Roger Friedman grew up in Austin. During his youth he made friends with another young boy, Paul Sonntag. Friedman recounts that Sonntag was his “first best friend.”
Friedman had just graduated high school in the summer of 1966. He was preparing to attend Northwestern University that fall. He was working at his family’s children’s camp about an hour and a half west of Austin when news of the UT tower shooting broke. His mother thought she heard the name of a friend who had been hurt.
Friedman drove to the city after the shooting to see for himself what happened. He was just nearing Austin when he received confirmation of the news over the radio. His friend, Paul Sonntag, had been killed as well as Sonntag’s girlfriend, Claudia Rutt.
Friedman says talking about the shooting immediately afterward was difficult for many.
“We didn’t really have a language for trauma. It wasn’t really understood as it is now … You start realizing it was more of an active suppression.”
Read Friedman’s Op-Ed: “The Hidden Injuries of Gun Violence.”