MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. -- In the endless media psychoanalysis and police profiling of the random murderer striking fear near the nation's capital, one possibility is rarely mentioned: that the sniper may be a terrorist affiliated with Al Qaeda or otherwise inspired by Osama bin Laden.
Odds are against a conspiracy. The consensus is that the multiple assassin is a domestic madman, the most recent in a long line of serial killers. Such disgruntled loners, pseudo-religious weirdos and cold-blooded psychotics lusting for fame and vengeance have plagued American society for generations.
But the venue chosen by the most recent shooter is the capital of the U.S., a primary target of worldwide terrorism. Police have speculated that the sniper might well have an accomplice, perhaps a driver or supplier, which suggests a terrorist cell. And the effect of the operation is to strike fear into ordinary Americans at the focal point of the nation's political decision-making and media coverage.
Safire is generally sensible. Most of this editorial is sensible. Until he calls for gun registration at tne very end.
Safire: You are wrong. You are giving in to the fear that is the purpose of this sniper's actions.
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