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Charles Whitman and Futureshock 40 Years Later

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Here in Austin this was a big day in the media, though not one recognized nationwide. Forty years ago today a troubled ex-Marine named Charles Whitman climbed the clock tower of the University of Texas administration building and began to gun down students and passersby on the south and west malls of the University and on nearby Guadalupe Street.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicBefore heading to the University Whitman had killed his mother and his wife in their home, leaving behind a detailed suicide note with instructions to give his estate to psychological research and do an autopsy to determine if there was something physically wrong with his brain. As it turned out there was a tumor in his hypothalamus which may have been pressing on his amygdala and altering his emotional state.

He was able to get a footlocker and a small wooden crate full of guns into the building and to the top of the 27-story tower, including a Remington 700 rifle with a hunting scope, an M1 Carbine, another rifle, a shotgun and a variety of small arms. He started firing at 11:48 and ultimately killed 16 people and wounded another 31.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe incident ended when Austin police officers Ray Martinez and Houston McCoy were able to break through the barricade Whitman had made to block the observation deck door. Martinez shot him repeatedly with his service revolver and McCoy hit him with a shotgun blast. Whitman was dead before he hit the floor.

Whitman, the UT Clock Tower, and the events of August 1st, 1966 have become ingrained in popular culture, even as symbols in the minds of those who have no specific awareness of the events. It was the first widely publicized mass random killing of this sort, the model for novelists, moviemakers and copycats. It was also the first incident of this sort to be covered live on TV, with a camera crew from the local CBS affiliate broadcasting from within the zone of fire. It put Austin on the national map in a negative way which it took the Armadillo, Willie Nelson, South by Southwest and years of great music and heavy partying to live down.

Today it's all a piece of increasingly distant history, but hearing interviews with many of those who were involved on the radio and local television today was enlightening in a bizarre, futureshock or perhaps reverse futureshock kind of way. It was revelatory to be reminded of how different things were in 1966 in Austin and how the city and our world have changed since then.

A few examples relating to the incident stood out. 1966 was really before the introduction of SWAT teams. They were invented at least in part from the response to this incident. As a result the response to Whitman's sniping was much more rapid than it would be today, concluded in a couple of hours when today it might have taken twice as long or more. But the process involved a lot more risk for civilians and for the officers involved. Regular patrol officers showed up, there weren't very many of them, they had no special weapons and had to work fast and improvise. There was no real attempt to negotiate, although that might have changed if Whitman had hostages. There was also minimal supervision and coordination, and certainly no scenarios or game plan for dealing with what at the time was a unique situation. There was an aerial flyby and a very unsuccessful attempt to shoot Whitman from the plane, but solving the problem basically came down to a few very brave and outgunned men charging a trained killer.

About Dave Nalle

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    When doing research for another article on gun control I visited the ICHV site and found myself unable to use any of their data because they’re very slipshod with their data and terminology. They consistently mix the words murder and homicide as if they are the same thing, and seem to be doing it for purposes of deception. They also repeatedly refer to the handguns killing people with apparently no awareness of human agency in the process. They also present raw figures without taking into account differences in population and overall crime rate as in the table which PETI quotes in #46.

    If you take those figures and adjust them relative to population and overall crime rate suddenly the various countries are a LOT closer together. For example, the US has 5 times the population and 6 times the per capita violent crime that England does, so effectively divide that 11,789 by 30. But wait, then you need to adjust it for political correctness. If you take out gun homicides committed by African-Americans, you have to divide it by another factor of 5. So while the overall gun homicide rate is about 5 times what it is in England relative to overall crime, without counting in African Americans it’s almost exactly the same. But let’s be fair and do away with the race issue alltogether. If you break the figures down by region, and eliminate the gun homicides in the top 20 metropolitan areas, you have the same effect or more, bringing the US gun homicide rate down to the same level as most European countries without even adjusting for the overall crime rate – which would be unfair, because most of that crime is in the major urban areas too.

    For a fair comparison take any of the states which has no major cities – Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, for example. Compare their homicide rates with Britain’s. Their total homicides per 100,000 population are lower than Britain’s homicide rate from firearms alone. And these are some of the most heavily armed states in the union. Even larger states which have little in the way of urban crime, like Iowa, have lower per capita murders than Britain has.

    It’s not the guns, it’s the level of crime in major urban centers whcih is the problem here.

