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"Police Arrest Witness Accused Of Lying To Sniper Investigators"
NBC affiliate WRC-TV News Ch. 4 ^ | October 18, 2002 | WRC-TV News Ch. 4 / Associated Press

Posted on 10/18/2002 4:57:12 PM PDT by Hail Caesar

Police Arrest Witness Accused Of Lying To Sniper Investigators

Falls Church Man Faces 6-Month Jail Term

Matthew Dowdy

Fairfax County Police have arrested and charged Matthew Dowdy, 37, of Falls Church, Va., for allegedly making false statements to police.

Dowdy was arrested Friday afternoon, one day after police said his account of Monday night's sniper shooting outside the Home Depot store had been discredited.

He is charged with "knowingly and willfully make(ing) a materially false statement or representation to a law enforcement officer who is in the course of conducting an investigation of a crime by another". He faces up to six months in jail.

Dowdy's story began to unravel when police compared it to accounts from others who saw the fatal shooting Monday night of an FBI analyst in a Home Depot store parking garage. Eleven people have been shot in the sniper attacks since Oct. 2, and nine have died.

"He couldn't see what he said he saw," said Robert F. Horan Jr., the prosecutor in Fairfax County, Va.

"It would have been better if it didn't happen, but it didn't cripple the investigation," said Fairfax police Lt. Amy Lubas. She said there were other witnesses to Monday's shooting outside the store in Falls Church, Va.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose urged people Friday not to let the discredited witness case inhibit them from coming forward with information they think could be useful in the investigation.

"This is not an effort by police to credit or discredit them," Moose said. Investigators are revisiting some of the shooting scenes to see if they yield more clues, Moose said. He said they also are looking at a Sept. 14 shooting at a beer and wine store in Montgomery County's Hillandale section to see if there is any connection.

Police said they don't have a composite sketch of the sniper who has terrorized the Washington, D.C. area. Authorities haven't ruled out the possibility there could be multiple suspects.

U.S. investigators are questioning terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba over whether they had any information about the sniper attacks, a law enforcement official confirmed Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official characterized the interviews as an effort to cover all possible investigative avenues, adding that officials do not necessarily believe al-Qaida might be responsible for or even knowledgeable about the shootings.
The only known communication believed to be from the sniper is a tarot death card found at one scene with the words: "Dear Policeman, I am God."

Acting on tips and leads, police have served search warrants, checked motor vehicle records, searched military documents and used other tactics to sift through a constantly changing list of suspects.
Many people own guns that can fire the .223 caliber bullets used in the attacks or drive white vans similar to vehicles seen leaving the shootings.

Police had several people under surveillance Monday night, according to a law enforcement source. They were cleared after the FBI agent was shot in a parking garage around 9 p.m.

That incident initially appeared to give police a big break in the case -- the first witness to see the sniper.
But Moose said Thursday the witness was not credible. He also chastised reporters for running reports about the weapon and descriptions of the suspect as olive-skinned, possibly Hispanic or Middle Eastern.

"We get this noise out there that gives people tunnel vision and makes them focus in on things that are not appropriate," he said.

Moose said the Dowdy's emphatic description of the shooter's AK-74 assault rifle is also bogus. But investigators cautioned that they still believe the sniper is using one of a family of more than 30 similar assault-type weapons capable of firing a .223-caliber bullet.

"The message we're trying to say is please keep an open mind," Moose said. "People saw a description of a weapon over the last day and a half and we're convinced they eliminated people they know because they say, `Their gun is not the weapon I saw in the paper.'"

Police have defended their tight control on information in the case, saying they don't want potential witnesses to be influenced. They have, however, released composite drawings of white box trucks and vans that were reported leaving shooting incidents.

After two massive police dragnets failed to catch the killer, police increased their presence on highways. Virginia State Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said troopers have doubled their patrols outside Washington by pulling in officers from other counties.

Schools in the region continued operating under lockdown restrictions, with outdoor sports and activities postponed. Montgomery County school officials planned a meeting next week to search for ways to salvage shortened fall sports seasons.

