Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Experts Better With Hindsight Than Foresight

To mark the execution of Beltway sniper John Allen Mohammed in a few hours, I decided to look up some of the most inept speculation as to the identity of the killer before he was caught. My favourite is Philip Kerr's article that appeared in the Daily Mail on October 21st 2002, 4 days before the snipers were caught:
If the Washington Sniper is taken alive, it is more than likely that he will be not some Al Qaeda terrorist, or even a cackling nutcase like Scorpio, but a quiet, white- skinned male, aged 40-55, who is a stalwart member of the National Rifle Association.

It may even be found that somehow, the key to the whole spree is the first shooting, on October 2 - a single shot fired through the window of Michael's Craft Store in Washington's Wheaton district, that fizzed through a display of silk autumnal flowers, smashed the lamp over the cash register and ricocheted off a shelf of prayer books called Inspiration For The Heart.

OR PERHAPS the answer lies somewhere in the identity of the first victim, 55-year-old James Martin.

Like Martin, several other victims have been fairly heavyset men in their 40s and 50s.

Equally, four of the men had beards; and if I were an FBI profiler I'd be working on the possibility that our man is also heavyset, with a beard, and that he may have shopped at Michael's Craft Shop, where a second shot was fired two days after the first.
Bearded, white, craft shop aficionados are notoriously dangerous.


JuliaM said...

"...and if I were an FBI profiler..."

Sorry, Phil. It seems you need more qualifications for that than 'have wateched a few episodes of 'Criminal Minds'. And the first season of 'Cracker'...'

Ross said...

Hos claim to expertise on the matter was that he had written a novel about a sniper a few years beforehand.

Mark said...

That gem was well worth digging up Ross.
BTW It's been nearly 12 hours since JA Mohammed was dispatched, and I haven't yet come across the inevitable tear jerking interview on the Beeb with Clive Stafford-Smith. Is this a new record ?

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Ah! The institutional racism of the mainstream media.