The Murderous Repetitions of the Historically Ignorant

It’s a long, long way from 1966 to 2007. Too long for the MSM to remember anything useful. As they blather on today about the need for more gun control, look at the remembrances from last year at a Texas television station:

Gordon Wilkison is retired from the news business now, but in 1966, he was a photographer for KTBC, the only television station in town. It hadn’t been that long since Wilkison had left the Army.

That’s why when Charles Whitman opened fire from the University of Texas Tower on Aug. 1, 1966, Wilkison wasn’t afraid as long as he had cover.

“I wasn’t being anybody’s hero but I had a good 75 mm lens on my Bolex [camera]. That’s what got the shots,” he said.

University of Texas 1996It was Wilkison’s shot that captured the definitive images of the tragedy – the shots of gunfire from the Tower, the shots of a wounded, pregnant Claire Wilson on the hot pavement. He also interviewed students who risked their lives to rescue fellow students.

“There was a lot of heroics that were going on then, same thing was going on over on the Drag. When they brought the armored car out to take out one of the wounded persons, [Whitman] was just firing left and right then. It was a good idea and I thought they’d never get the guy in the truck,” Wilkison said.


News footage was shot on film back then with cameras that were very heavy. Wilkison didn’t have a tripod so he had to hold the camera steady as bullets fired around him…


Seventeen people were killed and nearly three dozen others were wounded by Whitman, who fired from the Tower’s 28th-floor observation deck.

That was August 1966. It was later discovered that Whitman had a brain tumor. In the note he left behind, it is obvious he knew something had gone seriously wrong.

Now fast forward to January 2006:
– – – – – – – – – –

A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

House Bill 1572 didn’t get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill’s defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.” [emphasis mine -D]


Most universities in Virginia require students and employees, other than police, to check their guns with police or campus security upon entering campus. The legislation was designed to prohibit public universities from making “rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed handgun permit … from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun.”

The legislation allowed for exceptions for participants in athletic events, storage of guns in residence halls and military training programs.

Last spring a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit. Some gun owners questioned the university’s authority, while the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police came out against the presence of guns on campus. [a bit territorial, hmm? -D]

In June, Tech’s governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities. [outlaw the guns so only the outlaws will have them. More help from the Marching Morons]

You can’t miss the note of superior self-congratulation here, can you? The Rule of the Enlightened over the unwashed, dangerous masses. Simply issue an edict and the governing board of Tech has “prevented violence.” Everyone is safe now from those nasty guns [noise offstage. Someone is vomiting into the bushes by Norris Hall].

Too bad journalism majors don’t have to do double duty with some delving into American history (the real version, not the p.c. pap infecting colleges today). Or maybe someone could just inoculate them against the virulent hubris from which so many of them seem to suffer – and which makes them insufferable for the rest of us.

Who wants to bet on how many of the MSM will be interviewing the Brady Bill bunch about gun control, and how many will be talking to the survivors of the University of Texas shooter? What do you think the ratio will be?

Except for Texans, I’ll bet it runs about 50::1 for the Brady Bunch talking heads.

When it comes to the MSM, bet on ignorance and wonder if it’s willful.

Thanks to Tushar for noticing the date mix up. That’s 1966,folks, not 1996. I made the two changes — Dyslexic Dymphna

14 thoughts on “The Murderous Repetitions of the Historically Ignorant

  1. I suggest to everyone that they read the suicide note you link to. It’s sadly touching. A young man who, with a little help, might have been able to function. It looks as if he was really, truly failed by the system.

    Which does not of course “excuse” what he did. But he showed something in his note that most maniacs don’t.

    Thanks for linking it.

  2. gtwhaco-

    Back then, they didn’t have brain scans, though I suppose an xray might have revealed something amiss.

    At the very least, his own realization that something was amiss, and his attempts to get help are sad testaments to his ultimate actions.

    Just the amount of aspirin or tylenol he was going thru for his headaches should have been a symptom to be investigated. I wonder what happened to the doctor and shrink who saw him and did nothing? Probably not even a censure.

