October 3, 2002

Shooting Spree Too Close

A coworker just came to my cube to ask me if I knew about a murder spree in my part of the Maryland suburbs. I didn’t but work to hear the details she imparts while deciding whether I should call my wife or my youngest daughter’s daycare first. I am listening to our news radio station via the Web and reloading the Washington Post site for the latest updates.

It began last night at a large grocery store nearby and continued throughout this morning. A man loading groceries into his car. A man mowing his lawn. A woman vacuuming her car. A man pumping gas. A woman sitting on a bench next to a post office. Five people are now dead. Police are looking for a white small van and two men. All schools in Montgomery County, DC and Prince George’s County are in a lockdown, that is, no one is allowed in or out without permission.

All of us are very aware of our personal safety, given the events of 9/11. We live our normal lives and try to maintain a sense of “rational paranoia,” an oxymoronic expression I use to describe a typical urban existence these days.

But the seemingly random shootings add to one’s angst. And once again this is hitting too close to home. I am struggling with my rationally paranoid thoughts.

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