Copyright 2002 by nbc4.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
 


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: 223; ak74; banglist; batf; fairfax; fairfaxco; fallschurch; fbi; hispanic; jumpingtoconclusions; killer; liars; middleeastern; montgomery; murderer; serial; shooter; sniper; spree; stupiditiy; traffic; trt; virginia; white; witness
At the very least, I hope this story is of consolation to all those van-driving, Hispanic and "Middle Eastern looking" men who had M-16s, MP5s and other true "assualt weapons" shoved in their faces by FBI and ATF officers during all those traffic jams caused by police roadblocks last Monday night.

I now laugh with contempt for all those racists and bigots here who were so quick to ASSume that the shooter(s) is a Muslim or even Al Qaeda, just because that particular stereotype fits their own personal political or cultural agenda. I am not accusing anyone here at FR of racism or bigotry, but, quite frankly, some of the asinine posts I've seen made by cowards hiding behind certain handles here mainly serves to fan the flames of disinformation and the anti-RKBA fear mongering crap dominating the American media these days. And besides, a TRUE conservative would have waited until the facts were in rather than jumping to conclusions as quickly as some do here on FR. Just because we (some of us) are "conservatives" does not mean we should suffer from that "tunnel vision" that Chief Moose continues to emphasize in this case.

IMHO, we FReepers should really be focusing on helping our local police forces catch this murderer(s) while also helping to preserve all our civil and constitutional rights.

'Enuff said. /rant off. Flame retardant suit on. ;-)

1 posted on 10/18/2002 4:57:13 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: *bang_list; *TRT; drZ; LiberalBuster; Mercuria; AnnaZ; secamend; Gore_ War_ Vet; Goldi-Lox; ...
TRT bump!
2 posted on 10/18/2002 4:57:37 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: kristinn; Angelwood; Jimmy Valentine's brother; Gore_ War_ Vet; Dave Dilegge; GunsareOK; RFP; ...
DC Chapter bump.
3 posted on 10/18/2002 4:58:31 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: 2yearlurker; 69ConvertibleFirebird; 7thson; AbeLincoln; Abundy; AL932; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; ...
Maryland bump.
4 posted on 10/18/2002 4:59:12 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
I now laugh with contempt for all those racists and bigots here who were so quick to ASSume that the shooter(s) is a Muslim or even Al Qaeda, just because that particular stereotype fits their own personal political or cultural agenda. I am not accusing anyone here at FR of racism or bigotry,

Make up your mind.

5 posted on 10/18/2002 5:03:16 PM PDT by hole_n_one
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To: Hail Caesar
It's racist to believe a "middle eastern" type could do this.
6 posted on 10/18/2002 5:05:35 PM PDT by jd777
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To: Hail Caesar
I now laugh with contempt for all those racists and bigots here who were so quick to ASSume that the shooter(s) is a Muslim or even Al Qaeda, just because that particular stereotype fits their own personal political or cultural agenda.

Never mind OK City, A few commerial airliners, WTC..WTC again....Pentagon... al-Qaida strikes all over the globe... and the al-Qaeda playbook that spells out precisely this scenario....

I am not accusing anyone here at FR of racism or bigotry,

You already did....or maybe that wasnt written in your handwriting? Lets see if your boy Matthew Dowdy converted to Islam in the joint or has been approached by any...who knows maybe he is just following orders maybe it was the big reward..

7 posted on 10/18/2002 5:06:52 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: Hail Caesar; kristinn; Angelwood; Billie; Snow Bunny; PhiKapMom; leadpenny; Taxman; AuntB
WAAAAAHHHHHH-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I believe I am but a lowly, "honorary member" of the DeeCee FReeper Chapter due to the MudCave being located in the Capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA...how do I become an official member of the DeeCee FReepers and become eligible to buy one of them there kewl "BLACK" jackets with "freerepublic.com" scrawled accross the left breast?!