    Professor Gary Kleck of FSU has done some fascinating work debunking the apparent connection between gun ownership and gun homicides, basically proving that the problem is that the US is just a more violent nation, rather than that we have more guns. There’s a neat article on Kleck here and you can read his analysis here.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    People who keep a gun in the house are 72% more likely to die at the hands of a firearm.

    But here’s the question you have to ask. Were they more likely to die because they had a gun in the house, or did they have a gun in the house because they knew they were more likely to be at risk because of lifestyle or where they lived? Looking at the statistics in more detail suggests that they had a gun because they knew they were at risk, rather than being at risk because they had a gun.

    How can you honestly make the case that you and your family are safer on the off-chance you use your gun to defend against an intruder, when you increase the likelihood of a child committing suicide so dramatically in your house?

    Again, the gun doesn’t do the killing or cause people to commit suicide, and my children aren’t statistics, they’re individuals.

    Dave

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    Yes back to the old “guns dont kill people kill people” argument. Even if the gun isnt the one causing the suicide, it made suicide in that house 3.4 times more likely to occur. A number of reasons could be responsible for this other than the gun itself initiated mind control on the household children and told them to kill themselves. For example, swallowing pills slitting your wrists etc. probably have a much lower success rate at actually completing the suicide because medical attention in time can prevent the suicide. A shot in the head is final. Another reason other than the gun itself using mind control is that people dont have to think to kill themself with a gun. In the heat of the moment, with a gun at hand, who knows what might happen?

    And Clavos -yes my source has an agenda- but most of their statistics are pretty straight forward. Dave points out the potential deceptiveness of straight #s of gun homicides in industrial nations. I didnt site those numbers to be deceptive – of course the population of the U.S. is higher than any of those nations, but I thought that would be immediately apparent, as would the fact that even adjusted for population the U.S. is still highest by far.

    Furthermore, ICHV is not making up its own facts, doing its own research etc. It is taking its data from census data, the “Annals of Emergency Medicine,” etc.

    Yes any one source is only going to site statistics that fit its agenda – take Dave’s Gun Owners of America for example, almost all of the data there is viciously deceptive – but I honestly cannot find a loophole in data showing that suicide is 3.4 times more likely in a house with a gun. If you think of one, I would be glad to hear it.

  • Clavos

    PETI,

    I am researching the child suicide issue, and wanted to show this to you while I continue investigating. It’s from a report by the Surgeon General and is published by the United States Public Health Service. I found it online in less than five minutes. As I said, I’m still looking for more data.

    It has been proposed that the rise in suicidal behavior among teenage boys results from increased availability of firearms (Boyd, 1983; Boyd & Moscicki, 1986; Brent et al., 1987; Brent et al., 1991) and increased substance abuse in the youth population (Shaffer et al., 1996c; Birckmayer & Hemenway, 1999). However, although the rate of suicide by firearms increased more than suicide by other methods (Boyd, 1983; Boyd & Moscicki, 1986; Brent et al., 1987), suicide rates also increased markedly in many other countries in Europe, in Australia, and in New Zealand, where suicide by firearms is rare.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    The suicide argument is inherently deceptive. The correlation may exist, but can you show causation? Why aren’t the same environmental/social factors which made a gun in the house necessary the ones which increased the rate of suicide there?

    And, as Clavos points out, we have more guns here than other people do, so guns are a preferred method of suicide. If guns were taken out of the formula who is to say that those same folks wouldn’t use other methods. It’s more common in households with guns because in households with guns the person who’s going to choose suicide has a gun to use to do it. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t use a different method if no gun were available.

    And the fact is that the US has a relatively low suicide rate compared to other countries. There’s no indication that guns are increasing the number of suicides. The statistic just shows that those who commit suicide prefer guns.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    PETI,

    Here’s a report by an advocacy group, the Children’s Defense Fund 2006. CDF is actually pro gun control, so I never expected to find data which supports my point in their report.

    On page 3, CDF points out that, from 1993 through 2003, gun-related child deaths declined by 50% nationwide. The same table on page 3 also shows that child suicide by gun declined by 20% during the same period.

    It’s not mentioned in the report, but gun ownership nationwide increased during that period. I don’t have specific data on that at hand, but I’ll bet Dave does.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    It’s more common in households with guns because in households with guns the person who’s going to choose suicide has a gun to use to do it. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t use a different method if no gun were available.

