Two Men Taken into Custody Turn out to be a False Hope for Police; Moose Pleads With Sniper to Contact Police
Aired October 21, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE: On the left: James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right: Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.
In the CROSSFIRE...
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all happened very quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two male subjects taken into custody.
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ANNOUNCER: A phone booth, a van, high hopes, then lots of questions.
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CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Call us back so that we can clearly understand.
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ANNOUNCER: We'll get the very latest on the investigation, the latest victim, as well as look at the fear factor: how much should people in and around Washington change their daily lives?
Tonight on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University: Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.
On a day when politics is taking a back seat to the search for the D.C. area sniper, what looked momentarily like a break in the case this morning turned into disappointment this afternoon. But even though the sniper is still on the loose, he apparently is trying to communicate with police. For the latest, we go to CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the command center in Montgomery County, Maryland -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Tucker, the police chief here in Montgomery County, Charles Moose, made a third appearance, a very brief appearance before reporters. An appearance designed to send some sort of message apparently to the sniper or snipers involved in this horrendous case now approaching three weeks. Here is what he said late this afternoon.
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MOOSE: The person you called could not hear everything that you said. The audio was unclear and we want to get it right. Call us back so that we can clearly understand.
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BLITZER: Some are saying that this is an optimistic note, that at least there apparently is some sort of dialogue, as cryptic as it might be, with the killer or the killers or some people involved in this. They're trying to reach out, they're trying to establish a dialogue, and police here in Montgomery County are appealing to the news media to replay that message from Chief Moose as often as possible.
We're, of course, doing that, trying to make sure we don't do anything that is going undermine this investigation. Already it has cost nine lives, three people wounded. The investigation, of course, continues -- Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks, Wolf.
PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Tests now show that Saturday night's shooting outside a Virginia steak house was part of the string of sniper attacks. So for the latest on that, as well as the victim of that shooting, who remains in the hospital recovering from surgery, we go to Richmond and CNN's Gary Tuchman -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paul, that 37-year-old man remains in critical condition, but he has survived two operations and doctors say that is very good news. During the second operation, doctors got the bullet out. They compared the bullet to other ballistic evidence and have determined the shooting Saturday night at the Ponderosa restaurant was done by the serial sniper.
So, as Wolf said, nine people killed, three wounded since October 2, 19 days. Now earlier today police thought they might have had their man. A raid at a gas station, an Exxon station where I'm standing in Henrico County, Virginia, right near Richmond, Virginia, 30 police cars swooped on the gas station, they took a man out of a van, put him in custody, then got another man in a nearby area. Turns out these two men, one of them was 24 from Guatemala, another man, 35 from Mexico, illegal immigrants. They're now in the custody of INS and will likely be deported.
But authorities say they have absolutely nothing to do with the sniper shootings. Why were police here in the first place? Well, they had a tip, a tip came on their phone line, they traced the phone call to this area. So they were placing this entire area under surveillance.
By the way, that tip was a tip that a note was to be found behind the Ponderosa restaurant. The note, indeed, was found, and that's why they thought the tip was credible. But these men, nothing to do with the sniper shootings -- Paul.
BEGALA: Gary, thank you for that update. And we're going to have more on the sniper case in just a couple of minutes, including some experts who say that one of the things we should fear the most is fear itself.
But, first, we know that you tune into CROSSFIRE for the very hottest political news. Of course the election is just two weeks away, so there is plenty of it. So here comes the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."
As the nation warily watches the latest developments in the case of the beltway sniper, Mark Brown, a columnist for "The Chicago Sun Times" reports that the Illinois State Rifle Association's electronic newsletter implies that the killings may be part of an anti-gun conspiracy. "Far be it from us to advance conspiracy theories," the group writes, but the timing of the sniper activity is unsettling. Maryland has one of the hottest governor races in the country; the central theme of the Maryland race is gun control.
Things heat up. There is this off-the-wall series of sniper killings, murder made to order for the anti-gunners. Hmm, the group concludes. Hmm, indeed. Crackpots, conspiracy theorists and kooks, the heart and soul of the conservative movement.