Seriously...MUD

8 posted on 10/18/2002 5:07:33 PM PDT by Mudboy Slim
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To: jd777
I never said that. The murderer(s) could actually turn out to be of "Middle Eastern" origin. But, the FACTS have so far not even been "in the neighborhood" and that's why I question the motivations of those who keep beating that unfounded anti-Muslim, anti-whatever (race) drum, which IMHO, has been quite unproductive and distracting at best.
9 posted on 10/18/2002 5:13:17 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
Was his first name, Howdy?
10 posted on 10/18/2002 5:15:29 PM PDT by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: Mudboy Slim
I honestly don't know, MUD. I am NOT an OFFICIAL member of that particular chapter myself. I just hang out with them once in a while. My bump list for them, which includes you, is an old one from the "Get Out of Chaney's House" FReep days.
11 posted on 10/18/2002 5:15:54 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
You want to talk ASSuming, pop on over to the next train deraliment thread. By post 50 they've pretty much nailed the terrorists as being responsible.

As someone else so eloquently said, if FR had an Olympic Jumping-to-Conclusions team, we'd sweep the medals every year.

12 posted on 10/18/2002 5:18:52 PM PDT by TomB
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To: Hail Caesar
I think there has been a fair amount of discussion on FR about all of the theories, plus some of our own theories. They were not all about ME men. Its true that not many here would be surprised if it turns out to be ME terrorists. I don't think you can fault people for that considering the times.
13 posted on 10/18/2002 5:20:21 PM PDT by virgil
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To: TomB
You're quite right, TomB.

But nowadays, around here (the DC area), we have actually seen "black helicopters" popping in and out of our airspace recently - seriously. I'm sure the vehemently anti-UN crowd is having a real fit by now.
14 posted on 10/18/2002 5:25:02 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
My God. The awesome power of political correctness- even thou O Caesar.....
15 posted on 10/18/2002 5:26:12 PM PDT by Peter Libra
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To: Hail Caesar
Another witness,a Mr. Young identified the driver as follows; "Young described the driver as a short man of slight build who appeared to be Mideastern.

He said, "I got a good look at the guy."

16 posted on 10/18/2002 5:26:13 PM PDT by Capt. Tom
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To: virgil
I understand your point regarding why in these post 9/11 times ME men have been the most common target of extra scrutiny. However, engaging in wholesale unproductive flames against those of whatever racial/ethnic/religious background who are the "terrorists of the day" these days does nothing to help us catch this perp(s).

And yes, I admit, one of my own personal agendas here is that individual RKBA does not suffer anymore than it already has in these post 9/11 times.
17 posted on 10/18/2002 5:35:17 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
Well good. Now we can ALL go back to beating the Anti-White, anti- gun "drum" which is really productive.
18 posted on 10/18/2002 5:37:37 PM PDT by jd777
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To: Hail Caesar

19 posted on 10/18/2002 5:45:51 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: jd777
I have something to say here. Imagine if the liar was a white guy, after hearing that the liar's nickname was "Slim" and when it took so long for the liar's picture to be shown on TV, I figured he was black. Again, if the liar turned out to be white, we would have seen wall to wall coverage, day and night about how evil "whitey" is and then he would have been called a klan member and yada, yada, yada....
20 posted on 10/18/2002 5:46:27 PM PDT by rambo316
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To: Capt. Tom
Yes, I heard about that, too. However, it is my understanding that several of the other witnesses contradicted that particular witness, too. Also, that particular area has a lot of artificial lighting that distorts skin tones, especially at night.
21 posted on 10/18/2002 5:49:37 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: joesnuffy
LOL!

you bad....you bad.... ;-)
22 posted on 10/18/2002 5:52:06 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
The artificial lighting would certainly cause most witnesses to think the white lone sniper was two middle eastern men.
23 posted on 10/18/2002 5:53:07 PM PDT by jd777
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To: Hail Caesar
It is kinda ironic that so far the only person charged in the sniper killings is
A Witness??? was up wid dat?
24 posted on 10/18/2002 5:55:14 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: virgil; Hail Caesar
I think there has been a fair amount of discussion on FR about all of the theories, plus some of our own theories. They were not all about ME men. Its true that not many here would be surprised if it turns out to be ME terrorists. I don't think you can fault people for that considering the times.

