A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders by Gary M. Lavergne

By Gary M. Lavergne

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman ascended the collage of Texas Tower and dedicated what used to be then the biggest simultaneous mass homicide in American background. He gunned down forty-five humans inside of and round the Tower prior to he used to be killed by means of Austin law enforcement officials. as well as selling the increase of S.W.A.T. groups to reply to destiny crises, the murders spawned debates over concerns which nonetheless plague the United States this day: household violence, baby abuse, drug abuse, army indoctrination, the madness safeguard, and the fragile stability among civil liberties and public safety.

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Everyone was speechless. We called Jim's girlfriend on campus even though it was before dawn. Then we sat shaking our heads in disbelief. 16 Lost in their foolishness was the unnecessary grief that Jim's young girlfriend must have experienced. Charlie thought that was funny. After a number of cruel jokes, gambling, instances with firearms, and butchering a deer in a shower, dorm residents concluded that there was little that Charlie could do anymore to surprise anyone. , while seated on the balcony of Charlie's dorm room, thought nothing of a remark Charlie was to Page 23 make about the university's landmark Tower.

30 Connally Report, p. 2; Texas Observer, 19 August 1966; Life, 12 August 1966. 31 Rosenberg Herald-Coaster, 19 July and 19 August 1962. 32 FBI Files: LeDuc Statement, pp. 35; unidentified Needville neighbor and Raymond W. Leissner quoted in Austin American-Statesman, 2 August 1966. Page 16 2 The Soldier and the Teacher I After basic training, Charlie was stationed at what was then one of the most troubled spots in the worldGuantanamo Naval Base, Cubabeginning on 9 December 1959. At least one of his marine buddies believed that, above and beyond being in the marines, being at Guantanamo Bay placed a strain on Charlie.

A fellow NESEP scholar. Schuck was a native Texan who helped Charlie with his trigonometry and algebra coursework. Upon arriving in Austin for the 1961 fall semester, they both reported to the Navy ROTC office. Afterwards, Charlie enrolled in the university with a major in mechanical engineering and was officially admitted on 15 September 1961. Page 20 NESEP scholars were generously rewarded. A civilian allowance supplemented their regular pay. According to a credit file cited in an FBI report, Charlie received $250 a month from the marines.

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