Tuesday, October 15

Duck and cover - Okay, so Falls Church is a little too close for comfort. I was returning from picking up Jamie in the District last night at about 9:30 pm when I spied the first Arlington cop car, lights flashing, at the 50 East on-ramp to the Roosevelt Bridge. Hmm, I thought. Then as we exited off the bridge onto Arlington Boulevard / 50 West, we saw that the other side of the highway was completely blocked by police, who had set up a roadblock and were processing every car through one at a time. At that moment, Jamie was on the phone with his dad, who had heard the story about the Baltimore arrest of an ex-Marine and assault rifle owner. Jamie's dad had just been saying that he had a bad feeling that the sniper would strike again to prove the cops had the wrong man.

I stayed up late to watch the breaking news story. It was interesting to see all the national outlets pick up the local DC feeds -- CNN was carrying WUSA 9, and MSNBC viewers nationwide got to watch WRC's wonderfully frumpy, phlegmatic police beat reporter Pat Collins. Jamie and I both know that Home Depot well -- a five-mile drive from our home, it's the closest hardware superstore to where we live, and the Fortune Chinese restaurant next to that parking garage has great Sunday dim sum. Knowing the location as I do, I'm inclined to think the shooter was across the highway in another stripmall where most of the stores were probably closed at the time. One of the striking things about last night's coverage was the diversity of the witnesses being interviewed. I didn't see a single non-immigrant or native English speaker among them. I guess it really is true that that part of Arlington/Fairfax is very multi-ethnic.

Everyone in town is on edge (including Tom Friedman), and we are wondering what it's going to take to nab this guy. Personally, I hope he tries to resist and they have to put him down. A long drawn-out trial and jail term doesn't interest me, even if the alternative means we never really know why he did it. Still, there are many bizarre angles to the story -- such as why so many shootings have occurred near Michaels arts-and-crafts supply stores. (There was one in the Home Depot shopping center from last night.) And until hardware stores became a focus, the Washington Post had people avoiding cheap, accessible suburban gas stations. Then there's the pervasive government surveilance story, commented on by the NY Times. Finally, the question has been raised whether police officials have attempted to engage in a secret coded dialogue with the sniper. Who knows? In the meantime, I'll just be following the advice of my title.