Campus Carry went into effect the same day as the 50th anniversary of the deadly shooting on the University of Texas at Austin. 13 people were killed in the shooting back in 1966. More than 30 others were injured. A memorial was held today on the UT campus.
Before the sniper attack, the UT Tower was always a place of joy. Growing up in Austin’s pre-skyscraper days, this was the place you always brought visitors to see. The panorama of the 40 acres and of the city.
But after the shootings, it was almost like no one wanted to talk about the shooting. Today’s remembrance is long, long overdue.
With survivors and their families looking on, the UT President tried to explain why school officials were reluctant to address the shootings.
In the ensuing decades, there was an instinct to shield the university by not associating it with a singular crime. To not allow tragedy to define the tower. The central symbol of this institution.
Clara Wilson James was walking near the main mall that day. A gunshot took the life of her unborn baby boy. Another killed her boyfriend, Thomas Eckman.
Clara Wilson James, “The truth is that could have gone on for days. It could have gone on for much longer than it did because nobody knew what was happening and it was terrifying. But all of you have been effected in ways that we’ll never know. I just met a nurse who was a student and a nurse who took care of me that day and you know, we forget about the ones that kept us alive.”
Clara Wilson James, “The violence that sees the campus began in the heart of one. Let this memorial remain here in this campus and in our minds as a reminder of the power we have each moment to become a community of love.”
Before the ceremony, the bells of the tower tolled at 11:48 a.m. to remember when the shooting happened, and the tower clock stopped for 24 hours.