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In the Age of Terror, a Sniper Brings Danger Close to Home Again
Associated Press ^ | October 7, 2002

Posted on 10/07/2002 4:19:35 PM PDT by Sweet_Sunflower29

WASHINGTON (AP) - For more than a year the burning question has been where the next terrorism attack will come from. Now the anxiety is over where the next bullet will be fired. Serial sniper attacks have brought terror without apparent terrorism to the Washington area.

Never mind the microscopic odds of becoming the next victim. The sheer randomness of the shootings was making some people edgy in ways they did not feel even when they saw the smoke pouring from the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, on a day when 3,000 died.

Sept. 11 "just opened our eyes up to let us know that we're vulnerable to a terrorist attack, but this random shooting, you can't describe it," said Washington mailman Donzell Cockrell, a 28-year veteran of the postal service. "Here, we can't say what this guy's purpose is."

The six people killed and at least two injured in what police believe are related shootings from a high-powered rifle seemed to have nothing in common except their roadside vulnerability and the mundane tasks they were engaged in when shot - mowing a lawn, reading on a bench, shopping.

The latest victim: a 13-year-old boy shot and critically injured Monday after being dropped off at school by his aunt in Prince George's County in Maryland. Police said that shooting was linked with the rest.

"No one seems safe because we don't see a pattern," said Curtis Hsia, who teaches psychology at Azusa Pacific University. "You can literally just be out in your yard and be shot."

Psychiatry professor Alvin Poussaint from Harvard Medical School said the sniper shootings could well do something that the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax mailings that followed did not do - keep people inside.

"In a sense, people may feel more vulnerable," he said. "This is very different from 9/11."

However diabolical, terrorists have some purpose. Certain targets make sense to them; the buildings and airplanes they destroyed were chosen with great deliberation even if the people inside them were not.

Nothing about the sniper was making sense to anyone.

Courtney Covington, 31, an accountant who moved about Monday with a "certain level of apprehension," drew this lesson from the sniper shootings: "We not only have terrorists, but you have domestic idiots as well."

Indeed, many people in the Washington area found themselves living under two danger warnings at once - code yellow, the middling national terror-alert level that warns of "significant risk" of attack, and code blue, the alert that one county school system invoked to keep pupils inside all day.

Schools throughout Washington and its Maryland and northern Virginia suburbs took similar precautions. Teachers poured out of some schools to keep watch at street corners after classes; the evening's soccer practices were canceled in Virginia's Fairfax County.

"Here in the Washington metro area, we have a level of fear we're not used to, but today it went down to the children," said a tearful Montgomery County police chief, Charles Moose. "All of our victims have been innocent and defenseless, but now we're stepping over the line.

"Shooting a kid - it's getting to be really, really personal now."

The open panic of Sept. 11 was not evident. But some people looked hard for a pattern of the shootings, some way of behaving that would inoculate themselves.

Patti McDaniel, 47, of Germantown in upper Montgomery County, took comfort in her early work schedule as a maintenance administrator at Verizon.

"I leave at 5:30 in the morning, and he hasn't been doing anything at 5.30 in the morning, so I just thought, oh, well, you know."

Even so, in the age of terrorism aggravated by the sniper attacks, McDaniel has been doubly watchful. After the first shootings in Montgomery County, she watched for white trucks fitting the description of the sniper's suspected vehicle.

And on a plane trip, she watched the fellow passengers.

"I did tell my husband if five Iranians got on the plane, I was getting off," she said. "I looked at everybody who got on and nobody looked like they were from that area."

Others made quiet adjustments to the latest threat.

"I do everything I've always done before, except I spend a lot more time praying," said June Dickard, 61, of Waldorf, Md.

And Tynisha Brooks, 27, an interior design student at Howard University in Washington and a Prince George's County resident, keeps looking around.

"Right after the sniper attacks, I kept thinking that white trucks were following me," she said. "You just keep your eyes open but try to maintain some type of normalcy."

Paranoid? "I wouldn't lie about that," she said. "I'm paranoid."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events

1 posted on 10/07/2002 4:19:36 PM PDT by Sweet_Sunflower29
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To: Sweet_Sunflower29
This has illustrated why the anti-gun crowd is so stupid. The assault weapons ban was stupid. A sniper poses a greater threat than some bozo with an automatic weapon. Why? Snipers hit what they shoot at and then get away, to kill again. Idiots with automatic weapons shoot wildly, get spotted, and then get apprehended/killed.
2 posted on 10/07/2002 4:23:51 PM PDT by Schmedlap
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To: Sweet_Sunflower29
However diabolical, terrorists have some purpose.

