Monday, April 20, 2009

All Along The Clocktower

So I heard that a gun-rights group at a local university was participating in this week's Empty Holster protests, where students wore empty holsters to class to point out their inability to legally carry a gun. Since said local university is part of my beat at my job, I naturally attended the event and filed the expected story about it. But there's one detail I wasn't expecting:
[The group]met in the Student Center’s Clock Tower Room (on the ground floor of a building with no clock tower).

The phrase “clock tower” has unfortunate connotations in the guns-on-campus debate; in 1966, a University of Texas student named Charles Whitman took a rifle to the top of that school’s clock tower, killed 14 people and wounded 32 others before a police sharpshooter took him down.

“We didn’t pick this room,” Adler said when asked about it. “This is the room the administration assigned us.”

4 Comments:

Anonymous smartass sob said...

The phrase “clock tower” has unfortunate connotations in the guns-on-campus debate; in 1966, a University of Texas student named Charles Whitman took a rifle to the top of that school’s clock tower, killed 14 people and wounded 32 others before a police sharpshooter took him down.

“We didn’t pick this room,” Adler said when asked about it. “This is the room the administration assigned us.”


Perhaps that was the administrations's attempt at being clever. Hm, how cute.

I was a high school sophomore in Houston at the time of the UT campus shootings. For newsworthiness it was nearly on a par with Kennedy's assassination. Although it probably helped to cement Texas' reputation among the eastern liberal establishment as a state full of violent, rednecked, gun-toting Neanderthals, I can assure everyone that people here were just as shocked, outraged and traumatized (if that is the proper terminology) as anywhere else. The guy was decidedly off his rocker - what's more, he knew he was. In fact, he left a request that his brain be examined for a tumor after his death. As I recall none was found.


The group]met in the Student Center’s Clock Tower Room (on the ground floor of a building with no clock tower.

No clock tower? But...but this is so sad. Surely a multi-million dollar appropriation could be passed to build one?

Seriously though, aren't you going to tell us why there is a clock tower room but no clock tower? I'm quite curious.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Smartass, I had no time yesterday to go ask anyone about the ground-floor Clock Tower, but I damned sure made a point of mentioning it in the article.

I heard the TV people interviewing the girl -- I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that mine was the only bit of news coverage that didn't take the tone "This girl is a crazy, paranoid danger to society."

7:28 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

In fact, he left a request that his brain be examined for a tumor after his death. As I recall none was found.

Apparently I recalled incorrectly (damn, I'm getting old.) According to the Wikipedia entry for him Whitman did have a brain tumor and some experts think it could have contributed to his actions. My own quick, unqualified opinion is that his abusive father probably contributed to them more - what a mean son-of-a-bitch that man was.

BTW, for what it's worth, Whitman was not a native Texan. He was born and raised in Florida, and he was an engineering student and an ex-Marine. Being from Florida is bad enough - everyone knows how crazy those people can be - but an engineer? Lord, one never knows when an engineer might go off. ;-)

9:07 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Lord, one never knows when an engineer might go off. ;-)Sing it, Brother SASOB!

(the PE after my name, despite some people's opinion, doesn't stand for Pretty Eccentric, and I do own firearms...so y'all better watch out, 'cause I went to grad school in Florida too)

1:02 PM  

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