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“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?”

Fair question.

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?

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  1. “… killing students, pedestrians, and unborn children with pinpoint accuracy.”

    “Unborn children”? Nancy Pelosi was with him?

    • Not sure what Nancy Pelosi has to do with anything, but that aside, why the quotes around unborn children?

      • Let me try: The Nancy Pelosi thing is his attempt at humor since she’s a proponent of abortion, hence killing of “unborn children”. Also, see what I did there. You put quotation marks around words when you’re actually quoting something someone else said.

  2. I read that UT recently ‘lost’ Whitman’s brain (apparently they were allowed to keep it) along with many others from their ‘repository basement’ some time ago. You’d think there’d be all sorts of registration, safe storage, inspection, and theft-reporting requirements with regards to the storage of human brains.

    • Surprisingly, no. From what I’ve seen online organ repositories for medical study are more like a macabre episode of hoarders crossed with a superfund site.

    • It was in a outbuilding freezer that was nowhere close to being up to code, or being upkept in general. The heat pump broke down, and it was left to decay. The external portion of the building also fell into disrepair, and the brains basically spoiled, as any unkempt meat is wont to do.

  3. Is this any different than say a museum devoted to the holacaust? I’ve been on the Alcatraz tour. Ignoring horrible events doesn’t make them go away.

  4. I’d like to see it. I know a lot of folks who were UT students at the time, but they weren’t there in the summer, when the shooting took place. A former boss of mine was on campus that day. She’s since passed away, so I can’t ask her how she’d feel about this.

    If I’d lost a loved one that day, I’d probably avoid this exhibit, but I wouldn’t tell a museum not to display it.

  5. Thats a pretty nice deer rifle.

    Errr, sniper rifle.

    I’m so confused. I’m just glad nobody is after my hunting rifles.

  6. Wait a minute…that’s not an ebil black assault gunzah. You mean, someone committed a heinous act of public massacre and menace, and it wasn’t even an ebil black assault gunzah? This makes no sense.

    That must be one of those ebil bolt-action machine gunzah that fires 30 magazine clips a second, right?

  7. After reading who founded this museum, I bet the exhibit fails to mention that students and other citizens fired back with their own hunting rifles, enabling the two cops to get the drop on Whitman.

      • Yes, and what stinks is that even though as a young Texan I grew up marinating in the Whitman shooting, I had never heard about the people who shot back until a few years ago.

        Thanks, media a55holes!

        • Especially since all they probably had to do was get to their pickup (with the windows down and the keys on the visor) reach in and pull out their likely loaded rifle off the gun rack.

          The good ‘ole days…

        • Geoff, the shooting went on for a significant time, was reported on the radio. A lot of good ol’ boys wheeled their pickups around and headed toward the sound of the guns, a decision which used to be honored in this country. Arriving at the Tower, They grabbed their rifles out of the back window, left the truck to fend for itself, and commenced firing. It was a good day for Texas gunowners, and we don’t tend to forget it. The police were well represented, too, the heroes were just cops, one I think a beat cop. No SWAT, no waiting for hours before acting, just go for it.

        • @LarryinTX

          I wasn’t being sarcastic. I lived a few years in southwest Oklahoma, Pickups with gunracks were pretty much the norm then.

          Meaning, the first responders were already on scene.

      • That’s what makes me curious. Is this a not so subtle gun control exhibit that fails to mention the self defense shooting of civilians and police? Given DC politics, I would be surprised if it was mentioned any other way. The failure to mention all of the facts would really bother me. Yes, this was a crime gun, but similar guns were used in legitimate self defense at the same incident.

    • +1. Juliesa, I too was surprised to read of the armed citizen involvement- I think I just saw reference to it about a month ago someplace featuring Ray Martinez autobiography “They Call Me Ranger Ray” where he acknowledges the accurate fire by citizens and police from below was keeping Whitman distracted and head down. This link below came from Wikipedia footnote.

      And to those who wonder if “overlooking” that part of the story is part of the current progtard coordinated talking point memos,

      well, yes, of course it is.

