Wednesday, October 16, 2002

DC SNIPER: TERRORISM IT IS. Two things have me scratching my head.

We've known for at least a week that the suspect drives a "white van." Okay. Now, lets think this through. Yes, there must be many white vans -- but not THAT many. You would think that if this sniper lives in a home that his neighbors must know he drives a white van. And unless he's totally a recluse that at least one or more know that he's a hunter or is into guns. You would think any semi-alive neighbor would have tipped off police and they should have their man or at least have strong suspects.

Okay, what type of man then escapes the notice and suspicions of his neighbors? Well, a total complete recluse who despite driving a white van is so far outside the profile that he avoids suspicion. What type of person might this be? Well, how about a quiet, "olive-skinned" Islamist that is part of a terror cell in the US? Isn't this what happened with the 9/11 hijackers? Or a trained, former member of the military or law enforcement who has excellent marksmanship but doesn't hunt or seem an obvious gun owner. Again, further clues to help hone in.

Let's look at the other possibility -- he is or isn't a recluse but doesn't arouse his neighbor's fears because they don't know what he drives. How is this done? Well, it could be easily done if the person doesn't live in a home but lives in an apartment complex or is some other type of renter. In these settings, it’s very easy to be anonymous and not have anyone know your interests, work or even make of car. This could be a lone nut or again an "olive-skinned" member of terrorist cell, matching the pattern of the 9/11 hijackers, who lived almost exclusively in apartment buildings. Or, to be fair, he could be using a company van. But what kind of business allows a van to be used for large unaccounted periods of time or at night and without any telltale branding?

All in all, the white van that keeps popping up is curious -- in that it hasn't already led to an arrest. Either it's a decoy -- ie, a coordinated effort to bring an "uninvolved" vehicle into the equation to throw off police -- or it alone should be leading to some conclusions that should be making the net so tight that he has little room left.

Update: News that police were investigating a shell casing found in a Rental Company's white van exposed one explanation I hadn't thought of. But this is even more curious -- you'd think one of the first places police would have searched is car rentals in the area. Or, that these car rentals would have been suspicious about any white van that they had or had out or that was continually rented. Besides, how many white vans do car rentals like Hertz, Budget, etc really have? Can't be many if any at all. White vans of the type were talking about you'd generally find from moving companies -- U-Haul, Ryder. But these vans all have loud, unmistakeable branding. The sniper's white van is marking, lettering, logo free.

It's looking more like the sniper is coming from far outside the DC area -- how else to explain him not yet being nabbed for having a white van. Or he's fitting the pattern I outlined above -- he's part of a terrorist cell or he's so far outside the profile that he's sneaking under the radar.