Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A hero among the Savages

Aside from the triple digits, you know it’s August in Austin when stories about the 1966 UT Tower shootings make their annual anniversary rounds. Most of this coverage is rote to anyone who has lived in Austin for awhile, but today’s John Kelso column is a real eye-opener.

Kelso reveals that Artly Snuff from longtime local comedic rock troupe the Uranium Savages was one of the brave souls who went into Charles Whitman’s line of fire to rescue pregnant shooting victim Claire Wilson James from the scorching South Mall pavement. James was profiled by Denise Gamino in Sunday’s Statesman.

Tom Eckman, James’ boyfriend, had been shot and killed right next to her. Those familiar with the shootings will recall news footage of a bloodied Vietnam veteran who carried Eckman’s body away from the scene. 17-year-old Snuff (real name: John Fox) and his friend James Love carried James to safety. Sadly, she later lost her baby at Brackenridge Hospital.

Snuff, who is also a curator for the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, has known Kelso for years, but he never said anything about his involvement in the Tower shootings until this weekend. Although Snuff has no way of proving that he was one of the men in a still video frame of James’ rescue that ran on the front page Sunday, you’d have a hard time not believing it after reading Kelso’s column.

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