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Al-Qaeda didn’t realize it at the time, but the blueprint for their next campaign of terrorism against America had already been sketched out across the suburban roads and streets of Washington D.C. nearly a decade ago. In the fall of 2002 the DC Sniper terrorized suburban Washington, killing ten people and critically wounding several others.
It’s taken awhile, but they’ve finally put the pieces together and in the first operational video released since Osama bin Ladin’s death are calling on Muslims in America to carry out the exact same type of attack, simple random shootings that don’t require a cell of fellow terrorists or the resources to construct a bomb – just one bullet and one victim at a time.
These random, utterly unpredictable shootings can be terrifyingly effective. If you weren’t there at the time it’s almost impossible to portray the aura of terror that settled across the beltway duringthe DC sniper’s attacks:
“As the DC Sniper methodically laid victim after victim against the silent and unflinching pavement, every element of society became clotted with the blood of his victims. The first morning of killings was followed, never more than three days later, by more deaths. Deaths which came at intersections you recognized, at gas stations you’d filled your car up at, in parking lots you’d parked in. There was no telling who would die next – no segment of society was being spared. And so, inside the first week, the mechanics and behavior of DC-area communities began to change.
High school football teams went through plays meant for games that had been suspended indefinitely on the lifeless floors and under the sterile lighting of a gym, instead of surrounded by the smells and memories of grass and dirt and grit that high school football is meant to anoint its followers with. For weeks, the paths of children walking to school changed from careless and curious Family Circus-esque meanderings to the tactical and strategic zigzags of hardened soldiers operating in hostile territory.
Gas stations no longer enticed new customers by offering free carwashes or lower prices but by stringing up giant tarps in front of their pumps to keep you out of sight while you waited for your car to fill, still pacing behind the tarp in an effort to be a harder-to-hit moving-target. Sitting at a dead stop in your car during rush hour wasn’t frustrating, it was out and out terrifying.
You no longer walked your dog, you ran your dog.
And, in no discernable pattern and with no unifying link, the bodies continued to fall. After the first day of four shootings, a grandfather was followed by a mother-of-two who was followed three days later by a thirteen-year-old boy followed two days later by Vietnam vet. Then came a bus driver. Victims were shot at bus stops, at gas stations, in front of their schools, in parking lots, and inside a city bus. Schools kept the blinds closed in front of every window that had them and taped colored construction paper meant for art projects in front of the windows that didn’t.
Every traffic light seemed like the pull of a trigger in a game of automotive Russian roulette. Halloween pumpkins rotted in their patches, remaining unpicked because spending time bending over in an open field to find the perfect canvas for your jack-o-lantern would mean turning a class of 3rd Graders into a gallery of shooting ducks.
You only felt safe in your own home as long as the window you were standing in front of was shuttered from the evil lurking and killing outside of it. This was terrorism at its awesome finest.”
The one man and one boy team accomplished this with the bare minimum of resources, a handful of bullets, one sniper rifle, and a used 1990 Chevy Caprice purchased on the one-year anniversary of 9/11 as an intentional tribute to that day’s attacks.
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