadwater report for the New York Times that the J6 Committee could begin sharing transcripts with the Justice Department as early as July. The committee had said earlier that Justice could have transcripts when they were publicly released in September.

“The Justice Department sent the committee a two-page letter on Wednesday accusing the panel of hampering the federal criminal investigation into the attack by refusing to share interview transcripts with prosecutors,” Thrush and Broadwater wrote.

The tone of the letter from Justice took the J6 Committee by surprise, apparently. But I don’t understand why transcripts can’t be given to the Justice Department now.

Note also that Merrick Garland isn’t going to spring criminal charges on anyone too close to the midterms. It that’s going to happen, it probably won’t happen until next year. I wish it were otherwise, though.

There’s no evidence yet that the hearings have moved any public opinion needles so far. I’d be a little surprised if they had. The Right is still in denial mode, ranging from hysterical repetition of long-discredited campaign fraud charges (see, for example, The Federalist) to sniffing recognition that, well, okay, Trump really should have let it go and accepted the election result once it was clear he had failed to stop the Biden inauguration, but these hearings are just about Democrats trying to salvage the midterms (see Byron York).

We’ve still got a long way to go to save our Republic.



This Afternoon’s January 6 Hearing

Today’s hearings begin at 1 pm EST. Feel free to comment here about them before, during, and after.

By now you’ve probably heard about the January 5 tour of the Capitol complex led by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, in which the same guy seen photographing stairwells and hallways also took part in the January 6 march to the Capitol. It’s not clear to me if he entered the building.

This is from the New York Times

A lawyer advising President Donald J. Trump claimed in an email after Election Day 2020 to have insight into a “heated fight” among the Supreme Court justices over whether to hear arguments about the president’s efforts to overturn his defeat at the polls, two people briefed on the email said.

The lawyer, John Eastman, made the statement in a Dec. 24, 2020, exchange with a pro-Trump lawyer and Trump campaign officials over whether to file legal papers that they hoped might prompt four justices to agree to hear an election case from Wisconsin.

Eastman said that the chances SCOTUS would hear this case depended more on the “justices’ spines” than on legal merit. Then this part is revealing:

The pro-Trump lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, replied that the “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

Their exchange took place five days after Mr. Trump issued a call for his supporters to attend a “protest” at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress would certify the electoral vote count confirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. “Be there. Will be wild!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Another piece of the puzzle. Note that I don’t assume Eastman had any insight into whether the justices were engaged in any kind of “heated fight.”

However, Eastman may have been getting info for Ginni Thomas, who apparently is nuttier than a peanut farm. This is from the Washington Post:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has obtained email correspondence between Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and lawyer John Eastman, who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to three people involved in the committee’s investigation.

The emails show that Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, two of the people said. The three declined to provide details and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

The committee’s members and staffers are now discussing whether to spend time during their public hearings exploring Ginni Thomas’s role in the attempt to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, the three people said. The Washington Post previously reported that the committee had not sought an interview with Thomas and was leaning against pursuing her cooperation with its investigation.

I wouldn’t call her to testify, based on this. I question her grasp of, well, reality.

Updates to come.

Update: The bobbleheads on MSNBC are saying that this afternoon’s hearing proved that Trump knew his plan to have Mike Pence nix the election result was illegal. Yes, but as I’ve said before, for Trump “truth” and “knowlege” are meaningless abstractions. All he recognizes is what he wants.

CNN has a document that it calls Judge J. Michael Luttig’s statement to the committee. The thing is, though, that I don’t remember Judge Luttig readng this statement. I believe he did say some of this in response to questions, but not all of it. It’s a very good document, nonetheless.

Against my advice, the committee will ask Ginnie Thomas to speak to them. Maybe this will not be part of a publicc hearing. I think she’s too erratic and delusional to put in front of a camera.

The hearing today emphasized how much danger Pence was in that day. It also emphasized that John Eastman didn’t believe that Pence had the constitutional power to question the election results, even as he pitched the idea to Trump and the mob at the January 6 rally. I believe this was the first time I have heard he asked Trump for a pardon.

A bobblehead on MSNBC criticized Pence for refusing to testify himself, instead of letting his aides speak for him.

He might do better to position himself as a leader of a “save the Republican party from Trump” movement. But I guess he doesn’t have the nerve.

Today’s Primaries and January 6 Hearings Fallout

There are primaries in four states today: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina. See Steven Benen’s analysis of which contests may be significant.

