Skip to main content
Texas Tribune Festival attendees gather at the University of Texas President's Party in the UT Tower on Sept. 23, 2016.
Uvalde school shooting

Essay: America’s first modern mass shooting never really ended

The 1966 University of Texas Tower shooting remains clouded by myths, including the myth of the “good guy with a gun.” It left too many Americans with only evil to blame — and not our leaders, our policies and ourselves.

From left: Civilian Allen Crum and Austin police officers Ray Martinez, Houston McCoy, and Jerry Day appeared before the news media on August 2, 1966, the day after the UT Tower shooting.
Smoke from the gunman's weapon as he fired from the observation deck of the UT Tower on August 1, 1966.
An officer on the observation deck of the UT Tower.
10.16.91...Killeen Texas... A lone gunman drove his truck through a wondow of Luby's Restaurant and began shooting patrons of the establishment... twenty-two were killed... the gunman then took his own life... photo shows refridgerated truck used to keep victims of the shootings...credit: Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN
First responders prepare the wounded for transport in waiting ambulances outside Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center, after a mass shooting at the military base November 5, 2009. Investigators searched for the motive on Friday behind the mass shooting at the sprawling U.S. Army base in Texas, in which an Army psychiatrist trained to treat war wounded is suspected of killing 13 people. The suspected gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim born in the United States of immigrant parents, was shot four times by police, a base spokesman said. He was unconscious but in stable condition. Photo taken November 5, 2009.    REUTERS/Jeramie Sivley/U.S. Army photo/Handout    (UNITED STATES MILITARY CRIME LAW CONFLICT HEALTH) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
United States Army Specialist Robert Orcutt prays near a makeshift memorial for victims of the shootings at Fort Hood Army post in Fort Hood, Texas November 9, 2009. The death toll from an Army psychiatrist who opened fire at the Fort Hood Army post rose to 13 on Friday, and Army officials said the suspected shooter was hospitalized and on a ventilator. U.S. intelligence agencies learned an Army psychiatrist tried to contact people linked to al Qaeda and they gave the information to federal authorities before the man allegedly went on shooting spree in Texas last week, U.S. sources said on Monday. 
 
 REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES MILITARY CRIME LAW CONFLICT IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A fallen soldier memorial lines the stage before the start of the III Corps and Fort Hood Memorial Ceremony on Nov. 10, 2009, held to honor the 13 victims of the shootings which took place on the Fort Hood Army post in Fort Hood, Texas.
Police tape cordons off the crime scene at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs after the worst mass shooting in Texas history on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.
Hannah Krueger adds a cross to a memorial near the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Nov. 8, 2017, three days after 23 churchgoers were killed in a mass shooting there.
A lone policeman outside the WalMart in El Paso where a mass shooting took place on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
Police tape and evidences are seen as Texas state troopers and other emergency personnel monitor the scene at a local car dealership following a shooting in Odessa, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
Messages were written in sidewalk chalk as people gathered for a vigil following the mass shooting in Odessa.
Students flee and authorities help others evacuate after a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24, 2022.

Your New Year’s resolution list isn’t complete without …

Donate now