The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Living in Fear

October 11, 2002

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 45

This article was first published on - October 10, 2002.

The recent eight seemingly senseless shootings in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Fredericksburg, Virginia, have created a terror that’s paralyzing the citizens of communities surrounding our nation’s capital. Citizens are fearful of going outside, and schools are canceling all outside and after school activities. If terror was the goal, the terrorist has achieved his goal – we are a region paralyzed with fear.

Law enforcement officials are of the opinion that the shooter, or shooters, is either part of a foreign terrorist plot, or possibly an individual who “hunts” and kills humans to enjoy a twisted pleasure. In other words, right now they don’t know what kind of person is behind this.

Some say our free and open society invites individuals to commit heinous acts, if they so choose, because there is no way for our government authorities to keep track of all who may seek to harm us. Even if the government could find most of these monsters through intrusive investigations and snoopers spying on every street corner, some would still slip through the cracks. The government can’t read minds.

Consider a real terrorist act which took place outside of the headquarters of the CIA a few years ago. The shooter met morning rush hour traffic turning into the CIA gates, and systematically shot people as they waited in their cars to go through security. He was able to escape, but was identified later because of an excellent investigation conducted by several dedicated agencies, including the FBI. It was determined that he was a foreign terrorist – an “America hater”– and had selected the CIA Headquarters because it was believed the killings would terrorize the CIA and the nation.

We would later learn that associates of Osama bin Laden were planning more carnage at the CIA by using hijacked commercial airliners full of passengers to dive into the many office buildings located there. On September 11, 2001 the targets turned out to be the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. But it’s possible the CIA was once again a target – one hijacked plane was taken over by the passengers and later crashed in Pennsylvania. Moreover, after September 11, box cutters were found secreted in at least one other aircraft, so we’ll never know if other hijackings were planned but thwarted by quick action from the Bush White House to ground all commercial aircraft.

So now it’s possible that one or more foreign America haters have decided to conduct their own form of localized terrorism: firing a high powered rifle at innocent citizens from a considerable distance to avoid arrest. After all, the lesson learned by terrorists after the attack in New York is that to kill ordinary U.S. citizens is a very effective way to bring our nation to its knees.

But, the shooter, or shooters, could just as easily be of the “homegrown” variety.

Our violent history recalls one white-hating shooter aboard the Long Island Railroad, who for whatever reason, decided he had “suffered” enough discrimination at the hands of white people. He calmly walked through the railcars, shooting and reloading at will until many were killed. Passengers were finally able to subdue this monster after he stopped to reload again.

Then there were the “Son of Sam” killings in New York City. An individual stalked the streets of New York, looking for lovers sitting in cars. When he would find them, voices in his head would tell him to shoot. He killed several innocents until the police could put together enough facts to determine who the real killer was. He was not aligned with any political group, he was simply twisted, just like the two teenagers in Colorado who walked the halls of Columbine High School killing innocent teenagers, especially those who had expressed a love for Christ or organized sports.

The point is, the only thing standing between the average innocent citizen and a horrible death at the hands of a real terrorist or a nut, is…nothing.

Absolutely nothing stops an organized killer working for a terrorist, or a crazy person listening to voices in his or her head, unless a lucky law enforcement officer stumbles upon the crime being committed. In a society with too few police officers and with millions of freely roaming citizens, the odds of a killer being caught in the act are slim to none.

Those who preach that gun control is the answer to violent crime will have no immediate comment when the shooter is eventually arrested or killed. That’s because Maryland and the District of Columbia have some of the toughest gun laws in the country. These overlapping, and some say unconstitutional, gun laws have done nothing to make Maryland and D.C. safer. Layer upon layer of guns laws simply don’t work.

Instead, the killer, or killers, know that unless they are caught red-handed by police officers, they will probably escape. The average law-abiding citizen of Maryland can only watch in horror as the shooter fires his weapon and drives away.

Yes, yes, they can write down a vehicle description and perhaps get a tag number. This is how most killers are eventually caught – but here the key word is eventually. The person or persons who are doing these killings need to be stopped now! And how will the average citizen of the states of Maryland or D.C. stop them? With sticks or rocks?

Of course, most police cars are marked, so cunning predators can wait until the police car turns the corner. And, although there are many good undercover officers who can blend in and perhaps catch this monster as he lays in wait for his next victim, the number of uniformed police officers far outnumbers the undercover types.

All of the conventional statistics prove that when citizens have the right to arm themselves and carry concealed weapons, the crime rate goes down. The killer now confines most of his activities to the state of Maryland. Could it be that he, or they, know they have little to fear from the law-abiding citizens who are helpless against such armed killers? If one person had been armed on that train in Long Island, or if one school official had been armed at Columbine, could there have been a different outcome?

One thing is for certain: those who live in states that permit their law-abiding to carry concealed weapons, have citizens who have less to fear from armed terrorists, whether foreign or domestic. Citizens of these states constitute a volunteer army of law enforcement officers multiplying the number of possibilities of stopping this madness.