50 years ago when many did not have a consciousness of mass shootings, people on the University of Texas campus wandered and stood there witnessing the incident taking place, ended up becoming victims of the mass shooting themselves.
It was on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman killed 17 people, including an unborn child, and injured more than 30. Known as the UT Tower massacre, it was the first of its kind on a US college campus.
Today after 50 years of this unbelievable tragedy, the state of Texa's new Campus Carry law goes into effect. UT Austin leadership has been working from the last year across campus to implement the campus carry law as smoothly as possible.
What is Campus Carry law?
The Campus carry law is the one where students of age 21 and more who are license holders will be allowed to carry concealed handguns at University of Texas, Austin and other public universities.
Limitations put across for the Campus Carry law:
- The open carry of handguns is not allowed on the campus.
- Some areas of the campus in which concealed carry of handguns is prohibited including residence halls.
- It is the responsibility of the individual to carry the handguns at locations that exclude handguns and to plan their daily activities.
- License holders must carry their handguns on them at all times while on campus.
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University of Texas at Austin's longtime architecture dean resigns!
Another development that came about as a shock to many in reference to the Campus Carry law is the resignation of the University of Texas at Austin's longtime architecture dean Fritz Steiner. He says, the campus carry law is the only reason for him to have considered other options. Fritz Steiner will take over as dean of University of Pennsylvania School of Design on July 1.
"I would have never applied for another job if not for campus carry," he said in an interview. "I felt that I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn't believe in."
The departure is a blow for UT-Austin. Its architecture school has consistently ranked among the best in the nation under Steiner.
What happened on 1st August 1966?
50 year ago on August 1, the 25-year old Charles Whitman climbed to the observation deck of the Tower of the UT Austin and shot and killed 17 people from the tower.
He had killed his wife and his mother earlier that day, as well as three people inside the tower, one a 16-year-old boy before performing the horrific act. Whitman's spree lasted 96 minutes before he was shot dead by police officers who reached the deck.
Charles Whitman who was an intelligent student from Florida at age 12 was said to be the world's youngest Eagle scout and was an exceptional marksman. He joined the US Marines at the age of 18 and was honourably discharged from the marines in 1964 and returned to Austin to resume his studies. Earlier, in 1961, he was sent on a scholarship programme to the University of Texas but his behaviour was noted to be erratic and indisciplined.
Many argue that the concealed carry law could aid in personal safety. But critics believe that more guns on campus is a recipe for increased danger and confusion. Some state that, citizens responding to a crime in progress in 1966 is the same as responding to a crime in progress in 2016 is just foolish.
So what is your opinion about the campus carry law? Is it justified? Let us know in the comments section below.