Who spreads terror: Stephen Hunter

Who spreads terror
: Stephen Hunter is the talented movie critic of the Washington Post and a thriller writer and also a fan of guns (I know because I tried to convince him to become the movie critic at Entertainment Weekly and he said then — in his job interview — that a bullet is a beautiful thing, too beautiful to waste on an editor … and even after that, I really wanted to hire him).

Hunter profiles what we know about the Washington sniper in the Post:

He knows more, for one thing, than you could learn in the movies. In the movies, shooters routinely perform feats of marksmanship that are completely impossible in reality. They throw heavy rifles to their shoulders and snap off long-distance shots and people drop. They shoot from the hip, they hold the gun sideways, they shoot while somersaulting or flying through the air. That doesn’t happen in the real world. So he’s not a punk jerk who’s couch-potatoed his life away in front of the VCR while cultivating zits, rejection and grievances….

If he’s using what is so popularly called an assault weapon, he hasn’t been seduced by movie imagery or the gun’s militaristic architecture into bursts of shots, one of the seductions of that particular style of rifle. He’s not a spray shooter, a crowd gunner, in love with the bap-bap-bap of the semiautomatic rifle. He likes the one-shot, one-kill code of the professional soldier or law enforcement agent.

Still, none of these skills compute to the heavily trained operative or a terrorist. They are Shooting 101 techniques, easily learnable in an afternoon by anyone, man, woman or teenager, with routine coordination. They are accessible on the Internet or in any issue of a gun magazine.

Spared terror
: From the Jerusalem Post:

A quick thinking security guard at a Tel Aviv caf and sentries posted at the American embassy foiled what could have been a massive terrorist attack Friday night when they identified, apprehended, and disarmed a would-be suicide bomber on a crowded boardwalk.

It was the second time in as many days that civilians thwarted a potentially devastating suicide bombing in Tel Aviv area.

: Are the Washington attacks the work of terrorists? The NY Post’s Steve Dunleavy thinks so.

LARRY Johnson, former CIA agent, former State Department agent, said loudly and clearly: “At the end of the day, we have to give some credence that there is a terrorist threat.”…

“I personally think it is a jihad, rather than a crazy nut,” Johnson, a veteran counterintelligence expert, said.

Jim Kallstrom, the former boss of the FBI in New York who investigated the downing of TWA 880, does not dismiss the theory either.

“This is a different situation if there are two people involved in the shootings,” he said.

“If there are two, it is unusual. Two people do not have parallel psychoses. If there are two involved, I would have to lean towards a conspiracy.”…

What’s uncanny about the past 10 days is that a gunman and perhaps a co-conspirator have held the capital of this country prisoner.

The Washington area is completely paralyzed.

As they said on NPR this morning, this is a case of a superpower made powerless.

Terror spreads
: University student bombs a mall in Finland. At least 110 dead in blasts in Bali.

: The Bali report from the Jakarta Post.

: News.com.au reports; they have the death toll at 110.

Wake me when it’s over
: Media Democracy Day. Whatabunchahooey that is! Hey, bozos, media is business. It’s about what the market will bear, what the audience will buy. Anything else is government-controlled and that’s called propaganda and that’s not democratic. Journalism lesson over. Go home now.

: I’ve been spending a surprising amount of time watching TV on my laptop.

Here’s a new presentation of TV on tech, very slick, nicely done.

I watched all kinds of author interviews from the Frankfurt Book Fair on ZDF.

Trying to brush up on my horrenous German, I watched excerpts from the German David Letterman, Harald Schmidt.

I watched my own site, Nola.com, present four critics looking for the best shrimp po boy.

This is still no way to watch West Wing. But this is a way to watch snippets of things you can’t get elsewhere or want when you want them. Convergence is converging.