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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    A Terrorist By Any Other Name

    ‘ Wanted:sniper who is linked to 10 shootings, 8 of which were fatal, in the D.C.-metroarea. Sex: male or female. Height: tall or short. Weight: heavy or light.Clues: a tarot card which reads, ‘#8719;Dear Mr. Policeman, I am God.’#8721;

    ‘ That is about all we know about thisgeneration’#8706;s Son of Sam. Obviously, we don’#8706;t have a clue who we areup against. The one thing we know for sure is that this person is incrediblyscary.

    ‘ WatchingCNN coverage the other day, when a man who was pumping gas got pumped with abullet and lost his life, I was struck by the scene: dozens of police cars,yellow tape cordoning off the area, traffic at a virtual standstill. And then athought occurred to me: we have a terrorist in our midst.

    ‘ Thinkabout it: the murder of innocent people, the inability of law enforcement toeven catch a glimpse of a face or weapon, the fear in people’#8706;s hearts asthey venture outdoors around the nation’#8706;s capital. We even know what binLaden looks like. But not the sniper.

    ‘ Asniper is especially scary, because of a key advantage: snipers never reallyhave to deal with ‘#8719;fleeing’#8721; the scene, because they are already ata remote location once the violence occurs. This sniper in particular seemsextremely accurate, which suggests some sort of professional is at work here.And that not only means a good shot, but also a good mind. That’#8706;s a scarycombination.

    ‘ Thelatest ‘#8719;lead we have is witnesses reporting a white truck in the nearvicinity in 4 of the shooting locations. That has lead police to release acomposite sketch of such a vehicle. The picture they released is of anall-white truck with lettering on the sides which reads: ‘#8719;Unknown Words.Unknown words.’#8721;

    ‘ Obviously,the witness statements have not been all that specific. And it’#8706;s so hardto tell how accurate they may be. After all, several of the shootings havetaken place at gas stations; large white trucks at gas stations are a prettycommon sight, aren’#8706;t they?

    ‘ Maybethey’#8706;re right; maybe the witness is driving a white truck. Who reallyknows? As authorities admit, the best chance we have of catching the sniper isa mistake on the other end. Maybe the sniper will get overconfident or sloppyor careless. Maybe the next bullet will miss. Or maybe someone will catch aquick glimpse of someone with a gun and no heart or conscience.

    ‘ Thesad part is that in order for the sniper to make a mistake, there will likelyhave to be another attack. And that means someone else will probably die, maybeeven more than one. And that means at least eight people will have died forabsolutely no reason whatsoever.

    ‘ Ido believe the police will catch someone eventually. I believe that not becausewe have lots of evidence, because we don’#8706;t, or because we have lots ofsuspects, which we don’#8706;t. I just believe that because I don’#8706;t wantto believe the alternative.

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