Plus there is a special election in Texas — is there always an election in Texas? — to replace a congressman who resigned earlier this year, and finish out a term. This is Mostly between Democrat Dan Sanchez and Republican Mayra Flores, although there are other Democrats on the ballot, for the privilege of being a Congress critter for a few months. The congressional district they will represent will disappear in the next term, and Flores has already won a primary to run in the general election for the redrawn district. But in November the Democrat running against her will be Vicente Gonzalez Jr., who is currently representing another district that will disappear. And this is very confusing.

On to January 6 hearings —

The January 6 hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday morning will be postponed, and the next hearing will be Thursday morning. The committee members said there was no big deal reason for the schedule change; they just need more time to prepare.

I have been trying to find out of Bill Stepian’s baby has been born. No news. I hope for her sake that Mrs. Stepian hasn’t been in labor all this time, although that’s possible. It’s a first baby; they often are very slow. Some news updates are starting to cite the “alleged” baby.

Trump released a 12-page rebuttal to the hearings so far. According to Brett Samuels at The Hill, the rebuttal consists of Trump’s repeating the same allegations that the hearings have already shot down. He offers no new evidence.

Rudy Giuliani seems to have survived being rolled over by several buses yesterday and is whining to everyone who will listen that he was not intoxicated on election night. He also issued a statement to the Gateway Pundit — to which I do not link — which follows. I have replaced the original links with, um, different links.

“The Jan 6th committee is not trying to seek the truth. Otherwise they would look at what the various states found about election irregularities and illegalities in their states . Watch my latest podcast at to see Antifa’s involvement. As a law abiding citizen my questions are why did Speaker Pelosi refuse National Guard offered by President Trump? Why were some Capitol Officers seen opening doors and inviting people in? What role did the FBI and Antifa play? Did some violent protestors get paid? Why did the committee infer Capitol Officers were killed that day when no officer was killed? Why are they ignoring the murder of unarmed veteran Ashli Babbit? Who is the peaceful protester outside the Capitol who allegedly was beaten by officers? What is going on with the investigation into the pipe bombs left at RNC and DNC?” — Rudy Giuliani statement to Gateway Pundit. 

The alleged peaceful protester allegedly beaten by officers must be a new claim; I can’t find any previous references to it. And it’s widely known that the pipe bomb investigation is at a standstill, which is unfortunate, but standstills happen sometimes.

There’s a guy who has published a book titled COMPLETE LIST OF ANTIFA MEMBERS IN CAPITOL BUILDING RIOT. The preview reveals that it’s just the word “nobody” repeated over and over. (I would have just published blank pages; people could have used it as a dairy.)

Gateway Pundit also claimed that the first hearing last Thursday was a ratings bust (hardly) and that even Rachel Maddow didn’t buy Trump’s involvement in the attack on the Capitol (because the Proud Boys skipped Trump’s speech and went right to the Capitol; yeah, that’s a bit strained). I’ve been cruising around some other right-wing sites; they’re mostly just downplaying the hearings or picking up some small point out of content that they can twist around and refute.

One point Rachel made last night that I thought was interesting is that Trump seems to have put more energy in setting up the Big Lie than in actually winning the election. He kept demonizing mail-in ballots, for example, and advisors kept warning him he may be suppressing his own vote, especially among older people. But he didn’t care. The implication is that he seems to have thought it would be easier to win a second term by cheating than by actually winning the election. Again, this is Trump’s pattern, throughout his business “career.” He doesn’t do anything honestly if he can get what he wants by lies, fraud, or cheating. It’s second nature to him now.

The right-wing sites are very, very carefully not mentioning the charge that after the November 2000 election Trump aggressively solicited donations for the “Official Election Defense Fund,” raising about $250 million from supporters. Yet the “Official Election Defense Fund” doesn’t exist. The donations have been channeled in many directions. Kimberly Guilfoyle received $60,000 for making a two-minute speech at the January 6 rally. One suspects most of that money managed or will manage to find its way into pockets belonging to Trump family members, perhaps after a bit of laundering.

See also: Greg Sargent, WaPo, The ugly truth about the right-wing grift machine has been revealed; and Michael Kranish, WaPo, New details emerge of Oval Office confrontation three days before Jan. 6.

Ousted Blue Dog Kurt Schrader Is Pissed

Turns out that Donald Trump isn’t the only sore loser. Remember the Oregon House primary in which the Democratic incumbent, Kurt Schrader, lost to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner? Today Schrader is all sour grapes about the Democratic Party.

In his first interview since his defeat, Schrader told a local television station that he believes McLeod-Skinner will lose the race for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District in November.