      This is Obama’s last gasp, a chance at leaving something, anything, as his legacy- we can expect one more community activist wave of the same meme’s echoed and repeated in the Cults various aggregators and reliable Party Organs, both in support of Bloomberg’s state by state private funding of UBC and any other gun grabbing efforts.

      Not to mention a handy distraction from the much more serious issues that threaten the country-
      a nuclear Iran,
      destroying 1/6 of the economy by government monopoly of health care
      corruption of executive powers and agencies- IRS, EPA, DOE, DOJ- the list is long and part of the story is still hidden and stonewalled…

      This last gun-grab effort is worthy JUST to distract the LIVs alone.

      Keep spreading the word, and beating down the StateRunMedia’s deliberate agitprop, TTAG.

  8. Maybe if it went on a traveling display I would look at it. Sadly, the museum is in Washington DC, a city I avoid.

  9. Yes, but not because of him or anything he did. I would go to show people what it looked like when Remington made good guns.

  10. “Why does somebody want to go look at something that did so much evil?”

    Wait, what? The evil rifle climbed up the book tower all by itself and started picking off civilians?

    The rifle didn’t do anything evil. Whitman did.

  11. “Why does somebody want to go look at something that did so much evil?”

    The gun itself didn’t do the evil, the shooter did. I feel sorry for Whitman, he had some sort of brain tumor that drove him crazy. He tried to get help but his doctor dismissed him IIRC.

      • Well, the record up to then of his life was beyond reproach. He was not a punk or a criminal, maybe you could argue PTSD, but this was the first demonstration of such.

  12. I watched the PC butcher job they did on Investigation Discovery and the totally, and I think purposely, left out the FACT that a number of college guys ran to their cars, got out their OWN scoped deer rifles and pinned him down. Once THAT happened he CEASED firing down at the campus because they were hitting the wall INCHES from his head. THAT is when the cops tried to take him out from a crop dusting plane and that failed but the dual distractions made it possible for the cop, security guard and armed civilian to take him out. NOBODY ever mentions that fact. Once in a TV flick they showed the kids pinning him down and the cop tells the “big shot” detective” (John Forsythe) that he was grateful for the 2A as it was helping control the situation. The “smart” cop snaps “Oh sure, that’s how HE got is isn’t it?” That line did NOT play well with the audience back in the early ’70s. Whitman was played by Kurt Russell.

    Ray from Bloombergia

    PS- It was more likely a .270 or .30-06 as the 6mm had a shitty rate of twist compared to a .243 Winchester unless THAT was the chambering.

    • “It was more likely a .270 or .30-06 as the 6mm had a shitty rate of twist compared to a .243 Winchester unless THAT was the chambering.”

      Depends on what year it was and what ammo he was using. Early rifles marked .244 Remington had the slower 1 in 12 twist and couldn’t stabilize bullets heavier than 90 grains. Starting in 1963 they changed the name to 6mm Remington and went to a 1 in 9 twist to stabilize heavier bullets. The rifle he used was a 700 ADL and since the 700 was released in 1962 it would have had to be a rifle from the first year of production to have the slower twist rate and even then he would have been fine if he were using rounds with 75 or 90 grain bullets.

  13. I believe that the rifle was a .243 Caliber! I probably would not make a specific trip just too see this rifle! what I would like to know is what his military MOS was; I believe that he was a pretty proficient Marks man, to hit as many people as he did from the angles he was shooting from, what is not said is how many rounds were fire in total
    I watched this event on TV, what I found interesting was ordinary people took rifles off their window racks and returned fire, actually pinning Whitman down so the good guys could blow him into next week!
    This was early TV News!


    In his old Marine footlocker Charlie packed an array of supplies. He brought a radio, 3 gallons of water, gasoline, a notebook and pen, a compass, a hatchet and hammer, food, two knives, a flashlight and batteries, and various other implements which made it clear he was prepared for a lengthy standoff. Additionally, he packed guns—a 35 caliber Remington rifle, a 6mm Remington rifle with a scope, a 357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver, a 9mm Luger pistol, and a Galesi-Brescia pistol. Later that morning he would buy two more weapons, a 30 caliber M-1 carbine and a 12-gauge shotgun. As he packed he refined his plan. At 5:45 a.m. he called Kathy’s supervisor at Southwestern Bell and told her his wife was sick and wouldn’t be reporting to work that day.

