A Marine trained sniper went ballistic and killed 16 people (and injured 32) today before being subdued by authorities. Charles Whitman died at the end of his rampage, shot dead by authorities. The place was the University of Texas, Austin. It was the first day of August, 1966.
Far as I can tell. and unlike the shooter in Afghanistan, Whitman never suffered the horrors of the military beyond the rigors of stateside Marine corps life. It was a personal (he killed his mom and wife) as well as community tragedy. In hindsight, none of the pressures or troubles of his life were so burdensome as to cause a normal person to do such a horrible thing. Of course Charles Whitman was far from a normal person. Post death autopsies confirmed the presence of a very aggressive tumor growing in an area of his brain that is responsible for aggression. Mr. Whitman had been complaining of crippling headaches….. In this instance, we can fairly place at least part of the “blame” on the event to biology and the lack of pre-event diagnostics.
The latest example of a crazed gunman unleashing hell on a neighborhood comes from Afghanistan. The web is filling up with “lone crazed gunman” memes, a huge cache of which are no doubt originating from the fingertips of paid Pentagon astroturf personnel. That makes me more suspicious that the claims of the locals that he had help are true. In any case, these actions were a bit grander and more audacious than some of the lesser killings of collateral civilians in the region. This poor bastard lacked the anonymity a drone strike on a wedding party offers a “soldier” fighting video game style from a console in the Utah desert. His name will eventually surface. The media is already working to soften his image although I have yet to see him named or identified:
It is interesting that this angle of the story is high profile, but the news that he was not acting alone (as reported by the neighborhood) is getting shuffled down in the mix. But we need to play the blame game. The world won’t let us get away with ignoring this one like they did Bush’s big WMD fuck-up. Not after all the torturing we did to those poor bastards on the basis of Bush and Company cock and bull. There will be no way of scaring people from looking back and analyzing this. The answer is easy. You put humans in a situation where they are as physically and emotionally tortured as the people they have tortured and bad things are bound to happen.
It really is Bush’s fault as well as the fault of American jurisprudence. This is part of the blowback to ignoring the responsibility for prosecuting the war criminals who got us into this manufactured fiasco in the first place. Things might have ended differently for those other sixteen people back in Texas if Mr. Whitman’s tumor had been identified and removed in time. This recent shooting shows it is past time to remove the tumor that infected America when the Bush gang started authorizing torture of innocent people based on nothing but bluster.