Somebody tried to kidnap Posh Spice! Must be Al Qaeda!!!
While we’re on the topic of kidnap plots, here’s more obvious evidence that John Allen Muhammad is a TERRORIST, not some run-of-the-mill disgruntled soldier. He tried to kidnap the prime minister of Antigua!
First things first: Newington High School’s football team beat Maloney 14-7 Friday night for their second consecutive win — the first time the Indians have done that since starting last season 3-0. (They finished the season 3-8.) This season, they are now 3-4 with four games remaining. (You must understand the context of this: the NHS football team won a grand total of three games the entire time I was in high school.)
Now, looking ahead to tomorrow…
The first big event occurs in less than six hours, at 7:00 AM Pacific time, when my LSAT score will become available by phone. Of course, I’ll undoubtedly be sleeping at 7:00 AM, so the big event will really occur when I bother to wake up, groggily grab a phone, and call. I’m hoping for mid-160s…
The second big event is the USC football team’s must-win game against Oregon at 12:30 PM Pacific time. (We need to catch the Ducks in a noose!) This game is crucial not only because the loser is effectively eliminated from winning the Pac-10, but also because Oregon’s athletic department had the unbelieveable audacity to paint a giant f***ing advertisement for Oregon football on the side of the Hotel Figueroa, just down the street from OUR campus!!! That’s what we call a declaration of war, my friends, and it means unequivocally that we MUST beat them. Let’s just hope Carson Palmer, Mike Williams & company will be weapons of mass destructions tomorrow in Eugene!
The third big event, of course, is Game Six of the World Series at 5:00 PM Pacific time in Anaheim. The Angels are trailing 3-2, seeking to repeat the home-field feat of the Diamondbacks last year, so they’re going to need some big-time help from the Rally Monkey (and perhaps a couple of their players… though really, I think the monkey can handle most of the hard work).
By the way, while we’re on the topic of the Angels, the funniest thing I read about the three games in San Francisco was that at one point, some Giants fans started chanting, “Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!” A small group of Anaheim faithful correctly shouted back, “We’re not L.A.! We’re not L.A.!”
So, in conclusion… Wish me luck on my LSAT score, Fight on Trojans, and Believe in the Power of the Rally Monkey!
Oh yeah, one more news item: 4 days till I turn 21!!!
(Oh, you wanted real news? Well, the seige in Moscow ended, thank God; the Democrats are thinking about running Walter Mondale for Senate in place of the late Senator Wellstone; and the authorities are battling over who should get to put the snipers on trial first. Also, as friend and fellow blogger Andrew rightly points out, I have been remiss in not mentioning Hurricane Kenna on this site. Despite my usually intense interest in weather generally and hurricanes especially, I have been so consumed with sniper news that, frankly, I barely noticed it. But Kenna was a ferocious Category 5 storm at one point, and it has now made landfall in Mexico as a powerful Category 4.)
7:01 AM: The TV people are still playing this as “a new kind of serial killer,” but it’s not. It’s terrorism. It may be terrorism of the “leaderless resistance” variety — or not — but unless this is a huge screwup by the authorities it’s pretty obviously Islamic terrorism, and neither the authorities nor the media commentators are enhancing their credibility by pretending otherwise.
12:08 PM: Prediction: Artificial hysteria over the “sniper culture” will soon be redirected into hysteria over “assault weapons” once a picture of the gun becomes widely available. The Islamic angle — and rumored connections to Louis Farrakhan, which are showing up on several email lists, but nowhere that I can find to link to — will be downplayed.
4:32 PM: The battle is on…the media want to portray the arrested sniper, John Allen Muhammed, as an ex-military man, a Gulf War veteran, an “expert” rifleman as qualified by the Army, whose grip on sanity was lost the longer he was in the miltary, as a man that couldn’t cope with assimiliation into civilian life. Another incarnation of Timothy McVeigh. The true story, which won’t be portrayed by CNN or NBC, is that he likely is a deranged militant Muslim fundamentalist who wanted to inflict terror on an lnnocent and unsuspecting population just like his adopted Al-Qaeda brothers in spirit.
My dad has the right idea, too: “They were independent self-starting ‘loner’ al Qaeda sympathizers, albeit unaffiliated… They were inspired, though not assigned, by yer man (Osama).”
