October 2002 - UPDATE

There is a decent essay in the Washington Post today taking us all back to some days when a sniper was randomly picking us off for sport. For the hell of it. Because he could. Around my town. How weird is that?

In the article there is some discussion about "lessons learned" and such but I think this quotation is a priceless summation:
"The sad thing is, the biggest lesson from this is that two fools with a rifle can put an entire region of the country in a state of absolute fear."

- Police Chief Charlie T. Deane of Prince William County
Right. That is terrorism! Yes, 9/11™ was a terrorist attack by hellbent terrorists, but John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo committed terrorism. They has us all scared as hell. We were hostages. People were squat-walking from their cars to pump gas. People were running in serpentine patterns to get into the Whole Foods. My neighborhood Octoberfest was canceled. Blinds were drawn. White box trucks were searched and searched again. The police would stop beltway traffic after a shooting and run armed checkpoint. The National Guard was present. People would hold the dog leash from inside their homes while the dog pissed on the porch. What?

“I am God” Muhammad said. And for several weeks, he was. Or was he?

Yes, it was frightening. But you know what? Probability was on my side. Probability is always on our side. Not god. Not luck. Not strategy. Straight ass statistics. During the so-called sniper spree I would stand with my arms folded, in plain sight (lines) while my gasoline filled. People thought I was either brave or crazy. No. I was simply one in several million targets. And I was defiant as hell. I refused to play a sucker game even if I had a six month-old daughter.

As I walked to purchase my groceries--people duck-running around me--I would imagine that it wouldn't actually hurt. It would just be light's out. Dead. Nothing I could do about that, right? Probably just a brief flash of light and...that's it. Since we're all going to die, I figured why die scared. Live with dignity; die with dignity.

Between Y2K, 9/11™, the anthrax mail scare, the sniper and Bush, the early years of this century was pretty fucked-up. And people are all crazy about Obama wanting to ensure health insurance. Wow. Try being a rifle target for a while. Enjoy yourselves or something.

So as John Allen Muhammad "defiantly" went to his death I remind you to remain defiant against the terrors of hyperbole. Yes some dude might be shooting people with a rifle but statistically speaking you're still as safe as you were in your mother's arms. You don't need to tape plastic over your windows.

Math is your friend.

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