Michael Merriwether

Recent Graduate, Balcones Research Center

00:00 / 10:20
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“I graduated in June 1966, with a BA in mathematics. I had worked part-time as a computer programmer/technical writer for the Balcones Research Center (now named after Jake Pickle off Burnet Road and 183) as an undergraduate and was working full-time that summer before I started school again.

I had to go to campus that day and was undecided whether to go to the stacks in the main library under the Tower for some research or to deliver a program to the Balcones on campus facility which was then located right next to the Law School.

On my way in on the Interregional (which is what the highway was called at that time), I decided to go deliver the program first.

If I had decided to go to the Tower, I would have been right there at the time Whitman started shooting.

I never made it that far. I do remember that the weather was completely clear and you could see forever. I think I remember seeing something funny over by the Tower as I turned towards the Law School.

My brother-in-law was on the mall and my wife says he was dodging bullets, but I never got that close. I also had another friend who said she was driving behind the Co-op and saw what she thought was bullets, but who knows. None of us who were there then are spring chickens anymore, and memories can fade.

My brother-in-law finished his degree and went on to UC Berkeley for another, and I went on and got my MBA. Nobody’s life was changed significantly, but, to this day, when I walk by the Tower, I look up a little. It’s impossible to forget, even for one who was not directly involved. It’s sort of like 9/11 and the day Kennedy was shot. I remember exactly where on campus I was when I heard that Kennedy was shot, although to a lesser extent. You never forget.

Anytime I meet somebody new of around my age and they say they lived in Austin, the first topic of conversation is the shooting.

I am just glad the Austin cop, whose name I have forgotten, shot Whitman. If not, the American justice system would have kept him alive for a trial (at least until he died from his brain tumor). He got what he deserved IMO.

From what I remember, Whitman started shooting around noon. In the summer back then, classes were from 11:30-1:00 and there were thus not many people around at noon. In the fall or the spring, it would have been totally different. The mall would have been packed.”