Anciently (Christ's time and such) there was no pattern or purpose necessarily. That's exactly why it brought terror to society. Here's hoping that they won't be able to keep their mouths shut and that they are rendered immediate justice because they try to resist.

3 posted on 10/07/2002 4:28:21 PM PDT by Ruth A.
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To: Sweet_Sunflower29
"Shooting a kid - it's getting to be really, really personal now."

I can't get over how stupid and insensitive that statement is, no matter how many times I see it.

4 posted on 10/07/2002 4:30:40 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Sweet_Sunflower29
However diabolical, terrorists have some purpose. Certain targets make sense to them; the buildings and airplanes they destroyed were chosen with great deliberation even if the people inside them were not.

Tell that to the Israelis, who get blown up or shot on buses or in pizzerias.

I'm not one of the "it must be Muslims" crowd, but if this is Arab or Muslim terrorism, no one should be surprised by the method used.

5 posted on 10/07/2002 4:30:44 PM PDT by stndngathwrthistry
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To: Ruth A.
....rendered immediate justice because they try to resist.

I sincerely hope so.
6 posted on 10/07/2002 4:32:25 PM PDT by Bigg Red
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7 posted on 10/07/2002 4:35:38 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Squantos; Travis McGee; harpseal; chookter; Lion Den Dan; pocat; Jeff Head; Fred Mertz
I wonder how far away I can hit a head or chest sized target with my Winchester Model 70 in .243? It is a varmit model and has a "bull barrel" and a 3 - 9X Redfield Widefield scope on it. The longest shot I have made was a Wild Turkey at Ft Hood, TX in 1979. A little over 185 of my long paces. I didn't try for a head shot as he was walking, but lucked out with hitting him in a vital area without spoiling much meat. Great eating and got him the week before Thanskgiving. Just too darn heavy to pack into the woods for hunting.
8 posted on 10/07/2002 4:37:10 PM PDT by SLB
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

Hitting targets at long range is easier than many people suppose.

I recall a specific instance where my Nephew and I were shooting an Argentine Mauser at a distance of roughly 440 yards.

It was not hard at all to hit a tar bucket (I know, it's larger than a head). My Nephew is not a particularly good shot and he was hitting it fairly often too. The bucket made a good target as it was for some reason still full of tar and would move with each hit.

The fact that the rifle was zeroed by a German in 1909 for that same distance didn't hurt (a guy named Herr Ritzmann had signed the original test target which came with the rifle. He had shot a two inch group at 200 meters and the shots were about 4 inches above point of aim). I would hate to have someone who was a good marksman shooting at me even at longer distances and with open sights.

10 posted on 10/07/2002 4:49:51 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Schmedlap
He is not "A Sniper" a sniper is a soldier whose duty is to pre-empt the enemy from killing our guys..Snipers are the best of the best of our guys...IMO to call these murderers anything other than what they are is an insult to snipers... They are asassins Coming from the Arabic word hashshasin</> who kills innocent people A member of a secret order of Moslem fanatics who terrorized and killed Christian crusaders
11 posted on 10/07/2002 4:53:36 PM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: Sweet_Sunflower29
Has anyone cross referenced the time of the shootings to the local Muslim time for "prayers" 5 times a day?
12 posted on 10/07/2002 5:00:53 PM PDT by isthisnickcool
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To: joesnuffy
This assassin is getting bolder. Bowie, MD is home to many DC area Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs). I learned this a few years back when I was considering moving into a townhouse in Bowie and noticed an unusually large number of cop cars in driveways, prompting me to quip to the real estate agent that it must be a high crime area. The real estate agents laughted and told me that those were the cop's houses. Too bad none of those LEOs spotted this assassin before he shot that kid. :(
13 posted on 10/07/2002 5:01:49 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: Sweet_Sunflower29
Nothing about the sniper was making sense to anyone.

The purpose of Terror is Terror! - V. Lenin

14 posted on 10/07/2002 5:01:55 PM PDT by Gritty
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To: anymouse
They're realtors . . . what else are they gonna say?
15 posted on 10/07/2002 5:09:07 PM PDT by LikeLight
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