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Cause of Death: Ballistic Trauma cover

  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-73900-181-0
    • 7.0 x 10.0 inches
    • Standard Color interior
    • 212 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-73900-180-3
    • 7.0 x 10.0 inches
    • Standard Color interior
    • 212 pages
  • Keywords
    • mass shooting,
    • Texas Tower shooting,
    • Charles Whitman,
    • brain tumour,
    • murder motives,
    • brain pathology,
    • neurological trauma

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Cause of Death: Ballistic Trauma
Reassessment of the Forensic Evidence from the 1966 University of Texas at Austin Mass Murder Helps Solve the Mystery of Why?
by Scott D. Young

On August 1, 1966, the United States and the rest of the world witnessed a mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin that is still considered one of the most shocking and impactful mass murders in that country’s recent history. Charles Joseph Whitman was a twenty-five-year-old married student and ex-Marine who truly went “ballistic” on that day. Sniping from the domineering UT Tower he killed or wounded more than forty victims before being shot and killed by police. As a former Marine and excellent marksman, Whitman had extensive experience with firearms but had no history of criminal activity or mental illness. The shooting spree, therefore, left many scrambling for answers. A clue emerged from Whitman’s suicide note. In it, he said that he knew something was wrong with himself and requested that an autopsy be performed after his death. A malignant tumour was found deep in his brain, which ignited a fierce debate amongst medical experts about its role in Whitman’s final violent actions. Cause of Death: Ballistic Trauma seeks to settle this debate by explaining the mechanisms of how the tumour was instrumental in influencing Whitman’s behaviour. The book explores how obstructive hydrocephalus and temporal lobe seizures may have led to the destructive events on that fateful day. Written by retired medical oncologist, Dr. Scott Young, who spent more than twenty years caring for patients with brain tumours, this book explores the neuroscience behind this mass murder. Drawing upon problem-solving techniques used in forensics, and supported with extensive references and images, Young puts forth an argument that Charles Whitman was probably not legally responsible for his actions. This is his first book.

Scott D. Young photo

Dr. Scott Young was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he turned sixteen, his parents relocated to Switzerland, but he remained in Toronto and spent his last three years of high school as a boarder at the prestigious Upper Canada College. He was accepted by the University of Toronto in 1978 and entered the Bachelor of Science program. Four years later, he graduated with a major in physiology. He pursued postgraduate studies in the Department of Biophysics and conducted his research at the Ontario Cancer Institute. This work examined how cancer cells are able to spread using experimental mouse tumour models. He earned both a Master’s degree and a Doctor of Philosophy in this field. He had always wanted to be a physician and was accepted into the University of Toronto Medical School and graduated from this program in 1993. Because of his extensive laboratory experience during his postgraduate training, he contemplated a career in pathology. He ultimately chose the field of medical oncology because it was a rapidly progressive specialty and allowed him to engage with patients, their families, and the energetic members of the nursing profession. Dr. Young therefore completed residencies in internal medicine and medical oncology. His final year of medical training was a one year fellowship in breast cancer at the Princess Margaret Hospital. Dr. Young and his family relocated to Sudbury, Ontario, after he accepted a position as a staff medical oncologist at the Northeastern Ontario Regional Cancer Center. He cared for patients with most types of cancer, including patients with primary brain tumours. He became an Assistant Professor at the new Northern Ontario School of Medicine and taught many students and residents over the years. He strongly advocated for patient participation in clinical trials and was the principal investigator for two phase II clinical trials that examined the effects of low-dose chemotherapy in patients with incurable disease. Dr. Young retired in 2020 after a rewarding twenty-one-year career in medical practice and has since turned his attention to several unfinished projects, as well as new interests, which include writing. Dr. Young has been married to his wife, Ruth, for thirty-five years and now resides outside of Parry Sound, Ontario. He is the proud father of three sons. all of whom are university-educated and working in the fields of health technology assessment, mining engineering, and information technologies, respectively. He is a pet lover who enjoys the outdoors, especially if there is wine tasting. He is looking forward to writing his next book, Cerebral Dark Matter, a fictitious tale.


Scott D. Young

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