    Yes it does. When there is no gun present they are 1/3.4 times less likely to commit suicide. My statistic is not for suicide with a gun. It is for suicide in general. When there is no gun present in the household suicide is 3.4 times less likely.

    Why aren’t the same environmental/social factors which made a gun in the house necessary the ones which increased the rate of suicide there?

    So you’re acknowledging that the social factors that made the parent own a gun in the first place also contributed to the parent’s poor parenting skills such that his/her daughter committed suicide? In other words parents that buy a gun may have certain attitudes, such as perhaps a more violent attitude than other parents, and pass these attitudes onto their children, while providing an easy means to commit suicide, which in combination result in the child using the gun to commit suicide. You are saying the same social factors that cause gun ownership cause suicide. So gun owners just tend to be worse parents? Personally I don’t think it’s the social factors of gun owners that cause suicide, I think it’s mostly just the fact that they own a gun and may use it rashly in anger or depression. Whether it’s the social factors of gun ownership, or gun ownership itself, you are acknowledging one or both are contributing to suicide.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    First of all Clavos, your first quote says suicide rates increased, your second says they decreased. Obviously they are different time periods, but wouldnt your second quote tend to invalidate your first?

    Secondly, your first quote points out the obvious correlation between certain social factors that were on the rise during that period and suicide.

    Im not denying social factors as causation! Obviously suicide is a personal choice caused by environmental factors and the gun is not initiating mind control on the teen to commit suicide. What your statistics do not show is the relative difference in suicide between the nations, it just says the rate increased in all the nations probably because of the rise of certain social factors. Even if the rate in the U.S. were lower than in all of the other nations, it might not be because we have more guns but because we have less of the social factors causing suicide. None of this information refutes the fact that in a house where a gun is present, suicide is 3.4X more likely to occur. If, hypothetically, we already have less of the social factors causing suicide, the rate would be even lower if we didnt have ready access of guns to teenagers potential wanting an easy way out of life. ICHV sites a survey in which something like 40% of teenagers say they could get access to a gun if they wanted one. Guns obviously do not increase suicide rates because the site of them cause suicidal thoughts, but because they make suicide easy, relatively painless, and thoughtless.

  • Clavos

    PETI,

    Regardless of whose statistics are used, the incidence of in-the-home gun deaths (suicide or otherwise) is a miniscule proportion of the total number of gun owning households. Why should ALL gun owners be disenfranchised because of this? Would it not be more reasonable to find another solution to the problem?

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    In response to your seond post #56 Clavos, again you are showing the correlation between social factors and suicide rate. The period 1993-2003 was a relatively prosperous one that saw nearly all types of violent crime diminish. Prosperity may not be the only social factor involved, but logically it’s a good one.

    So again, im not saying guns cause suicide. Im saying that when a gun is present suicide is 3.4X more likely to be executed. That is a fact, for which you have had no explanation yet. As Dave says, this may have to do with social factors of gun ownership that also cause suicide (in other words gun owners make worse parents on average statistically), but it is also likely largely due to the fact that guns make suicide easier and have a higher completion %. The latter is my preferred explanation but I am not sure the one Dave offers says anything better about gun ownership.

  • Clavos

    And even if teenagers in gun owning households were committing suicide at an alarming rate, is their parents’ choice to own a gun in the face of the data not a personal decision in which the state has no business interfering pre-emptively?

    I don’t have children, but do have guns. If my neighbor’s kid offs himself with his dad’s gun, is it right that I lose my right to own guns as a result?

  • Clavos

    PETI, Your point in #60 doesn’t address the point that, according to the data, child gun deaths for ALL reasons declined during that period?

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    In response to Clavos #59, so increasing a teen’s chance of sucessful suicide attempt by 340% is acceptable? Even if nearly all gun owning households do not have a suicide problem, as you point out, the chance that the gun will be used in self defense is miniscule to the chance that it will be used to commit suicide. As i said earlier, a household gun is 11X more likely to be used to commit suicide than to be used in self defense.

  • Clavos

    PETI, I find nothing to refute your point that suicide is 3.4x more likely in gun households, so I accept it.

    There ARE ways short of banning guns altogether to solve that problem, however. Parental education comes to mind, there are very good gun locks available, etc.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    In response to Clavos 62, yes it does. I acknowledged that guns are not causation. The overall social factors causing gun violence declined during that period. However, the household’s with a gun were still much more likely to have a child commit suicide using the household gun. Even if overall suicide/violence rate declines, that fact remains unchanged.