    Wonder what happened to the rest of the firearms?

    • HI Tom,
      I know this is an old post but I was hoping that I could still get in touch with you.
      Could you please give me a quick call? I have a few questions I’d like to ask you that I’d rather not post publicly.
      Thanks. Terry. 918-530-969seven

  15. My best friend grew up in Austin. One of his uncles was walking to class with a girlfriend (now wife) when Whitman opened fire. A couple of his earlier shots landed very close to them. He saw the dirt puff up from the impact, instictively picked his girlfriend up in a fireman’s carry, and ran as fast as he could off campus to safety. I don’t have a problem with a museum displaying Whitman’s rifle, or any other sort of “evil” objects at all. History should always be preserved and made known to the public.

  16. My only reservation with this is wondering what potential message it sends to another lowlife who’d like to also immortalize himself in a museum.

  17. If you read Wikipedia, you will learn that Whitman had a brain tumor, and a long documented history of visits with various shrinks and doctors who failed to diagnose his admitted and disturbing mental illness.

    REMEMBER – it wasnt the gun, it was the person- and once again, due to mental illness.

    UBC’s do nothing to address mental health issues. Nor does gun registration.
    Regulating the tool is much easier and simpler to distract the sheep from the problem-
    its the people who pull the trigger.

    More help for the mentally ill will prevent mass shootings FAR more than any gun control measure-
    its been well documented anecdotally, and long understood by street cops and social workers who work with the mentally ill, and now the studies are proving the same.

    What we need to do is continue to spread the word, and MOST IMPORTANT to identify and hold the politicians accountable who take money from gun control activist groups to help spread the lies and FUD,
    that more laws to restrict guns and more laws upon the law abiding will do any good.

    Their real purpose is simple- power. To deprive citizens of their natural and constitutionally protected right to self defense by arms is what enables tyranny from above.

  18. No I’m not going to stand in line to see this. But if they want to display go ahead. What about the endless fascination with Nazi’s? I see a big bruhaha with Lee Harvey Oswald’s pine casket now. The banality of evil and all that crap…

  19. Drill Instructor: Do any of you people know who Charles Whitman was? None of you dumb asses know? …Private Cowboy.

    Private Cowboy: Sir. He was that guy who shot all those people from that tower in Austin, Texas, Sir.

    Drill Instructor: That’s affirmative. Charles Whitman killed twelve people from a twenty-eight story observation tower at the University of Texas, from distances of up to four hundred yards.

    Anybody know who Lee Harvey Oswald was? …Private Snowball.

    Private Snowball: Sir! He shot Kennedy, Sir!

    Drill Instructor: That’s right. And do you know how far away he was?

    Private Snowball: Sir! He was pretty far. From that school suppository building, Sir!

    [Laughter from the recruits.]

    Drill Instructor: All right, knock it off. Two hundred and fifty feet. He was two hundred and fifty feet away and shooting at a moving target. He got off three rounds from an old Italian bolt action rifle in only six seconds. And scored two hits, including a head shot.

    Do any of you people know where these individuals learned how to shoot? …Private Joker.

    Private Joker: Sir! In the marines, Sir!

    Drill Instructor: In the marines! Outstanding! Those individuals showed what one motivated marine and his rifle can do! And before you ladies leave my island, you’ll all be able to do the same thing!

    • How do you know this? I’m not doubting you…I would just like to know where you got your information.

  20. The gun was owned by a private individual in the Dallas area. A friend of AWD’s fired it. I was invited to fire it but passed. I had mixed feelings about firing a gun that murdered innocent people.

    Plus, I needed to sight in my .300 Weatherby.


  21. “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?””

    Stupid Question.

    Another anti-gun person is personifying an inanimate object. Charles Whitman was the evil in this tragic event, not the gun he used.

  22. “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?”

    I say the same thing to people who tune into the State of the Union address.

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