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A sniper in the tower: the Charles Whitman mass murders by Gary M. Lavergne

By Gary M. Lavergne

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman ascended the college of Texas Tower and devoted what was once then the biggest simultaneous mass homicide in American background. He gunned down forty-five humans within and round the Tower prior to he was once killed by way 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 matters which nonetheless plague the USA at the present time: family violence, baby abuse, drug abuse, army indoctrination, the madness safeguard, and the fragile stability among civil liberties and public safety.

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24 Rosenberg Herald-Coaster, 22 July 1943. , 7 February 1960; Austin American-Statesman, 7 August 1966. 26 Rosenberg Herald-Coaster, 21 July 1960. , 25 May 1961. , 28 May 1961. 29 Austin American-Statesman, 2 August 1966; Newsweek, 15 August 1966; APD Files: Statement of Francis J. , 13 September 1966 and The Daily Record of C. J. Whitman, entry of 23 February 1964. 30 Connally Report, p. 2; Texas Observer, 19 August 1966; Life, 12 August 1966. 31 Rosenberg Herald-Coaster, 19 July and 19 August 1962.

6 In spite of his iron discipline, C. A. Whitman believed his sons were "spoiled rotten," and some Lake Worth neighbors agreed. He provided well for the material wants of his entire family, even his mother; he bought the house next door to his home for her. Later, C. A. provided each of the family members with new cars, and all of the boys had motorcycles. In return, however, he expected much. "7 Margaret Whitman also demanded strict discipline, although hers was a more gentle firmness. A devout Roman Catholic and a regular Page 4 churchgoer, she insisted that her sons attend Mass with her.

For Charlie Whitman, taking orders probably seemed like a small price to pay. At eighteen, he looked more like a toy soldier than a real one. He stood nearly six feet tall and was not overly muscular, but rather thin and boyish. His long, narrow face and his large smile caused his eyes to squint, and his blond crew-cut accentuated his youthful features. At first, his uniform and his gear looked oversized, but marine life would fill him out considerably. Charlie shortly reached his adult height of six feet, and his weight hovered around 198 pounds.

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