If this thing was some kind of covert op, why did they choose Texas as the location? I suspect the shooting was some sort of message to LBJ
The UofT/Austin was Lady Bird Johnson's alma mater. His eldest daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson, had graduated from the UofT/Austin just months
previously. (During her time there, Secret Service Agents would accompany her to class.) And the shooting cast a dark shadow over the televised
Washington DC wedding of his younger daughter, Luci Baines Johnson, just five days later, on 8-6-66. The LBJ Ranch, his home, was just 50 miles west
of Austin. The Secret Service agents who responded to the shooting were apparently stationed at their local office in Austin, and their duties
probably included guarding LBJ's homestead.
Oh yeah, LBJ must have wondered about the whole thing. Is that why he personally ordered J. Edgar Hoover to do his own Federal investigation of the
But if it was a covert op, what was it's purpose, other than the push for more gun control and the development of SWAT teams(both of which occurred
after the incident)? Perhaps not coincidentally, a serious peace initiative to stop the war in Vietnam had emerged by the summer of '66:
...the United States ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Polish ambassador Janusz Lewandowsky had opened a «tripartite channel», as
D’Orlandi(Giovanni D’Orlandi, Italian ambassador to Saigon) defined it, and since June(1966) had been conducting, amidst a thousand difficulties,
secret negotiations, called “Operation Marigold
” by the Americans, to halt the war in Vietnam.
"Lewandowsky, the Polish delegate to the Geneva Peace Talks... was the bearer of a message that left D’Orlandi speechless: Hanoi was disposed to
compromise for the settlement of the Vietnam conflict, it demanded neither immediate reunification of the country, nor wanted to impose a socialist
system on South Vietnam. It would not however accept solutions that could be read as a surrender and demanded, along with total secrecy for the
operation, the end of the bombing also.... US President Johnson was informed from the very first moment of the negotiations
.... But the hawks
in the US administration, among them Rusk and McNamara, buried the agreement under a hail of bombs. After the umpteenth (bombing)raid on Hanoi of 13
December everything collapsed, and the North Vietnamese closed all negotiations."
So why didn't LBJ seize a face-saving way out of the quagmire when the opportunity arose? He was too astute a politician to not know how the war
would damage him in his re-election efforts two years later. Maybe he tried to, only to have it vetoed by higher ups. So perhaps the 'message' of
Austin was a stinging reminder to LBJ of the costs of straying from the prescribed agenda.
Another possible reason for selecting the UofT as the scene of the shooting was it's growing reputation as a center of anti-war activities:
(re the antiwar Students for a Democratic Society
--The convention(summer of '65) elected an Akron, Ohio student, Carl Oglesby, President and Jeff Shero, from the increasingly influential
University of Texas chapter in Austin
, as Vice President
By 1966, Campuses around the country were in a state of unprecedented ferment and activism. ...Austin, also a center of civil-rights and anti-war
, was in 1967 the scene of an SDS-generated free speech movement (the University Freedom Movement) that mobilized thousands of students
in massive demonstrations and other activities.
For what it's worth, the first two people shot, Claire Wilson and Thomas Eckman, were reportedly both members of the SDS.
edit on 7-12-2013 by starviego because: (no reason given)