“The red wave begins in Oregon – Oregon’s 5th district,” he told KATU on Thursday. “That’s unfortunate.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have both pledged their full support for McLeod-Skinner, but Schrader has yet to officially endorse her.

Schrader also revealed in the interview that there is a “significant chance” he will endorse independent centrist Betsy Johnson’s gubernatorial campaign, rather than backing Democratic nominee Tina Kotek, the former speaker of the state’s House of Representatives.

“I think people are exhausted with the extreme, far-right Trumpites. I think they’re very concerned about the socialist drift on the Democrat left,” Schrader said. “So that opens up the middle.”

But what middle? And a look at Schrader’s record suggests the party is better off without him. This article goes on to inform us that Schrader “was one of two House Democrats to vote against a package of stricter gun regulations that included raising the legal eligibility age for purchase of a semi-automatic rifle to 21. Five Republicans voted for the whole package and 10 Republicans voted for the stand-alone bill to raise the eligibility age for purchasing long guns; Schrader did not vote for the latter, either.”

So standing in the way of gun control is “centrist,” now?

Let’s see what else is “centrist” — Last year, Schrader was one of three House Democrats who used their seats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to block a vote on a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. That’s “centrist”?

More recently Ryan Grim wrote at The Intercept,

A super PAC funded by the pharmaceutical industry blew more than a million dollars in an effort to salvage the career of former Blue Dog Coalition Chair Kurt Schrader, the Oregon Democrat who cast the deciding vote against drug pricing reform in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and organized with Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., to derail President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. His opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, lambasted him repeatedly as the “Joe Manchin of the House.” Because Oregon votes by mail, and some ballots were blurred and unreadable in areas favorable to Schrader, results may not be known until early next week, but despite a funding disparity of some 10 to 1, the incumbent is on the ropes.

As I wrote last year, Schrader was one of the Dem “centrists” who screwed up the plan to pass the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. They were blocking the President’s agenda while screaming that it wasn’t them, but the progressives, who were blocking the President’s agenda.

My impression of the shrinking number of Democratic “centrists” is that they sincerely believe the party belongs to them and the progressives are interlopers, even though there are a lot more people in the Progressive Caucus than in the Blue Dog Coalition. It’s that sense of entitlement that used to whiff off of die-hard Clinton supporters. They and only they were “real Democrats.”

The problem with the “centrists” is that they most closely resemble pre-Reagan era Republicans than anything else. If they have a political future, it’s more likely in a Republican party rebuilding after Trumpism collapses. If it does. We need them in the Democratic Party like we need more mosquitoes.

Rep. Kurt Schrader in happier times.

January 6 Hearings Day Two

Feel free to comment before, during, and after today’s hearings.

Update: I understand today’s hearing was on Fox News, although of course this is probably a different audience from those who tune in to the weeknight bobblehead lineup. But somewhere there must be MAGA-heads who caught the testimony in a waiting room or airport, and I’d love to ask them what they thought. Did you donate any money to the election defense to fight the fraud? Did you know that money mostly just went into Donald Trump’s pocket?

The MSNBC bobbleheads talked a lot about intent. Did Trump know he was lying when he continued to push election fraud claims, and if not, does that give him a legal excuse for continuing to push those claims? What I got out of the commentary is that most judges don’t accept willful denial of facts as a defense. If X has been explained to you (by several people whose job it is to know X) and yet you continue to claim Y in order to get something you want, you intended to deceive. Even if you continue to swear up and down that you believe Y to be true.

It’s probably the case that Trump’s understanding of “truth” was warped long ago. “Truth” is an abstraction that is meaningless to him. There is only what he wants, and any way to get to what he wants is legitimate, to him.

As all those people who testified today explained, over and over, that they told Trump clearly that his voter fraud claims were baseless, what I saw was the spoiled kid who was never told no. Trump learned long ago that if he throws a big enough temper tantrum he’ll get what he wants. And now that he’s become, in effect, a cult leader, he can always get his culties to throw his temper tantrums for him. That’s what January 6 was; a temper tantrum to get the grown ups to back down and let him have his way.

Note that the witness who couldn’t come because his wife is in labor, Bill Stepien, is working as an advisor/consultant to the campaign of Wyoming Republican Harriet Hageman. This is the woman running against Liz Cheney in the House primary in Wyoming. This may be why Cheney took a back seat today; it would not have been proper for her to question Stepien, obviously.