You can be sure this guy’s name will be coming up in President Bush’s speeches soon, right alongside Todd Beamer, another symbol of the new “Let’s Roll” America.
The Seattle Times reports:
Several federal sources said Muhammad and Malvo may have been motivated by anti-American sentiments in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Both were known to speak sympathetically about the men who attacked the United States, the sources said.
But neither man was believed to be associated with the al-Qaida terrorist network, sources said.
It’s like the July 4 LAX shooting all over again. Let the debate begin: Is this terrorism or not?
If the above facts are true, I say it is. The LAX ambiguity, to me, centered on whether the gunman was targeting Jews or the state of Israel. The former is a hate crime; the latter is terrorism. But if these guys were targeting Americans because they hate America (not, say, Christians because they hate Christians, or white people because they hate white people, etc.), then it’s not a hate crime, but terrorism.
The Washington Post reports that police sources say they think they’ve caught the snipers. Hooray! Now let’s just hope they were acting alone. For the very latest, check out the Post’s complete coverage.
Meanwhile, as someone who was flipping frantically back and forth between the World Series and CNN last night, I can definitely understand this article.
It seems police in Maryland have caught the two men they were looking for, Muhammad and Malvo. (This is a good thing, if only because it has caused CNN to remove Muhammad’s face and license-plate number from its screen, where they had seemingly become permanent parts of the CNN logo earlier tonight.) Apparently they were sleeping in their car at a rest area in Maryland. It just goes to show, you shouldn’t doze off when the national news media might be announcing that you’re wanted in connection with a major crime spree!
It remains to be seen, of course, whether these guys are the snipers, or are connected in any way with the sniper(s). A key question, it seems to me, is whether there will be another shooting soon — like, today — now that these guys in custody. I would think that, if the sniper is someone else, he might kill someone right away to prove that police don’t have him yet. God knows he likes attention, and wouldn’t want some random Gulf War veteran stealing his spotlight.
Here’s an interesting article about the Oklahoma City bombing, which would be more convincing if they at least bothered to get the number killed right (168, not 185)… but still, it’s worth reading. Could it have something to do with Sept. 11 and the D.C. sniper? Well, probably not, but speculating about random conspiracy theories is what blogging is all about!
Meanwhile, CNN’s “All Sniper, All The Time” coverage continues to virtually ignore the 600 people being held hostage by Islamist terrorists in Moscow, a crisis that has still not been resolved.
Finally, in far more important news, the Rally Monkey failed Wednesday night; the Giants won. Tie series, 2-2. Sob, sob. On the other hand, this means there will be at least one more game in Anaheim, so the news isn’t all bad. Go Angels!
“We have caught the sniper like a duck in a noose.” What the heck are they talking about? Here’s a diagram of a duck noose, if that’s relevant.
UPDATE, 10/24/02 2:38 AM: The Baltimore Sun did a wonderful job putting together the various pieces of Wednesday’s sniper stories in an article this morning, explaining the connection between D.C., Tacoma, and Alabama, as well as one possible meaning of “a duck in a noose.” Read it!
A deserter from a elite French military school, a 25-year-old of Yugoslav origin who has “a very, very good reputation as a marksman,” is missing in North America, and there’s speculation he might be the D.C sniper. Upon hearing the news, France surrendered and was quickly occupied by the Montgomery County Army, led by Major General Moose. :)
Whether or not the Washington sniper is an Islamist radical, he’s certainly a terrorist in the sense that he’s “terrorizing” the D.C. area. Despite officials’ exhortations that residents live normal lives to the extent possible, life is not even remotely normal in suburban D.C., as this heartbreaking Los Angeles Times article makes clear. The high-school sports season has been decimated, outdoor recess is a thing of the past, and trick-or-treating will surely be unheard of this Halloween unless the sniper is caught beforehand. It’s a terrible, terrible situation.
While the fear is thoroughly understandable, the reaction is distinctly over-the-top. The statistical chance of getting killed by the sniper is still incredibly low, and the loss of day-to-day pleasures — especially for young people — is simply too great a price to pay. Adults will always say “safety trumps everything” when it comes to their kids, but a life lived under indefinite lockdown is no life at all.