CARLSON: The Illinois State Rifle Association's electronic newsletter. This is your window into the conservative world, Paul? You need to get out more.
BEGALA: Fair enough.
CARLSON: President Bush calls it a bit of troubling news. He also calls it an opportunity. It is North Korea's newly disclosed nuclear weapons program. After meeting with NATO's general secretary, the president told reporters he sees an opportunity to work with other countries in the region, including China and Russia, to put pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.
Mr. Bush also indicated he sees opportunities for multilateral cooperation in Iraq. "Saddam Hussein will be disarmed," the president said, but with the help of the rest of the free world he may be disarmed peacefully. "We've tried diplomacy," said President Bush. "We're trying one more time."
BEGALA: So for those of us scoring at home, Saddam Hussein does not have a nuclear weapon. But, because he might, we're going to go to war. North Korea clearly does, but that's an opportunity. Good news.
One of the primary reasons that the Bush administration uses to justify its march towards war with Iraq is the claim that Saddam Hussein had a hand in September 11. Vice President Dick Cheney and others have claimed that terrorist Mohammad Atta held a secret meeting in Prague with Iraqi intelligence before the attacks. But the president of the Czech Republic has been telling the White House for months that his exhaustive review proves that there was no meeting period. Mr. Cheney has said that the CIA finds the evidence of the meeting "credible." But last week, the director of CIA, testifying before Congress, swore there is no evidence that such a meeting ever took place.
So there is no Iraqi connection to September 11, but we need to attack Iraq instead of al Qaeda, which actually was behind September 11. I guess if you don't see the logic here it's obvious you're not a patriotic American.
CARLSON: We are actually attacking al Qaeda, and I think the connection between Iraq and September 11 is tenuous enough you wouldn't want to base an invasion on it. Luckily, this is not what this White House is doing. There are many other reasons; that's not among them.
It's been an embarrassing month for the Democratic Party. Aren't they all? First, Barbra Streisand, the party's premier public intellectual, identified Saddam Hussein as "the president of Iran." This only days after she issued a briefing memo to Democratic leader Dick Gephardt in which she misspelled his name.
Now, there's Ron Kirk. Once considered among the most promising Democrats in the nation, Kirk is running for Senate in Texas. He's losing. Friday night it became obvious why.
Before thousands of confused television viewers, Kirk alleged that Saudi Arabia "may be trying to develop or get access to nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction." Informed later by his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that Saudi Arabia is, in fact, an American ally with American troops stationed right now within its borders, Kirk backpedaled. "I don't know that Saudi Arabia is developing nuclear weapons," he admitted, adding that he had meant to say Vatican City is developing nuclear weapons.
BEGALA: Nice try. Ron Kirk is going to win that race. Bush's guy is going to go down. And, by the way, I would stack Barbra Streisand up even against George W. Bush in a geography quiz any day of the year. Let's go. She's a brilliant woman and I wish -- George W. Bush is not half the woman Barbra Streisand is.
OK. The Missouri Ethics Commission has issued a five-count complain against Republican Senate candidate Jim Talent. The ethics cops ruled that there is probable cause to believe Mr. Talent violated Missouri law by taking campaign contributions left over from his failed 2000 campaign for governor and using them in his current Senate race. The Talent campaign called the violation a technical matter. Then again, ethics have been a mere technicality for Republicans.
President Bush spent Friday campaigning for the ethically- challenged Mr. Talent. No doubt part of his mission to restore honor and integrity to Washington.
CARLSON: Well, it's not clear Mr. Talent did anything wrong at all. And this coming from the party that defended Robert Torricelli to the bitter end, kind of amazing beating up on poor Congressman Talent.
The poetry community is reeling tonight after a second scandal involving one of the country's 24 poet laureates. Quincy Troop (ph), the poet laureate of California, has resigned following reports that he had lied about his background. Troop (ph) was a professor of creative writing at the University of California and took creative license with his own resume, claiming to be a college graduate.
