As more details emerge, the disaster at Uvalde grows ever more horrifying. The New York Times reported that more than 140 officers of the law converged on Robb Elementary School. They began to arrive only minutes after the killer started shooting children and teachers. Two officers tried to enter the classroom but were struck by gunfire. The school district’s chief of police—who commanded a force of six—decided not to storm the classroom, although the first rule in an active shooter situation is to confront the shooter immediately and disable him. Since Columbine, police training for school shootings emphasizes the importance of rushing the killer and stopping the shooting.

The chief decided that the shooter was barricaded in the classroom and that no one was in danger. He did not have a police radio. He called on a cell phone to ask for reinforcements. Children in the classroom with the killer repeatedly called 911 to plead for help. The police waited outside the door for more than an hour. When a tactical force from the Border Patrol stormed the classroom, the officer in charge told them to stay out. They disobeyed orders and killed the shooter.

The story begins:

UVALDE, Texas — Two minutes after a gunman burst through an unlocked door at Robb Elementary School and began shooting inside a pair of connected classrooms, Pete Arredondo arrived outside, one of the first police officers to reach the scene.

The gunman could still be heard firing repeatedly, and Chief Arredondo, as leader of the small school district police force in Uvalde, took charge.

But there were problems from the start.

Chief Arredondo did not have a police radio with him, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, which may have impeded his immediate ability to communicate with police dispatchers. As two supervisors from the local police department were grazed by bullets fired by the gunman, he made a decision to fall back, the official said.

Using a cellphone, the chief called a police landline with a message that set the stage for what would prove to be a disastrous delay in interrupting the attack: The gunman has an AR-15, he told them, but he is contained; we need more firepower and we need the building surrounded.

Rather than confront an actively shooting gunman immediately, as officers have been trained to do since the killings at Columbine High School in 1999, the ever-growing force of increasingly armed officers arriving at Robb Elementary held back for more than an hour….

A tactical team led by Border Patrol officers ultimately ignored orders not to breach the classroom, interviews revealed, after a 10-year-old girl inside the classroom warned 911 dispatchers that one of the two teachers in the room was in urgent need of medical attention.

The story is horrifying. It is a story of missed opportunities, unnecessary deaths, fear, miscommunication, ignorance, and perhaps cowardice. The children risked their lives to call 911. Their messages were not relayed to the officer in charge at the scene. 140 police officers on hand, waiting for orders. No orders came other than to evacuate the children who were not in the classroom with the killer. The children in the classroom with the killer were on their own for over an hour while armed police waited for a key and an order.