U.S. freedoms work to sniper’s advantage

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 24, 2002

It’s the price we pay for freedom.

Fear of the sniper-style killings in the Washington, D.C., areahas seeped into communities everywhere as citizens contemplate thepossibilities of a copycat serial killer taking up residence nearthem.

Law enforcement authorities are urging the country to havepatience and noting that it will take time to capture a killer withno recognizable motive or pattern.

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Unfortunately, rumbles of discontent are beginning to be heardamong the masses, who believe the killer should have been caughtalready.

Welcome to the United States. It is the freedoms we enjoy asU.S. citizens that are helping the killer stay hidden.

It is entirely possible that in countries with a morecentralized government that the killer would have already beencaught or killed, but how many citizens would have had their rightstrampled on to get him?

It is easier for centralized governments to control (that’s thekey word here) their population because they put limits on whattheir citizens can and cannot do. Those controls are far morestringent than those imposed on us.

Private ownership of firearms, freedom of movement, theprivileges of vehicle ownership and driving, racial equality andother rights we take for granted would disappear under centralizedgovernment.

Thankfully, no one is calling for a more centralized governmentor for martial law in Washington, but people should be aware thatfreedom has its price and this is part of that fee.

Another difficulty facing authorities is technological. Theyhave scores of fancy gadgets to aid them in their quest to capturethis sniper, but technology also favors the shooter.

One reason he, or she, may be avoiding capture is because of ourinfatuation with the “microage,” our desires to make everythingsmaller.

For example, the sniper could be breaking down his rifle andcarrying it in a gym bag to conceal it. It is a simple matter of afew minutes to put it back together and have it ready to fire. Infact, our own military trains its men and women to be able toassemble an M16 assault rifle within two minutes.

And, because it’s not difficult and requires no special tools,it can be done with a relatively small amount of movement to catchthe eyes of passersby. It’s movement that can be concealed.

The style of these shootings makes it very difficult forauthorities to corner one man among millions. It is this precisereason our military, and militaries across the world, havesnipers.

People should consider this before condemning the country’s lawenforcement personnel for their lack of quick results.

Write to DAILY LEADER Staff Writer Scott Tynes at P.O. Box551, Brookhaven, Miss 39602.