Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
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Thursday, October 10, 2002
 
Susanna at Cut on the Bias has put up numerous good posts on the Maryland sniper killings, becoming pretty much sniper central for the blogosphere. This statement in today's post, though, makes no sense to me:

It looks like two may be involved, which I think makes it a little less of a white supremicist thing although I still think it's a factor. And I also still think there is a dominant personality, the shooter, and an acolyte, the driver.

I'm assuming that the last person killed was a random victim. Without ballistic evidence to prove a link to the earlier killings, there's a possibility that somebody with a grudge went after this specific guy, but since he wasn't a local, that seems improbable. And the witness report of two people leaving the scene seems to make a white supremacist motive more, rather than less, likely.

Criminals act from a vast array of motives, but criminal conspiracies are much narrower. The vast majority are formed by an expectation of mutual profit, a motive clearly not present in the sniper killings. In the absence of financial gain, the list of motives that can form and maintain a criminal conspiracy is very short indeed, and some kind of political/religious fanatacism is at the top of the list. While there are many varieties of nut causes, the undeniable expertise of this shooter with firearms is a trait characteristic of the extreme right white supremacist/militia type.

Sociopaths generally act alone. Almost by definition, their links to others are weak, and they rarely have spouses or even close friends. Where you have them acting together to kill, there's generally some connection to a political or religious cause. The only exception I can think of offhand for serial killings is the Lake/Ng murders, murders of young women which had a sexual motive.



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