Gus - Virgil has a very valid point - this is a discussion forum and I have seen the full spectrum of theories presented here. I opine you saw a few you did not like and assumed that all of FR was of the same mind. Additionally, as we were caught so unaware on 9-11, I would not discount the possibility that the sniper attacks are indeed terrorist acts initiated by Al-Qaeda or members of thier network. The bottom line is that we do not know - because one buffoon was discredited because he said it was ME terrorists has no bearing on the fact that it just might be. Personally, I have wavered between the looney home-grown nutcase theory and the terrorist. No one here has the answer as of yet - and if they did they most certainly should not be posting it here...

25 posted on 10/18/2002 5:57:17 PM PDT by VaMarVet
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To: jd777
Regardless, at least to the credit of Chief Moose, and most of the other local law enforcement officials, they haven't been bringing up the classic "angry white male", Timothy McVeigh type domestic terrorist angle as THE most probable suspects in these shootings. Even though it does describe the classic profile of such a shooter.

Whoops, am I being non-PC now? :-)



26 posted on 10/18/2002 5:59:31 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
Actually, of all the witnesses, only one has described the shooter as a "white" guy. Multiple witnesses have said dark-skinned or middle eastern. Seems there's a lot of people on FR that are quick to jump to the conclusions they wish to reach...
27 posted on 10/18/2002 6:04:39 PM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin)
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To: Hail Caesar
"..But investigators cautioned that they still believe the sniper is using one of a family of more than 30 similar assault-type weapons capable of firing a .223-caliber bullet."

More PC BS for the gun-grabbers. There is NO indication the killer is using an "Assault-type weapon." MANY bolt action and hunting style repeaters are made in .223. The killer has not fired more than one shot in each murder, which indicates a bolt action hunting rifle if ANYTHING. But a bolt action hunting rifle wouldn't do the gun-grabber movement as much good as an "Assault-type weapon."

28 posted on 10/18/2002 6:08:50 PM PDT by Henchster
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To: joesnuffy
Interesting fact, but, now I hope that Johnny Cochran does not get in on this act as his defense attorney.

Or... maybe even Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton may be on the next plane down here or on a talk show later tonight since, so far, a black man has been the only one arrested over the last two weeks. ;-)
29 posted on 10/18/2002 6:09:03 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
No, you're being very PC, and you're slipping in little compliments of Chief Moose which is "innapropriate". We got 11 victims of a sniper and they can't even alert the public to a basic description. Have all the witnesses been discredited? What classic profile are you talking about..? Why do you bring mcVeigh into this...?
30 posted on 10/18/2002 6:16:11 PM PDT by jd777
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To: Dave Dilegge
I get your point, Dave. And I have no problem with any of the theories, conspiratorial or otherwise, that FReepers have been putting forth over the last couple of weeks. I guess I've just grown weary of some of the REAL racism and bigotry that some people here are so quick to express even when they don't know any of the relevant facts. But, hey, it's a free country and this IS Free Republic, after all, ehh? :-)

P.S. And you and I both know that the metro DC area is a PC town, whether we conservatives like it or not. That's just the way it is, but, at least we have the Constitution to defend our rights, too.

31 posted on 10/18/2002 6:22:21 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Henchster
The killer has not fired more than one shot in each murder, which indicates a bolt action hunting rifle if ANYTHING.

My first thought when they id'd the .223 from ballistics was "bolt varmint gun".

The only other evidence they have - aside from projectile fragments- is the spent case, which may have extractor/ejector marks that skew it towards a semiauto, or they may simply be rationalizing that nobody would eject a spent case from a bolt gun if they only intended to fire one shot. Either way, the evidence for semi auto appears weak at best.

If the case is bogus, we're back to anything goes.

32 posted on 10/18/2002 6:29:37 PM PDT by xsrdx
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To: xsrdx
A bolt varmint gun is more accurate than a semi-auto as well, which would make it a preferred "one-shot-one-kill" weapon to a semi-auto.
33 posted on 10/18/2002 6:32:40 PM PDT by Henchster
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To: Henchster
There is NO indication the killer is using an "Assault-type weapon." MANY bolt action and hunting style repeaters are made in .223. The killer has not fired more than one shot in each murder, which indicates a bolt action hunting rifle if ANYTHING.

