Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sniper Sniping

Written to a friend in late October 2002 after the arrest of the Beltway Snipers:

Some observations, not the least of which is that we have a better batting average than that of the talking-head experts they rolled out on this.
I wonder if they would have caught these guys sooner if they hadn't been so fixated on a white van. As you know I called that tunnel vision.  The odds of seeing a white van or truck on the street after one of these shootings were very high.  You can't go out for five minutes without seeing one.  Once they put that first "white box truck" notice out they had everybody fixated on a vehicle that catches the eye better than almost any other color vehicle on the road.  I felt with the various vans and models described, unless the snipers were switching cars, the police did not have a very good account and should not have become so fixated on a white van or truck.  I never understood why they would put up roadblocks and only search through the white vans and trucks.
It did turn out to be more than one guy involved despite so many of the experts insisting it was "one lone nut".
There is a tie to terrorists, even though the experts insisted that was ridiculous and it was "one lone nut."  Whether Al Qaeda had any direct links with this guy doesn't matter, he was still tied to them in his own mind.  He converted to Islam a year ago, changing his name to John Mohammed. He expressed admiration for those who hit the towers. He registered his car (purchased from Sure Shot Auto Sales no less) on 9/11/02 between 8:00 and 9:00 am and immediately after the registration office received a bomb threat.
It is also interesting they were practicing firing into that stump in Tacoma.  This seems to parallel the terrorist cell arrested in nearby Portland who were firing semiautomatics at targets in a quarry. 
Thus, I do agree with one of the talking-head experts who was on the air this morning -- "we need to find out where this guy got his funding.  It didn't come from that robbery in Alabama." 
I found it intriguing that all last night as they reported on the developments there was a crawl on the bottom of the screen that no one ever made any comment about.  It said that Interpol sources said Al Qaeda was not going for a large attack, but to a series of small events, waiting till we let our guard down.  It went on to say that Al Qaeda were also turning to criminal acts as a means of raising money.  Hmmm?
The experts had been saying that this guy was not trained, was an amateur, couldn't have a background in military or police firearms training, and was using a hunting rifle rather than any kind of semiautomatic weapon.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  The rifle was a semiautomatic assault type weapon.  The guy had been in the military for fifteen years or so.  He had qualified as a marksman with expert status, the highest possible firing qualification.  He had been stationed at a base known for its sniper training of rangers, and even though he did not take that training himself, he could have been exposed to it as an observer.  He had rigged the car into a pretty efficient traveling sniper's nest.  He was a pretty good amateur, I would say.
The talking-head experts were insistent, especially Ted Williams, that the guy had to be a local boy very familiar with the area around DC.  Turns out this "local" boy was born in Louisiana, was stationed in Tacoma, Washington and lived off base and only moved east just before the sniping began after a stop over in Alabama, where he killed a lady at a liquor store and practiced his skills at a special gun camp (which was reported on one network as having suspected ties to Al Qaeda).  He lives currently in Camden, NJ.  So much for local boy goes bad.

I am not sure we have heard the full story yet.  The people down in that area of Maryland and Virginia were all relieved today and they showed how the kids were back out playing and people were going to the malls again.  I wonder if those people had heard that the police are currently looking for a third man, who is co-owner of the Caprice  John Mohammed was driving?
One of the interesting ironies of this is I hear the man who spotted the Caprice and called the police was driving a white van.

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