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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Sniper speculation update

Posted by Thomas Nephew on October 11th, 2002

I e-mailed WTOP about the discrepancy I noticed last Thursday between their racial breakdown of the 5 Wednesday victims and those of the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post. WTOP’s Mr. Jim Farley answered, not surprisingly:

Montgomery County Police changed the id’s. You’ll note we were quoting Captain Demme. Thanks for listening to WTOP Radio.

(No problem; someday I will.) So it wasn’t a WTOP mistake, say a sloppy reporter or coffee spilled on the notes.

This supports the “Unqualified Offering” notion today that it’s hard to tell from a distance what race some people are (or “are”, depending on your point of view about “race” in the first place): the police wavered in their own categorizations even though they weren’t looking through a sniper scope. While Jim thinks these are basically power-trip murders (there was one white woman among the initial group of victims), I still think they may well also be racist-motivated. I also note that the first 5 were tightly geographically bunched in a liberal stronghold of a liberal state. The picture has obviously become muddier because the sniper seems to be deliberately wide-ranging, unpredictable, and more cautious now, compared to his(/her, I know, not likely) first murders.

One interesting notion advanced by a “woman on the street” interviewed by the Washington Post a couple of days ago was that the killer “took the weekend off,” and that made her think he was a divorced dad who had to take care of his kids. Between the coming weekend and the light rains that have settled in, I hope that the next couple of days at least will be sniper free — and that they catch the guy. As that last Post story puts it: “Resident’s Theories Run Gamut.”

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UPDATE, 10:50AM: So much for light rains preventing anything. MSNBC.

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