October 17, 2002

STEVE DUNLEAVY WRITES that the D.C. shooter is no native. More troublingly, this article argues that what’s going on is terrorist “market research,” with the tactic likely to spread given its success in tying up hundreds of law-enforcement types to no use and engendering widespread panic.

Nobody really knows, of course. But I get the strong impression that the authorities are trying to avoid thinking about terrorism. Or at least talking about terrorism. And it’s troubling to me that you have to read news reports on these incidents (and you do) the way you’d read old Soviet newspapers, focusing on what’s not mentioned.

UPDATE: Caleb Carr writes:

Should the killings be the work of international terrorists, on the other hand, they will fit a textbook pattern that has been on ample display during recent years in every part of the world.

Yep. Which is why it’s so frustrating to see so little attention paid to this possibility.

UPDATE: Here’s another article from the New York Post suggesting that someone, at least, is taking the terrorist angle seriously.

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