Charles Whitman and Future Shock

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Today’s shooting at the University of Texas brings to mind the case of Charles Whitman, the original Austin shooter:

What struck me as most fascinating were the accounts from several sources of how the police dealt with the lack of covering fire that a SWAT team would provide today. They just went to citizens in the area and asked them to bring their rifles and shoot at the tower, and they all went to their pickups, got their deer rifles and did what they could to help. Their covering fire kept Whitman down and limited him to shooting through a drain opening, pretty much stopping the killing and giving officers the opportunity to get into the building. The officers also deputized one of the citizens to go with them into the tower to give them a bit more firepower, although he didn’t end up facing Whitman.

What a different world. First, it was taken for granted that a bunch of people in the area would be carrying powerful rifles openly in their trucks in the middle of the state’s capitol city. What’s more, the police felt no hesitation in asking those citizens to help out in a dangerous situation and the citizens were eager to do their part. None of this was seen as out of the ordinary or unexpected at the time. Everyone had guns openly in public and they were willing to take responsibility and use them when asked. Perhaps most remarkably, the police saw armed citizens as an asset rather than as a threat.


  1. Foseti says:

    We could definitely use some assets in DC. I don’t understand how this could possibly happen in DC, where everyone is prohibited from carrying guns!

  2. Pat says:

    Gov. Perry has been quoted as saying this is why we need to pass campus carry and allow carry on all campuses.

    His opponent, limousine-liberal Bill White, former mayor of sanctuary city Houston, who had his A.G. rule that you cannot “travel” with a gun in Houston, since “travelling” was not well defined in state statues — however it was — says the following: We should allow campuses to choose whether or not to allow it.

    In other words, these liberal educators will never allow it, so let me look like I agree.

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