    Evidently the note left by this guy at VPI, and his change in behavior also indicate something wrong. The hapless English professor who was reading his increasingly disturbed essays did nothing. Of course, she’s idiotic enough to actually talk about it in public now.

    Can’t figure out if she’s a fool, a publicity hound, or both. It *is* the English Dept after all.

    Scares the heck out of me that our son will be going to grad school there in Fall 2008. I thought the rash of suicides at his current school was alarming,but it doesn’t begin to compare…

    I’m trying to coax a friend who used to consult on crisis management for organizations to critique this whole mess for us, but she doesn’t have the time to do a post…I’ll have to lean harder, maybe. Or just have her dictate it to me…

    We’ll see. I also plan to write about a school that allows guns on campus. Has an armory, in fact. Of course, the kids don’t walk around with guns, but this place has an NRA chapter, too.

    But that’s for later, after the mourning has dropped to a bearable level.

    You know what the worst day for parents is? TODAY. It’s the first morning you wake up and know your child is gone, irrevocably and forever *gone.* There is nothing as evil, as painful as that first waking realization.

    The second worst day? When you walk away from his or her grave.

    The third worst day? When you try to pick up the pieces, go back to work, drive somewhere and notice that people are walking around, talking, having their usual day…as though nothing happened. Your rational mind says “well, of course it hasn’t…for them.” But underneath you are screaming at them for not suffering, damn it.

    And time rushes on, carrying you further from your beloved child. The line between life and death has blurred for you…you freeze when someone asks how many children you have…

    …and the pain is exponentially increased for the parents of the dead killer. So many souls in their son’s hand. What will become of them and his brother?

    I’ve been where those other parents are, but I cannot begin to fathom what the perpetrator’s family must be feeling. My intuition says that they will walk with a permanent stoop for the rest of their lives.


    …there was something wrong with that boy and I believe it was organically based. I hope they reveal the autopsy, rather than psychologizing this into meaninglessness.

  3. On the op-ed page of the Arizona Republic this morning, a commentator wrote, in reaction to the Virginia Tech atrocity, “My brain just screams at me: ‘Why? Why? Why?'” The answer has two parts, the first being the perpetrator’s greed for a power so intense that he’s willing to yield the reaminder of his existence for a brief dose of it; the second being the craven passivity enjoined and enforced by officialdom. A more lengthy discussion of this may be seen at:

  4. Dymphna, your last comment was beautifully written. The pain is unimaginable, especially for the shooter’s family. On that level, the Texas guy gets points, in a tragic way. At least he thought of them, which makes his case all the worst. He was not “broken” in a psychological sense, but far more tragically.

  5. Dymphna

    Let us remember that one of the two people in Austin that got to the top of the tower to stop the shooting was a civilian. Who just happened to be there at the time..

    I read a an interview earlier today. The interviewee said that the shooter shot peole in the room he was in, stepped out to reload the pistol, he was expecting him to come back and shoot some more, but instead the shooter went down the hall. If the shooter was reloading the gun is empty, why not jump him, it seems safer than waiting to be shot. I would bet that at half a dozen points the shooter had is back to someone who could have jumped him. a more few following the lead and the shooting would be over. There could be many reasons why he couldn’t jump him but it seems a larger question, not just that some do not like guns for self defense, they don’t like the idea of self-defense.

    A dollar to a donut that if some student had had a legal pistol and shot the perpetrator early on saving many lives she would be expelled. I’d like to lose that bet.

  6. re: jumping a guy while reloading: you have to be fast. I’m an uncoordinated klutz, and I can swap magazines in under 2 seconds. Somebody who’s good can do it in under 1 second

  7. Papabear

    I rather suspect that if some one gives you two seconds in a sitution like that, it will be there last mistake.

  8. It occured to me today that these school shootings are not seen as isolated incidents. People either think that something is wrong with America, or that there are too many guns. Whatever the reason, the school shootings are caused by something.

    But Islamic terror attacks, or anything else that’s documented daily by sites like Jihad Watch? No connection there. Just a series of isolated incidents.

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