On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother, then armed himself with rifles and ammunition and climbed to the top of the clock tower on the University of Texas Austin campus. From there he randomly shot passersby, ultimately killing 14 people and wounding more than 30 more. The inexplicable rampage ended only when police shot and killed Whitman. The Whitman shootings are a reminder that mass killings aren’t only a recent development in American history.
The clock tower is still on the UT campus, at one end of a graceful quad framed by a fountain at the other end. It’s a fine building, but I’m not sure I could work around it without constantly thinking about that fateful day 50 years ago.