  • Clavos

    PETI 63, You ain’t gonna like my response, but increasing the probability of any ONE teenager’s suicide by 340% IS acceptable to me when taken in the greater context of ALL gun owner’s rights, yes.

    And the 11x figure only tells me that the incidence of suicide in a gun household is 11x greater than that of it being invaded, not that the presence of the gun increases the likelihood of suicide.

    It’s a numbers game, and in my opinion, the numbers don’t warrant abrogating everyone’s right to own guns.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    Re #64, ok good so we agree gun’s do create a problem. The issue then becomes adressing a problem.

    Perhaps you are right, a very strict and well enforced gun control program that falls short of seizing guns is a more moderate and agreeable solution. Strictly enforced laws against unsupervised use or access to guns by minors comes to mind; mandatory sale of mechanisms to prevent child use and/or lockable storage devises with the sale of the gun; mandatory instruction in safe gun use, storage, and risks with the purchase of a gun (a 2 hour class or something); are all things that come to mind. Either way, when 40+% of minors, who society increasingly infantalizes, regards with contempt, and denies the right to vote because they are not responsible enough have access to a gun, there is a problem. If they are not responsible, mature enough to vote, then they certainly are not responsible, mature enough to have the power over life and death.

  • Clavos

    BTW, PETI,

    Dave did NOT say this:

    (in other words gun owners make worse parents on average statistically)

    What he said was:

    Why aren’t the same environmental/social factors which made a gun in the house necessary the ones which increased the rate of suicide there?

    Meaning the environmental/social factors in the vicinity of the home, not those factors inside the home.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    Re # 66, I suppose this an acurate description of the situation. Once you acknowledge gun ownership increases suicide rates among teens, then the matter essentially becomes an issue of weighing the right of the child to life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness against the gun owner’s right to liberty and the pursuit of hapiness. Im not all that up on legal precedent on this, but I wonder if the court would side on the side of greater numbers (gun owners) or on the side of greater loss to the individual (loss of life liberty and pursuit of happiness >> loss of liberty and pursuit of happiness).

  • Clavos

    Either way, when 40+% of minors, who society increasingly infantalizes, regards with contempt, and denies the right to vote because they are not responsible enough have access to a gun, there is a problem. If they are not responsible, mature enough to vote, then they certainly are not responsible, mature enough to have the power over life and death.

    Very good point, PETI. See the portion of your words I’ve emphasized. I would broaden that part to include the “adult” 60% as well, because of the way we have been creating a nanny state in recent years. But that’s another rant.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    Re # 68:

    My statement holds true if you hold parents responsible for the suicide of their child.

    First of all I would assume suicide is much more a reflection of factors within the home than outside the home. Plenty of kids grow up in bad neigborhoods, but parents can adequately support the child at home.

    My statement is not intended to deny the influence of outside factors, but rather reflect the ability of parents to deal with outside factors. Ultimately, I think the blame of suicide falls on the parent for failing to provide a nurturing home and/or failing to recognize signs symptoms of potential suicide and/or providing an easy means to execute the act by providing a gun.

  • Clavos

    PETI 69, Don’t forget that the child’s loss of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is the result of a conscious act on his part, even if the presence of the gun DID precipitate it, whereas my loss of my guns would not be because of anything I did.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    # 70, if society has been infantalized and is no longer responsible enough to have the power over life and death, then I would think the solution would be to take away the power until the child prove’s himself/herself responsible enough to wield it.

    In fact, I find it incredibly backwards that after an article about how infantalized society has become most people are defending the merits of gun onwership. The logical solution to an infantalized society is not to give them more guns and hope they learn how to use them, but to take away the guns until they show they learn how to use them. But as I said earlier, perhaps compromise measures are possible since there certainly are responsible gun owners.

  • Clavos

    Ultimately, I think the blame of suicide falls on the parent for failing to provide a nurturing home and/or failing to recognize signs symptoms of potential suicide

    Agree completely.

    and/or providing an easy means to execute the act by providing a gun.

    If it’s a well-parented home, the presence of a gun shouldn’t be a problem.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    #72, perhaps you did nothing, but it would be because of irresponsible use of guns by other gun owners. Usually society claims some responsibility in protecting the safety of minors, even if the minor himself wants to commit suicide. As for adults committing suicide, that would be a different issue for which society has little or no responsibility. (nanny the actual children not the adults).