The testimony today painted the picture that everyone with Donald Trump on election night, watching the returns come in, told him that it was too early to declare victory and that he could lose. Here is what he did say on election night:

It was an “apparently inebriated” Rudy Giuliani who told Trump to declare victory, and so he more or less did, while calling for “all voting to stop.” “We will win this, and as far as I’m concerned, we already have,” Trump said.

He was told about the “red mirage,” the way early vote counts favor Republicans but the mail-in votes, counted later, are overwhelmingly Democratic. Nope; didn’t register. The facts got in the way of what he wanted.

And, of course, all these administration and campaign officials, especially Bill Barr, who knew the truth and said little in public at the time haven’t exactly crowned themselves in glory. This is true even though Barr did invite Michael Balsamo, a Justice Department beat reporter for the Associated Press, to a private lunch on December 1, 2020, and told him there was no evidence of enough fraud to overturn the election. That was Barr doing his due diligence, I guess. But according to this Atlantic article, Barr only talked to that reporter at the urging of Mitch McConnell, who was frantic to win the Senate runoff elections in Georgia and believed the GOP would have a better shot if it were clear that Joe Biden would be in the White House.

See also Tim Miller at The Bulwark, “No, Bill Stepien, You Weren’t On “Team Normal.” You Were On “Team Coup.” There was a lot of self-delusion going on, and it wasn’t just Trump. The people trying to explain to Trump that he had really, truly lost and tried to guide him toward being a gracious loser were just about as deluded as Trump.

Trump doesn’t do “gracious.” Surely everybody knew that already.

A Tepid Little Bit of Gun Reform, Maybe

With some fanfare, it’s been announced that there is a tentative bipartisan agreement in the Senate on new gun control legislation. As expected, it’s underwhelming. I agree with Betty Cracker that the agreement is “a band-aid on a sucking chest wound.” It’s better than nothing, but not by a whole lot.

Under the tentative deal, a federal grant program would encourage states to implement “red flag” laws that allow authorities to keep guns away from people found by a judge to represent a potential threat to themselves or others, while federal criminal background checks for gun buyers under 21 would include a mandatory search of juvenile justice and mental health records for the first time.

Other provisions would prevent gun sales to domestic violence offenders beyond just spouses, closing what is often called the “boyfriend loophole”; clarify which gun sellers are required to register as federal firearms dealers and, thus, run background checks on their customers; and establish new federal offenses related to gun trafficking….

…Other provisions would funnel billions of new federal dollars into mental health care and school security programs, funding behavioral intervention programs, new campus infrastructure and armed officers. One cornerstone of the deal is legislation sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to establish a nationwide network of “community behavioral health clinics,” though the framework does not yet include an agreed funding level for that program or others.

“Encouraging” states to pass red flag laws is mostly useless, since the states that most need them are the least likely to pass them.

Tighter background checks on buyers under the age of 21 might help a little, but I’d be interested to see how many of our school shooters, from Columbine onward, would have failed a background check. Not many, I don’t think. More background checking is always good, though.

Domestic violence offenders of all sorts should not be allowed to have guns, but in practice this kind of provision isn’t tightly enforced by a lot of local law enforcement officers.

More money for mental health counselors in schools would be a good thing, especially if  those counselors are able to screen and treat young people who seem to be spiraling downward toward violence or suicide. But there’s no way the Republicans will appropriate enough money for such programs. They’ll cough up funds for more “hardening” of schools, of course.

What isn’t in this agreement — no assault weapons ban, of course. No increase in the mnimum wage to buy a firearm. No limits on magazine capacity.

I think if this can pass in the Senate I’d say pass it, but then the Democrats should collectively release a statement saying that this won’t do much, but it’s the best the Republicans would agree to. Don’t expect any big change in gun violence, though.

Also, too: The 31 Patriot Front members arrested in Coeur d’Alene yesterday were all stuffed in a U-Haul. Maybe if they’d been in there a bit longer they would have suffocated. Oh, well.


Doors, Radios, and Incompetence at Uvalde

Here’s a thought that keeps rumbling through my head: If Uvalde, Texas, had been in 17th century Japan, Police Chief Pete Arredondo would have been ordered by his daimyo to commit ritual suicide already. And that’s starting to sound like a good idea.

The story is still changing. This is from Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night; I shaved off about six minutes of it to get right to the part about Ulvalde.

Texas public officials, from Gret Abbott on down, for some reason are protecting Arredondo.

Arredondo told his side of the story to the Texas Tribune a couple of days ago, and among the astonishing things that came out was that he did not consider himself to be the person in charge.

Arredondo assumed that some other officer or official had taken control of the larger response. He took on the role of a front-line responder.

