Targets: American Sniper

Adam Nayman at The Current:

While Bogdanovich was about as immersed in cinema as is possible, a key inspiration for his 1968 debut, Targets—a thriller whose terse, nightmarish qualities would not be repeated across his wide-ranging and influential filmography—came not from the movies but from real life. Charles Whitman was an altar boy, an Eagle Scout, a marine, and a mass murderer: in 1966, between the last day of July and the first day of August, the twenty-five-year-old ex–bank teller killed sixteen people—including his wife and mother—and wounded more than thirty others, shooting the majority of his victims from the observation deck of the Main Building of the University of Texas at Austin. For the mass media, which made him a household name—“The Psychotic and Society,” declared a Time cover featuring his image—he was a cleaner-cut cousin to Lee Harvey Oswald, his sights trained not on political power or celebrity but on the everyday citizens whom he resembled at a distance, and maybe under the skin as well. “I don’t really understand myself these days,” the shooter himself observed in the half-typed, half-handwritten suicide note discovered at his residence. “I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I can’t recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.”

more here.