If Israel reacted to daily terror this way, that nation’s citizens would never be able to leave their homes. Yet Israelis manage to go on — inevitably altering their lives, of course, in ways great and small, but never allowing life to grind entirely to a halt, even under the constant threat of senseless violence. They show enormous resilience in putting on a brave face amid the horror. We must learn to do the same, or we will never be able to win the war on terrorism.
With all the TV psychobabble about mass murderers, insane killers, and their supposed motives, you’d think it hasn’t even occurred to anybody to consider another, scarier possibility: that the Washington-area sniper is an Islamist terrorist, an Al Qaeda muhajidin roaming the streets of suburban D.C. with a high-powered gun and a great aim.
Think about it: it would be a whole new terror method, taking us totally by surprise, which from the terrorists’ perspective is a good thing; it is a brilliant strategy for terrorizing the population, moreso in many ways than the events of 9/11; it is something that could hypothetically be repeated anywhere; it’s very difficult to stop; and Al Qaeda training camps are a great place to learn how to use a gun. Why not? Why aren’t we thinking more about this possibility?
In fairness, it’s being discussed a bit more now than it was a few days ago (probably because the media is bored of the same old psychoidiots talking about “profiles” and such). The Associated Press ran an article on it today, and William Safire discussed it in his latest column (whose introductory paragraph incidentally sounds a bit like mine above, but which — I swear — I didn’t read until just now, 20 minutes after writing my intro). In addition, the Washington Post briefly discusses the terrorist theory in tomorrow morning’s paper — but quickly downplays it — near the end of their lead article about the latest developments in the case:
The chance that there is more than one shooter has officials reluctantly talking about the possibility of terrorism. Although they say the evidence points away from a terror link, they cannot discount the possibility.
“I don’t think we can foreclose that,” Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said of a terrorist link. “Certainly [no one in] the FBI and no one in the White House has foreclosed it.”
An official in the administration of Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) said federal investigators have “not totally discounted” the possibility of terrorism but are skeptical. The shooter’s pattern follows that of past serial killers, federal investigators say, and no organized group has claimed responsibility.
“They’ve looked at that, but they think if it truly was terrorism, the people would be taking a whole lot more credit for it,” the official said, adding, “The reason they really don’t look in that direction is because this person is becoming bolder and bolder and tends to fit the profile of a serial shooter who ultimately wants to get caught.”
Yet so much of our “profile” of this sniper is based on the assumption that he’s a typical serial killer, the logic becomes circular. It is certainly possible to propose alternative explanations for the “evidence” — scanty as it is — that this sniper is “typical.”. His increasing boldness, and supposed willingness to get caught, fit into a suicide jihadist’s mindset just as well as they do into an insane killer’s. The tarot card, though its “I am God” message might seem to contradict the beliefs of a radical Muslim, could well be a deliberate attempt to throw investigators off course.
Moreover, the lack of a claim of responsibility is about the weakest piece of evidence I’ve ever heard in my life. No one “claimed responsibility” for Sept. 11, either! The notion, I suppose, is that Islamist terrorists would want us to know they’re Islamist terrorists, thus increasing our terror; but the fact is, if they are behind this, we’ll eventually realize it, and that’s really all they’d need to know. The suspense in the meantime only heightens the terror and increases the effect. So I am unconvinced by the government’s “evidence,” which in this case is really just a bunch of assumptions built on assumptions.
Not mentioned in the Post or the New York Times is the fact that, according to CNN, the first eyewitness accounts describe the shooter as an “olive-skinned” man. That certainly doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily an Islamist terrorist (not all olive-skinned people are Arabs/Muslims, and anyway the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims are, of course, not terrorists), but it also certainly doesn’t rule it out. It’s not like they’re saying he’s a red-haired Irishman. So let’s think about this a little bit more seriously.
Hopefully he’s just a lone madman (or two lone madmen, if that’s not a contradiction in terms), because if so, once they arrest him/them, it’ll be over, and we can get on with our lives. But I’m not so sure.
(Now, if they start saying he’s a 6-foot-5 olive-skinned man, I’ll really start to wonder. Maybe Osama isn’t dead, after all…)