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U TX Tower rampage - Charles Whitman

Discussion in 'Crimes' started by noZme, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. noZme

    noZme Bronze Member

    On Aug. 1, 1966, engineering student Charles Whitman of Lake Worth ascended the University of Texas Tower with a trunk full of guns and showed America how one ruthless person can inflict fear and grief on an entire city. Below is a story originally published in The Palm Beach Post in 2006. This Monday marks the 50-year anniversary of that Texas tower rampage.

    Wow, tragic stories for the entire family. Detectives retracing Whitman’s steps found a wealth of notes, letters and diaries. His words sent shock and horror back to his childhood home in Lake Worth - back to the brutal father that he despised. “The intense hatred I feel for my father is beyond description,” Charles wrote. His venom-filled words made it clear: The Whitman family tragedy had begun long before that deadly day in 1966. And it continued, without mercy, for decades to come.

    Demons and doom: The Whitmans of Lake Worth

    Shortly before noon on a sweltering Monday morning, Aug. 1, 1966, when architectural engineering student and Marine-trained sniper Charles Whitman climbed to the observation deck of the 27-story clock tower in the heart of UT's flagship Austin campus, armed with rifles, pistols and a sawed-off shotgun.

    He killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others before authorities gunned him down. He had killed his wife and mother prior to heading to the tower, one victim died in the hospital a week later and medical examiners eventually attributed a 17th death to Whitman in 2001 — a man who had been shot and wounded in his one functioning kidney and elected to stop dialysis treatment.

    The killing spree introduced the nation to the concept of a "mass shooting" outside the context of a military battlefield, coining a phrase in American lexicon that's become chillingly commonplace.

    Beginning of an Era: The 1966 University of Texas Clock Tower Shooting


  2. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    Hi All,
    I have an excellent book on this case; here's a link to it on Amazon:
    One of many interesting facts is that Whitman was found to have a brain tumor on autopsy <snip>On August 2, an autopsy was conducted upon the body of Charles Whitman by Dr. Chenar (a neuropathologist at Austin State Hospital) at the Cook Funeral Home in Austin, Texas. Urine and blood were removed to test for traces of amphetamines or other substances.[94] During the autopsy, Dr. Chenar discovered a brain tumor which he labeled an astrocytoma, and noted it was approximately the size of a pecan. He also observed a small amount of necrosis in the tumor, and concluded that the tumor had no effect on Whitman's actions the previous day. This result was later revised by the Connally Commission (see below).[ <snip>
  3. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I read about his brain tumor years ago. It's fascinating.
    spike, noZme, Ladyslug and 1 other person like this.
  4. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    I just re-read my book; one issue that frustrates me is the autopsy was performed AFTER Whitman's body was embalmed; I don't understand why this is EVER done. Even most lay people know that toxicology results, not to mention other conditions, are not going to be accurate after embalming (the same thing happened in the Joan Robinson Hill case in TX; and I doubt that's the only other case). I'm going to try to research the type of brain tumor Whitman had, and its location. I won't buy that the tumor caused his decision to commit mass murder, but he did report horrible headaches for quite some time before. Brings up some questions, IMO.
    spike, noZme and Ladyslug like this.
  5. GarAndMo49

    GarAndMo49 Not A Sheeple

    After checking out "astrocytoma" (see wiki link above), I don't feel I can express any type of intelligent opinion about Whitman's tumor, because there are too many possible variables that aren't clear in relation to Whitman's case. So I googled Charles Whitman brain tumor, and ultimately found this expanded editorial from the author of the book I cited earlier. His opinions make almost total sense to me (I say almost only because there will always be some unknown issues that died with Whitman). <snip> "...Anyway, I ultimately concluded, and later the FBI’s premier profiler, John Douglas, would agree in his book Anatomy of Motive, that “[Whitman’s] actions speak for themselves.” Any cause-effect theory, whether organic (brain tumor), chemical (amphetamine psychosis), or psychological (military training or child abuse), embracing the idea that Charles Whitman’s judgment or free will was impaired, is not consistent with what he DID." <snip>
    "And if, as was suggested by a forensic psychiatrist on A&E’s Biography, his tumor might have affected the amygdala, which is believed to be related to rage, when did this rage or mental breakdown begin? Was he under the control of a tumor or drugs or in a state of rage when he went to a convenience store to buy the canned goods he intended to eat while on the deck? Right about that time he had lunch with his wife and mother at a cafeteria. He had begun his plans for their murder but didn’t kill them there? Is that not control? Or did this loss of control begin with a trip to Academy Surplus where he bought the knife he used to kill them and the binoculars he had strapped around his neck while shooting fifty people? He was planning murder. If not, why did he buy these things? The Academy Surplus cashier didn’t bother to check his I.D. because “he looked like such a nice boy.” How could an enraged or psychotic individual do these things?

    Maybe the tumor or amphetamine psychosis kicked in when he bought his shotgun at Sears, where he asked the attendant about whether there was metal in the stock he intended to saw off later that morning. He wasn’t in an uncontrolled rage when he asked that question. He didn’t kill anybody at Chuck’s Gun Shop. Whatever “disorder” he is reputed to have didn’t seem to affect his shopping skills: He bought the right ammunition for appropriate weapons he intended to use and he even knew he was writing bad checks for all of it. For two days there is premeditation and no evidence of brain malfunction, psychosis, or rage." <snip>"
    Enough! I could go on and I haven’t even gotten him to the Tower yet. Imagine how much more a good district attorney in a court of law could add to further expose this nonsense. Suffice to say that after three years of searching for what made this “all-American boy” a mass murderer, I could not delude myself any longer. How big a chump does a person have to be to swallow this “all-American boy” stuff?

    On July 31st and August 1st of 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman was a cold and calculating murderer. Those who say they can’t believe he would commit such a monstrous crime are only admitting that they didn’t really know him. They never saw the dark side of Charles Whitman because he didn't show it to them. But it was there; “a nice guy” doesn’t shoot fifty innocent people."
    This works quite well for me.
    spike and noZme like this.
  6. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    'Tower' documentary about 1966 Texas mass shooting is groundbreaking, heartbreaking (review)

    "Tower" is a documentary about the Aug. 1, 1966, mass shooting at the University of Texas by the deranged former Marine sniper Charles Whitman. The 96-minute killing spree left 16 people dead.

    Director Keith Maitland worked with the animation team Minnow Mountain to illustrate survivors' verbal remembrances of that day, spoken by actors, while drawing them as they were 50 years ago, re-enacting the events of that horrific day.

    We hear from students, journalists who covered the story, law enforcement and other witnesses.



    Who: A documentary with animation directed by Keith Maitland.

    Rated: Not rated.

    Running time: 82 minutes.

    When: Opens Friday.

    Where: Capitol Theatre, 1390 West 65th St., Cleveland.

    Grade: B+
    noZme, Kimster, spike and 1 other person like this.
  7. spike

    spike Bronze Member

    Thanks for that, SWMNBN!
    My husband got to see it and was surprised by the information.
  8. newfrance

    newfrance Member

    Here is a brief review of the Texas Tower shootings......Back in that era thing like this did not really take place..................... check it out..............
    GarAndMo49 and Paradise like this.
  9. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Administrative Manager Staff Member

    I was 12 years old and living in Austin when this happened. My Aunt called me as it was happening and told me not to go near the UT tower.
  10. spike

    spike Bronze Member

    I remember it as well.
    The world was on the brink of so many changes in our culture.
    Negative changes.
    GarAndMo49, noZme and SoSueMe like this.

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