You are exactly right. I also understand that a shell has been found at only one site (next to the planted tarot card). So unless the shooter has a brass-catching net, or is firing from inside the truck, or is running after flying brass, he's not shooting a semi-automatic.

(If he is using an assault rifle, he's not taking advantage of its mechanism, since he's shooting only once. But of course, a lone sniper would find such a weapon more reassuring in case he faces armed counter-attack.)

34 posted on 10/18/2002 6:41:07 PM PDT by DWPittelli
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To: Hail Caesar
Come on Caesar, cut the "speculators" some slack.

It wasn't Freepers who said the guy looked "Hispanic or Middle Eastern" / dark-skinned caucasion, it was eye-witnesses. And speculating about al-Qaeda and allied jihadists isn't racist, it's based on: 1) We're at war with them; 2) They murder innocents; 3) They've launched a lot of attacks over the last 2 weeks or so.

And given the possibility (50/50?) of jihadist connection, it ain't racist to believe what we've heard about the shooter's (/shooters') appearance.

If the IRA blew up the WTC, and the witnesses said the sniper had red hair, would it be racist to believe them?

35 posted on 10/18/2002 6:47:19 PM PDT by DWPittelli
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To: DWPittelli
I get your point and somewhat agree with you. However, I also agree with Chief Moose's public pronouncements that we (the public) should not engage in "tunnel vision", especially if such is mainly based on eyewitness accounts that, as most involved in law enforcement know, are inherently unreliable and quite often culturally biased.


36 posted on 10/18/2002 6:56:46 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
Moose has done great, he's already got one arrest!
37 posted on 10/18/2002 7:26:41 PM PDT by jd777
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To: Hail Caesar
Actually, the arrest still doesn't eliminate the real possibility of a moose-limb or al cracko type from the mid-east.

When those types attack the US in human waves, will you still be crying out "Racist!" to those point out the enemy IS arabic?
38 posted on 10/18/2002 8:17:33 PM PDT by texson66
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To: Peter Libra
Et tu brute
39 posted on 10/18/2002 8:19:02 PM PDT by The Red Zone
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To: TomB
"...if FR had an Olympic Jumping-to-Conclusions team, we'd sweep the medals every year."

Perhaps, my FRiend, but it's also amazing how often FReepers jump to the proper conclusion...MUD

40 posted on 10/18/2002 9:03:49 PM PDT by Mudboy Slim
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To: Mudboy Slim
Perhaps, my FRiend, but it's also amazing how often FReepers jump to the proper conclusion...MUD

Often? Perhaps, but only because by post 100, those threads have put forth EVERY POSSIBLE theory short of UFO's.

(Although I've seen those blamed too.)

41 posted on 10/19/2002 3:50:46 AM PDT by TomB
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To: Hail Caesar
Even though it does describe the classic profile of such a shooter.

Gus - I have been following this quite closely as the first Spotsy shooting occured where we shop and my wife was just a mile away during the Four-Mile-Fork shooting. Our kids have been in "lock down" with no outside events for almost two weeks now. The point being here, again, is that I am following this closely and disagree with your point that the "angry white male" theory is the classic profile of "such a shooter". While not discounting that it could be an angry white male, there is no precedence here. This shooter (possibly accompanied by accomplices) does not fit the profile. So where does that leave us?

42 posted on 10/19/2002 6:41:28 AM PDT by VaMarVet
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To: TomB
by post 100, those threads have put forth EVERY POSSIBLE theory short of UFO's.

This is a discussion board. I would submit that the media is not doing much better - after about a hundred interviews with "had-been experts" and talking heads - they pretty much cover the full spectrum of possibilities. Moreover, as each theory is posted on FR it is open to immediate "peer review and criticism". That would be refreshing to see on the tube. The tin foil theories here are typically shot down fairly quickly or ignored. If ignored - which many often do as it is futile to argue with those types - you get a "silent majority" - thereby negating any "counting of posts" that might reflect on what FReepers at large believe. Just some thoughts...