Earlier this month, the poet laureate of New Jersey, Amiri Baraka, accused Jewish groups of coordinating the attacks of September 11. Baraka, however, refused to resign, saying he wanted to continue his important work on behalf of the Democratic Party. The scandals led some to question why state governments need poet laureates in the first place.
Asked if he plans to eliminate the position, California Governor Gray Davis replied in the strongest terms, not in a box, he said, not with a fox, not in a house, not with a mouse. I would not eat green eggs and ham I do not like them, Sam I am.
BEGALA: It always seems to be the democratic governors get in trouble with this and I found out why. Most Republicans' poetry begins with the line "There once was a man from man from Nantucket."
CARLSON: That's right. I agree with you. Yes. We agree on something, finally. I'll defend limericks to the bitter end.
In a minute, the twists, turns and telephone calls of the sniper investigation. Plus, how you to cope? The cases for being extra cautious or doing nothing at all. CROSSFIRE will be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Authorities seem to be caught in a game of telephone tag with the D.C. area sniper with the press caught in the middle. To make sense of today's developments, in this case, we're joined from New York by Bo Dietl, whose firm specializes in security and investigations. Here with us is former D.C. homicide detective J.T. McCann. He has worked as a private investigator for Chandra Levy's family.
BEGALA: Thank you, both, gentlemen. A lot of experience here between the two of you both.
Let me start with you. You're a veteran hero cop from New York City. I know you didn't like people second guessing you then. But I've heard you on Imus going after some of these cops. What are the cops doing wrong?
BO DIETL, BEAU DIETL & ASSOCIATES: You know something, the first thing they were doing wrong was having news conferences four times a day and saying nothing. Now all of a sudden you got this murderer -- I'm not going to call him a sniper, I'm going to call him a homicidal murderer -- watching everything going on.
Then all of a sudden they start to talk about this white Astro van. How about they set up and before they pull the trigger, they wait for a van to go by and people are going to see that van. They're telling everything that is going on. Also the fact with that tarot card that was exposed, that wasn't exposed by the news media, that was exposed by the cops there.
The problem here, I really believe, you got now I think seven jurisdictions. Hey, when is the FBI just going to step up and take the investigation over? You got to have professional people in there. The fact of the matter, today, when you heard that they couldn't even hear too clearly a person trying to give a tip, we have the top technology in the world with the FBI.
Why aren't they monitoring these phone and tip lines? Let's -- we got people being murdered here. We got to get down on this thing and let's not worry about who's going to take the next news conference. Let's worry about capturing these murderers.
CARLSON: And speaking of those news conferences Joe McCann they do seem a bit amateurish, sometimes more than a bit. And I wonder -- I don't normally favor federalizing things, but what about that, that Mr. Dietl just said, why not federalize this investigation?
JOE MCCANN, FMR. D.C. HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Well, I'm sure the time will come when they may want to do that. But, right now, the chief and everybody else (UNINTELLIGIBLE), including the federal law enforcement field. They've been -- they've told us that they're all working together and this is a coecive (ph) team, I apologize.
But I guess I'm a little upset with the criticism that the police are getting hit with all the time. This is a tough case, this is not an easy case. I said this before that the police need support now. They're going to need support maybe two months from now.
We don't know how long this thing is going on. And if we start criticizing and questioning everything they do, they're only human. They're going to react. They're going to start to think more before they do something and they may take too long to think.
BEGALA: Well, Bo, let me ask you about something else that came out. We've reported -- everybody has -- that the Pentagon has deployed a surveillance plane. Do you think that the fact that the murderer clearly knows that now -- he may drive 70 miles away where maybe that plane isn't flying? Why not keep that secret, right?
DIETL: Yes. They told everybody they're going to shut the interstate down whenever there is a shooting. Hey, I'm going to drive a back street. Then, all of a sudden, they say to us they're going to have these surveillance planes. Well, I'll shoot the gun from under cover and I'll get out of the jurisdiction.
