Friday, September 21, 2007

Rewrite of history

I was watching a History Channel story on Charles Whitman, the sniper in the University of Texas Tower (1966). They claimed that the UT Tower sniper was the event that prompted the formation of SWAT teams.

That's nonsense.

It's true that the Tower incident was cited as an rationalization for the need for SWAT teams when people later tried to justify them. But it had nothing to do with the cause.

The cause was the Watts riots and general racial unrest in Los Angeles, it was considered a useful tactical weapon to use against the Black Panthers in LA.

Firepower used to protect against the UT Tower sniper were mostly private weapons, from both citizens and police who went home for deer rifles. After the event it seemed pretty clear to most observers that an armed citizenry helped a lot in protecting the public.

It was in Los Angeles that they decided that heavily armed, militaristic cops were the answer, primarily because of the racial aspects of their civil unrest.

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