Texas Tower Sniper – Book Launch and Reception for New Photo Exhibit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, July 18, 2016
WHO: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library
WHAT: Book Launch and Opening Reception for Exhibit
WHERE: David Earl Holt Photo Gallery, Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St.
WHEN: Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 PM
WHY: To learn from our local history
The Austin History Center invites you to the opening of its newest exhibit Looking Back: 50 Years After the UT Tower Shooting. To open the exhibit the Center will host the launch of a new book looking back at this tragedy, Texas Tower Sniper: America’s First Campus Active Shooter by Monte Akers, Nathan Akers and Dr. Robert Friedman. The three authors will talk about why they decided to write the book, why the event still resonates with Austin, issues that the book addresses or debunks, and then close with the psychology of mass killings and how trauma affects society. A book signing will follow the program and light refreshments will be served.
About the Book
On August 1, 1966, University of Texas engineering student Charles Whitman went to the top of the 307 foot campus tower. Over the next 96 minutes he shot 46 people. The stabbing murder of his wife and mother, committed the night before, left the body count at 17 dead and 31 wounded.
Texas Tower Sniper: America's First Campus Active Shooter, by Monte Akers, Nathan Akers, and Dr. Roger Friedman, examines the details leading up to the event, the shootings, and their half-century legacy in stark detail. In doing so the authors correct various myths and misinterpretations that have been part of the public narrative for decades, such as a brain tumor having motivated Whitman’s actions, that he intentionally targeted certain victims, and that he attempted to make it appear that multiple snipers were active. Witness interviews, examination of primary sources, and handwriting analysis reveal information overlooked until now, including the factors that actually caused Whitman to commit the murders and how Whitman’s death and autopsy were mishandled.
Employing the expertise of a clinical psychologist who was best friend to one of the shooter’s young victims, the book contrasts current understandings of trauma with the approach taken at the time, and documents how isolated survivors in Austin gradually came together to fully memorialize the tragedy on August 1, 2016, its 50th Anniversary. Texas Tower Sniper explores the history and personal experience of this seminal tragedy, enriches public memory, and advances our understanding of mass shootings that continue to haunt America.
From Prelude to Book
“ ... come now to Austin, Texas at mid-morning on a summer Monday. The University of Texas Tower stands proud, a symbol of peace and majestic learning. It is still possible that the date will be unremarkable, will not become a wounded day that leaves an arterial stain across a purple sky. The collective lifeblood of its citizens has not begun to flow upward from broken bodies. There is no wraparound sound of distant dogs barking or sirens approaching. Nothing about the Tower darkens the mind, as though misgiving is built into its stones. Not yet.”