  • Clavos

    But as I said earlier, perhaps compromise measures are possible since there certainly are responsible gun owners.

    MOST gun owners are highly responsible, particularly in regard to their ownership and custody/handling of their weapons.

  • Clavos

    Good conversation, PETI. I enjoyed it. Gotta go for a while, my wife’s getting jealous of you.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    #74, true but ussually it’s difficult to tell if it’s a well parented home until it’s too late. And I would think one of the requirements of being a well parented home would be that the gun would not be accessible, which obviously is not the case and is the problem at hand. Even seemingly happy teens may have suicidal thoughts. I would venture most suicides are unexpected by the parent.

    If society as a whole is going to become more responsible in gun use, then it needs to enact responsible gun laws that prevent mistakes by the irresponsible minority and protects the safety of the minor. What is wrong with turning responsible gun use into law? It would nanny only those who need nannying, and leave the responsible unaffected.

  • pleasexcusetheinteruption12

    Yes good converation.. i look forward to Dave’s rebuttal..if you come back to this thread Dave check out post #73 (or our whole conversation if you prefer) as it reflects directly on the point you make in article.

  • Clavos

    but to take away the guns until they show they learn how to use them. But as I said earlier, perhaps compromise measures are possible since there certainly are responsible gun owners.

    Wow, now I’m REALLY in trouble with my bride.

    I agree with what you say above, but MANY gun owners are afraid (and not without justification) that, once the door is opened to ANY control, the do-gooders won’t stop until guns are outlawed altogether.

    (jumps up, rushes ouf room. “Yes, Dear. I’m coming…”)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Yikes, I go to a Fish Fry for a few hours and look at all the fun I missed.

    Yes it does. When there is no gun present they are 1/3.4 times less likely to commit suicide. My statistic is not for suicide with a gun. It is for suicide in general. When there is no gun present in the household suicide is 3.4 times less likely.

    So people in gun owning households kill themselves more often than people in gun-free households. But not necessarily with the gun. It’s a weird stat, but I’ll grant that it’s intriguing. It suggests all sorts of sociological questions, but what it doesn’t do is establish a causal relationship between the gun and the suicides. For all we know, male gun owners spend too much time cleaning their guns so their wives get depressed and overdose on valium. Do we blame that on the gun? Or perhaps gun ownership is higher in communities where there is a lot of crime and therefore people feel nervous, get depressed and kill themselves. There may be some third factor which causes people to buy guns and also separately to commit suicide.

    It’s an intriguing statistic, but by itself, without much more supporting data it doesn’t tell us enough. It does suggest a theory to me, however.

    A lot of people don’t buy guns until they are in middle age when they have more valuable property and a home and a family to defend, and because as people get older they may feel less physically capable of defending themselves without a gun. The suicide rate also increases dramatically with age, presumably because greater responsibility can lead to more depression. Aging may be the cause of both greater gun ownership and higher rates of suicide in the same population. I don’t have proof, but the theory makes a lot of sense.

    So you’re acknowledging that the social factors that made the parent own a gun in the first place also contributed to the parent’s poor parenting skills such that his/her daughter committed suicide?

    Is this a higher rate of teen suicide or a higher rate of suicide in general? Teens actually have a much lower suicide rate overall than older age groups. When yo first cited the 3.4x number you didn’t indicate that it was only for teens. Is it?

    In other words parents that buy a gun may have certain attitudes, such as perhaps a more violent attitude than other parents, and pass these attitudes onto their children, while providing an easy means to commit suicide, which in combination result in the child using the gun to commit suicide.

    If you ask psychologists they generally don’t look on suicide as an act of violence. And I’ve nver seen any studies correlating gun ownership with child abuse or domestic violence.

    You are saying the same social factors that cause gun ownership cause suicide. So gun owners just tend to be worse parents? Personally I don’t think it’s the social factors of gun owners that cause suicide, I think it’s mostly just the fact that they own a gun and may use it rashly in anger or depression. Whether it’s the social factors of gun ownership, or gun ownership itself, you are acknowledging one or both are contributing to suicide.

    Guns aren’t necessarily an easy way to commit suicide. Slitting your wrists, taking prescription drugs and jumping off something high are all more easily accessible and less painful and less intimidating, so I don’t see the argument for a gun being an easy way out here.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Dave,

    As you can see, PETI and I had our own fish fry in your absence.