We're telling the murderer everything we're going to do. A little something to think about, Paul. Everyone is saying terrorism, it could be a terrorist. Hey, remember the first tarot card that was discovered? It said "I am God." It is not a Muslim terrorist. It is not a fundamentalist, because they would never use the word "god." It is Allah.
If they use the word god it is like sacrilegious. So let's take that whole theory out of this whole equation. Now what you have to do is you have to utilize people.
This murderer or murderers have to go home at night. They have to sleep in the bed, they have to go home with their car, wherever they're going. We need the tips. We need the people to be detectives, to call in that tip line.
This person is acting unusual. This one is acting suspicious. That's how these cases are broken, with the tip line.
And, again, I don't mean to comment about the seven jurisdictions. The fact of the matter is, when you do an investigation, a homicide, a big investigation like this, organization is the main word you need. You have to be organized, where people are following up on the tips.
And the task force should have detectives from every one of those jurisdictions in one spot, and everything should be filtered through, because sometimes what happens is the right hand thinks the left hand is following up on this lead and it is not happening. I've seen confusion when you have so many jurisdictions.
Right now you have a homicide in Virginia and you have a homicide in Maryland. That should justify the fact that the FBI should be brought in. They're supposed to be a premiere investigative organization in this country. And if this doesn't cry out for the top investigators to be there, overseeing it -- now, no disrespect to Chief Moose and all these other people, but when it comes to a time when you have so many things happening, you have to take charge and organize an investigation.
That's how these cases are broken. And, again, we have to figure we're dealing with someone very smart. They do a survey in the area. I keep saying "they" because I think there is two people involved. Now they know how they're going to exit.
And, again, I'm going to repeat what I said before, now they know that they're looking for the white Astro van, how about they set up -- because they're killing black, white, Indian, children, man, woman, there is no sense of rhyme or reason. They're going for a body count here.
BEGALA: Let me bring Joe McCann into this. Joe, why not let the FBI take over this so that there is clearly one boss, and that boss being the federal government?
MCCANN: I don't necessarily have a problem with that. I'm sure that with these people, what the police want is this thing to be solved. And I don't think egos are coming into play here.
If Chief Moose and others thought that this should be run by the FBI, believe me, they would bring -- let the FBI take charge of it. The decision may be the FBI's. Maybe they're saying, well we don't want to take it right now. You guys are doing a great job.
BEGALA: They are saying that. Why would they want to back off like that?
MCCANN: Well, a number of reasons. First of all, if the FBI were to take over this case, then we would be demanding them to take over other cases. And if they get involved in this one, you're going to stretch their resources and they're going to be all over the country investigating every murder that happens in the country. So they have limited resources, too.
CARLSON: Yes, but, Bo Dietl, hold on. Before you go, let me just ask you a quick question. Do you think it is possible with all the publicity this case has received that whoever contacted the police via Ponderosa steak house last night might have been a copycat? How do we know this is the sniper responsible for the killings?
DIETL: You know something, Paul, this is the thing that I worry about. We're over two weeks into this. You have copycats and then you have people who want to insect themselves right into this case. And you have opportunists.
When we did the Palm Sunday massacre in New York, we did the investigation, one guy had me for four or five days running around Brooklyn, meeting at a telephone to the next telephone, he'd ring that telephone and go to the next telephone. He had me go in the middle of Prospect Park without my shirt on.
Finally, we got him. We bring him into the station house. We start talking for about four hours, and the guy stands up and he goes -- I go, Where are you going? He goes, I'm going home. I said, What do you mean you're going home? He goes, I made it all up, it was all a joke.
My lieutenant at that time took his neck and bashed his head through a window. He was so upset about it. The statute of limitations is over. That was 1984. But you do get some anger there.
I mean you've got detectives working there probably 18 hours, and they don't need nobody to play games and take them on wild goose chases. We're dealing with people killing innocent people here. My god, I wish -- I wish that everyone could help.
I don't mean to pick on Moose or anybody in this investigation. I just need the public to call up and give all the tips they can so everyone could be a detective and work together and catch these homicidal maniacs, because right now we have people being killed.