He said he never considered himself the scene’s incident commander and did not give any instruction that police should not attempt to breach the building. DPS officials have described Arredondo as the incident commander and said Arredondo made the call to stand down and treat the incident as a “barricaded suspect,” which halted the attempt to enter the room and take down the shooter. “I didn’t issue any orders,” Arredondo said. “I called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door.”

Okay, then, who was in charge?

This account says that Arredondo immediately entered the school to look for a way into the classroom, and he didn’t take his radio with him because it would have slowed him down.

He (speaking through his lawyer) also said he would have had to turn the radio off, anyway, so that the shooter did not hear him. He did have a cell phone, however, and at one point he called police dispatch to ask for “a SWAT team, snipers and extrication tools, like a fire hook, to open the door.”

The doors were steel doors that had been intended to keep intruders locked out of the classrooms, but of course in this case the intruder was in the classroom and the police were locked out. They didn’t have a master key. This was the police force dedicated to the school district, remember, not the city police force. They didn’t have master keys?

Experts on active shooting interviewed by the Texas Tribune said that under normal protocols, Arrodondo would have been considered the incident commander. And if Arrodondo was not able to discharge that duty — because he was in a hallway in the school without a radio waiting for someone to figure out how to open a classroom door — then he should have designated someone else to be the incident commander.

Eventually, Border Patrol agents who had come from some distance entered the school, opened the door, and killed the shooter. It’s not clear to me how they got the door opened. They had keys that worked while the local cops didn’t?

According to a New York Times report, dated June 9 —

According to the documents, Chief Arredondo, who had earlier focused on evacuating other classrooms, began to discuss breaching the classrooms where the gunman was holed up about an hour after the gunfire started inside the school at 11:33 a.m. He did so after several shots could be heard inside the classrooms, after a long lull, around 12:21 p.m., video footage showed.

But he wanted to find the keys first.

“We’re ready to breach, but that door is locked,” he said, according to the transcript, around 12:30 p.m.

By that point, officers in and around the school had been growing increasingly impatient, and in some cases had been loudly voicing their concerns. “If there’s kids in there, we need to go in there,” one officer could be heard saying, according to the documents. Another responded, “Whoever is in charge will determine that.”

A team made up of specially trained Border Patrol agents and a sheriff’s deputy finally went in after the gunman and killed him at 12:50 p.m.

The team entered, not over the objections of Chief Arredondo, but apparently not fully aware that he had given the go-ahead after holding officers back for more than an hour, according to a person briefed on the team’s response by a federal agent involved in the tactical effort. Amid the confusion and frustration in the hallway, the agent believed that the team was taking the initiative on its own to go into the classrooms.

And this —

Investigators found that not only did an exterior door — through which the gunman entered — fail to lock, but most of the school’s interior doors, including those on classrooms, could not be immediately locked in the event of an emergency.

Is it possible classroom doors weren’t really locked? All that time? This part of the narrative begins at about 12:30 —

By that time, heavily armed tactical officers had arrived, along with protective shields. Chief Arredondo at that point signaled his support for going into the room, but began asking repeatedly for keys that would work on the door.

It was not clear from the transcript if anyone had tried the door to see if it was locked.

Arrodondo isn’t talking except through a criminal defense attorney. Make of that what you will.

During that time, a large contingent of Border Patrol agents with long guns and shields massed near the door.

According to the transcript of body camera video, Chief Arredondo could be heard speaking into a phone, preparing for a breach and asking for someone to look into the windows of one of the classrooms to see if anything could be seen.

By 12:46 p.m. he gave his approval to enter the room. “If y’all are ready to do it, you do it,” he said, according to the transcript.

Minutes later, the team went in.

It was all over very quickly then.

The school district cops said their radios didn’t work well in the schools. What had been done to correct this? The New York Times article said the Border Patrol radios worked just fine.

The business with the radios reminds me a bit of September 11, when firefighters died in the towers because their radios didn’t work and they didn’t hear the call to evacuate. The problems with thea radios were known before September 11.

Likewise, the small police department answering to the school district had one job to do, protect the schools. They had radios that didn’t work in the schools? They didn’t have master keys to the classrooms?

See also The creator of the FBI mass shooting protocol is ‘shocked’ by Uvalde police response at NPR.

At the very least, we’re looking at gross incompetence here. But all the public officials of Texas appear to be rallying around Pete Arredondo, maybe hoping to protect him until attention is diverted and people stop pushing for answers on the school shooting in Ulvalde. There’s no accountability and no honor.