    Clavos

  • Baronius

    Dave, your article reminds me of a story from a couple of years ago. (I can’t vouch for the story’s authenticity.) There was a bank robbery in California which got some national attention because the robbers had the police outgunned.

    There was a gun shop a block or so away from the scene. Some officers ran over to it and told the owner what was happening. The owner just started grabbing guns, loading them, and tossing them over the counter. The police were streaming in, grabbing guns, and heading back out. They were eventually able to kill the robbers.

    So it’s still possible to find that can-do attitude.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I remember that incident. The bank robbers had body armor and fully automatic assault rifles which had been stolen from a national guard armory, as I recall. When it comes to stopping power rather than just mass throwing of lead a good gun shop is going to have stuff in stock which would give police an edge against even the best armed robbers – much better than anything they would normally carry anyway.

    Dave

  • licensed hand gun owner

    I own a handgun, I have the right to protect my family, myself and my land. I will do so responsibly. I don’t beat my wife or my children and my children respect others. They say yes Sir and no Sir. The argument that if you own a gun your are bad parent is not plausible.

    Thanks Dave for the article. After reading The August Texas Monthly and your comment I’m glad those citizens had rifles on that day. They saved alot more lives in my opinion. One pic that got my attention was the one where a man had his rifle on his hip protecting those people behind a building keeping them from Whitman’s line of fire. I don’t know if any of them were Anti-Gun or not but by the look on their faces they were glad that he and his gun was there that day.
    Thanks,
    R

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I haven’t seen the new issue of Texas Monthly yet. My wife usually nabs it and I never see it again. As for any of the people in the crowd being anti-gun, I’m not sure there was such a thing as being anti-gun in Texas in 1966. One of the temporal shock issues I was dealing with in the article.

    Dave

  • licensed handgun owner

    The August Texas Monthly is awesome!!! Individual accounts of those in and around that area on that day and how their lives were changed on that day. I agree probably wasn’t a soul in Texas in 1966 that were Anti-Gun. What’s odd I asked my mother and father from time to time about that day in 1966 but they didn’t want to talk about. My dad told me later “Son that is a day that I would just soon forget” I heard tidbits about Charles Whitman whether it was in a movie or just short conversation with someone and his name was brought up but never until last week when I read the Texas Monthly how times have changed and what our law enforcement has learned from that day.

    Have a Great Sunday,
    R

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    From what I’ve heard it was a seminal moment for law enforcement around the country and led to the creation of SWAT teams and modern hostage negotiation tactics. That’s pretty significant, though the ironic part is that by all accounts those few officers and some civilians handled Whitman faster and more effectively than a modern SWAT team would have – though with a great deal more risk to themselves.

    Dave

  • http://word Scott

    This is a great article. The point on how today we are all looked as potential Whitmans hit the nail on the head.
    Having served in the military and grown up around guns, i know that they are only dangerous in the wrong hands. s@#t like this will always be a risk, but look at the good that occurs when guns are in the right hands.

  • Blackhawk Larry

    Never commented online before, but this exactly what Itold the wife this morn. Good insightful article. I think many of the comments in here reflect society all to well.
    We rather focus on the instrument rather than address or admit to ourselves how we have failed and given in to being truly insensitive to others. It easier to subjegate than it is to embolden. In fact I believe as society has become more intolerant, the more we we become exclusitory. People on the fringes of this intolerance become lost and unable to connect, particularly when they need our help the most, we turn away.
    I’m a cowboy.

  • jose

    look at me a im loser who can a kill a pregnant lady derrrrrr

  • roy

    no wonder he killed all those people in austin from that tower people in austin are assholes and hard to live around there like new yorkers he could take there arrogance any more.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    To be fair, the problem with arrogant lefist yuppies in Austin is a relatively recent development that happened after Whitman was dead.

    Dave

  • Becky

    I never heard about the shooting at The Texas University until recently. It’s terrible. Even back then, stuff like that happened.

  • wrong turn

    although i do agree with many of your points (adults that carry weapons in their car in most major cities would be treated as criminals regardless of the fact that their actions are legal), i have to say that you completely missed your own point. you gleam on the fact that ordinary citizens + police handled things somewhat like a modern SWAT team might have, but completely ignore the reality that SWAT teams were created so that individuals would be specially trained to work as a concerted team during such an event (i.e. operating in a more efficient, effective, and safe manner).