BEGALA: Bo, I got to ask you to hold on, because we're going to have to go to a break in just a moment. But when we come back, Bo doesn't think that there are terrorists behind this. But I'm going to ask both of our guests if they think that maybe this was all a distraction by terrorists, and maybe they're throwing us off by using words like "God" instead of "Allah". And, later, we're going to ask an expert in criminal profiling to give us some insights into the mind of a killer. Stay with us.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Police in Richmond picked up two men this morning and hopes soared that the sniper mystery was going to be solved. Alas, they were simply two very unlucky illegal aliens who stumbled into the wrong place at the very wrong time. And so the sniper remains on the loose.
We're talking things over with security expert, Bo Dietl, who is New York City, and former D.C. homicide detective, J.T. McCann. First we have a question from the audience.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Sheila Corman (ph). I'm visiting from San Diego. My question is, how much have all the false reports hindered the investigation?
MCCANN: Well, I don't even know if just -- forget about the false reports. They're getting 20,000 calls. I don't know how many of those 20,000 are false. They're still probably working their way through them. But you can bet that a case with this kind of notoriety is prompting a lot of people to call.
And everybody wants to be a part. Everybody has something to say. And it is hard to say right now how many of them are false. But they certainly are a drain, and there is enough going on that is draining manpower now.
BEGALA: And, in fact, Bo, you wrapped up our last segment saying people should be detectives, they should call in with tips. And I'm sure that you're right and we want that. But, at the same time, doesn't that encourage this so-called lie witness that we had in northern Virginia, a man who had not, in fact, seen anything of importance, but kind of made up a tale and gave the cops the runaround for a day or two. Isn't that part and parcel of asking for help because you get bad help too?
DIETL: That's the problem in investigations. You're going to get some true statements and you're going to get some people making them up. But you have to disseminate that. And that's the big part about an investigation.
Sending detectives out to interview these people, like when they had them three witnesses the other day, I would have thrown them on a polygraph and said, well, would you like to take a polygraph? You can't use it in the court but you certainly can eliminate people.
Again, I go back, Paul to my theory there with these psycho video games. After Columbine, there were three incidents where kids went out and took guns and killed multiple people. One in Germany, Jonesboro, and you have the other one in Peoria, where people went out.
I really believe it is a psycho sick game of murder and it is a body count. The way they're killing the different people, there is no rhyme or reason. You give me a different motive and then I'll take the different motive. But, as far as is it stands now, I really feel as though there are two people and it is a competitive thing going on.
CARLSON: Mr. McCann, this is taking an enormous amount of resources from the police department, resources that could be obviously used to solve other crimes. Do you think law enforcement is suffering as a result of the emphasis on the sniper attacks?
MCCANN: I think that there is also a tremendous amount of police presence. So I would think that in jurisdictions affected by this guy, whether it be in Montgomery County or somewhere up in Richmond, Virginia, I think you'll find that crime in general is probably down, and especially violent crime. Because people that typically -- the bad guys that ride around with guns, they're aware that they have a -- there is a high likelihood that they're going to get stopped.
And if you go through these neighborhoods, in Montgomery County in particular, you'll see that there are police around every corner. And so I think the resources are being used right.
BEGALA: OK. We have another question from a member of the audience. Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Anna Rosen (ph). I'm from Philadelphia. And my question is, doesn't this amount of attention encourage sociopathic behavior and perhaps copycat criminals?
CARLSON: What do you think of that, Bo Dietl?
DIETL: We had a sniper in Long Island on the Long Island Expressway shot at three cars last week. Then you had this guy that killed two people in New York just within the last two days. I'm sure it is going to spark these.
And that's what I worry about. The longer this stays out there, the more copycats will come into play and then the opportunist people, they'll try to make money on it. They'll try to set up phony things, as far as to send clues, and that's going to disturb the whole investigation with the people that are going to interrupt the investigation.
CARLSON: OK. Bo Dietl in New York, J.T. McCann here in Washington, thank you both very much.
