“On Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 32 more in Austin from atop the University of Texas Tower. Whitman, a former marine, terrorized the campus for 90 minutes, killing students, pedestrians, and unborn children with pinpoint accuracy.” You probably knew all that. But did you know that in addition to the National Portrait Gallery, the Air and Space Museum, the Vietnam War Memorial the Museum of Natural History and the Newseum, Washington, D.C. is also home to the Crime Museum? That’s probably the only place where it might make sense to display Witman’s rifle . . .
Museum officials tout the acquisition as a valuable and educational addition to their collection. But victims of the attack like Claire Wilson James don’t understand displaying a macabre reminder of a horrific event.
“What kind of person wants to go and look at it?” she said. “Why does somebody want to go look at something that did so much evil?”
Janine Vaccarello, the museum’s chief operating officer, said that displaying the rifle furthers the museum’s mission of educating people about the history of crime and law enforcement.
“We want to make sure that we’re not glorifying the crime or the criminal,” she said. “That’s not the role of the museum, that’s not what it’s here for.”
Would you stand in line to see that particular Remington 700?