43 posted on 10/19/2002 6:56:50 AM PDT by VaMarVet
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To: Dave Dilegge
Dave - The "angry white male" theory or any of the others posted here on FR are NOT mine. I have merely pointed out one of the most common theories that have been discussed all over the media since day one.

However, regarding this particular criminal case, I find it rather amusing that several of those on FR who were so quick to profile men of Middle Eastern descent are now whining about the fact that profiles discussed more similar to their own personal demographics are being used by law enforcement to harass their own, so to speak.

And no, this is not a personal slam against you or any of my other friends here on FR. However, I have noticed that some people here on FR chose to criticize my style or parse my words in order to attempt to debunk any of my postings that they do not have a valid counter-argument to.

I just hate it when conservatives use the same style of discussion that James Carville and Paul Begala do best - that is resort to ad hominems when all else fails. And this has been one my own personal beefs here all along.

I realize these are very tense times we are living in, especially here in the DC area, but, all this scapegoating crap being flung out all over the airwaves and even on FR can be rather annoying, to say the least. And I am NOT talking about you or yours.

Okay, rant off now. Peace.
44 posted on 10/19/2002 7:16:21 AM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Hail Caesar
Gus - my point was not about FR - the "classic white male" theory does not fit THIS SHOOTER's MO. Not saying it might not be - but this event does not fall into a "nice neat category".
45 posted on 10/19/2002 7:33:39 AM PDT by VaMarVet
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To: Hail Caesar
One more thing before I run off to my son's baeball game (AAU not school - at least some of us are going about our normal routine and not cowering - a goal of terrorism), you have parsed before here on FR. Hey, I have always enjoyed our face-to-face discussions, sometimes you take a different approach when you post here.
46 posted on 10/19/2002 7:45:48 AM PDT by VaMarVet
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To: The Red Zone
Welcome to the club.
47 posted on 10/19/2002 12:23:58 PM PDT by Peter Libra
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To: Dave Dilegge
"...I have been following this quite closely as the first Spotsy shooting occured where we shop and my wife was just a mile away during the Four-Mile-Fork shooting. Our kids have been in "lock down" with no outside events for almost two weeks now."

As you probably guessed, Dave, the community (especially the school) situations here in MoCo have been quite horrendous since day one of the shootings. As you also know, the many (volunteer) leadership hats I wear in this community has resulted in a lot of tugging from all "sides" in the hate violence, RKBA and political debates. I will continue to maintain a low public profile so as not to compromise any other positive measures that local LEO and others are taking now. However, I will continue to give the highest priority to RKBA, my local community and political committments, over that of all other non-personal agendas.

Please keep up the great work you are doing down there and let's all continue to work together with our local LEOs to help catch these murderer(s) without further contributing to the erosion of our civil and constitutional rights as Americans. Hope to see you out there on the streets again (time allowing)!
48 posted on 10/20/2002 4:59:21 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: Peter Libra
"My God. The awesome power of political correctness- even thou O Caesar....."

Why thank you, I take that as a compliment. :-)

49 posted on 10/20/2002 5:03:56 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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To: texson66
As I've made clear in earlier posts, this shooter MAY very well have come from the Middle East originally. He MAY be Arab or even Israeli. However, NONE of the facts so far even point in that direction. Though at this point the probability of some anti-Middle Eastern zealot planting fake evidence pointing to Al Qaeda or any other politically incorrect organization has increased tenfold since the shootings started. And we all know about the bogus blaming of "Muslim terrorists" for last year's anthrax attacks now, too.

I have no underlying cultural or political agenda that would knee-jerk me into any false conclusions here. However, I do honestly believe that the real terrorist doing these dastardly murders is probably some home grown professional, regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin. Isn't that what "equal opportunity" here is all about? /sarcasm off.
50 posted on 10/20/2002 5:18:42 PM PDT by Hail Caesar
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