Coming up in a CNN NEWS ALERT, Connie Chung has the latest on the sniper investigation.
Later, insight into the mind that is terrorizing a region. Also, going about your daily life while feeling like a potential victim. We'll be right back.
BEGALA: Still ahead, your chance to "Fireback" at us.
And tonight, for one night only, I get to "Fireback" at Tucker and set the record straight about where he claims I was on Friday and where I really was.
But next, we'll take you into the mind of the killer using the clues the sniper himself has left behind.
BEGALA: Welcome pack to CROSSFIRE.
The Washington area sniper apparently is communicating with local police. A long letter was found near the scene of Saturday night's shooting. There's also been some kind of contact by telephone. This may give experts some insight into the killer's mind.
To help the rest of us -- we're not experts -- we're joined by very own CNN criminologist Casey Jordan, who's in New York.
Casey, thanks for joining us.
CASEY JORDAN, CNN CRIMINOLOGIST: Hi Paul.
CARLSON: Casey, there's been a great deal of speculation that possibly there is more than one sniper or sniper acting with an accomplice.
If that's true, what does it mean? If it's not some lone psychopath and there are, in fact, two people, does that absolutely mean it's terrorism? What are the other options?
JORDAN: Well, I think almost everyone by now who's watched television is familiar with the big three theories that have been put out there. No. 1, it's a lone gunman, very organized, but asocial, perhaps a social reject, somebody with that kind of pseudocommando mentality, who may have a preoccupation with weaponry and military and so on.
The second theory is of course the two partners, perhaps they share the commando mentality, perhaps they're just thrill-seeking teenagers, but there's a tremendous amount of evidence that's purely tactical and strategic, which would support the two-person theory.
The third theory, of course, is that it's the work of terrorists. It happens to be the theory that I've discounted for the time being simply because we've never seen terrorists operate this way, leaving Tarot cards and the real hallmark of a terrorist type of attack, and I do mean in the traditional sense of terrorism where people are representing an extremist organization with the political agenda -- they take credit for it. They want you to know why they're doing these things and they want to wake you up. Now, if you'll let me continue, I've got to tell you, my theory shifts and changes on a daily basis with all the new developments. I do believe that from a psychological standpoint, this would indicate to me it is the work of a lone gunman. However, I'm becoming converted to the idea that tactically -- strategically, from a very practical getaway standpoint, it might be extraordinarily difficult if not at the very least challenging, for a lone gunman to execute these escapes with so much success.
BEGALA: Well, Casey, let me come back to theory three that you discounted, it could work of terrorists. And Bo Dietl did too and he know a lot more about this, as you do, than I ever will. But let me tease out this theory: that it could be al Qaeda trying to distract us by pretending, like in the movies, that they are some kind of psychopath so that we have now a thousand cops assigned to this.
We have the D.C., Virginia, Maryland, the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, all going after this, which would be a hell of a good distraction if al Qaeda was really coming with a weapon of mass destruction in the nation's capital, wouldn't it?
JORDAN: Absolutely and I would agree with you if I believe members of al Qaeda were that sophisticated. It's not impossible that it's an extremely American way of thinking if you'll indulge me.
Al Qaeda has not been known to be extremely subtle. Granted, I mean, they're effective. But when they strike, you know it. And they want you to know it. I can't imagine that they would be tremendously successful at a protracted, nearly three-week attack and not mess up enough to be caught. All indications are that the person who is doing this is definitely engaged in a power control effort that possibly has angles.
They're enjoying the psychological impact or let's call it psychological warfare that this is having on our society. But I truly believe that if it were a terrorist they would not be leaving messages in the woods asking for money.
CARLSON: Well that doesn't -- I'm glad you brought up that, Casey. Because that doesn't seem to fit any scenario. I mean, if they're thrill seekers, they're not by definition in it for money. Neither are they in it for money as a terrorist or a lone psychotic gunman. What do you make of that? Yes, they may have wanted money. Is this a copycat? Is it real? What do you think?
JORDAN: Again, two theories on this one. That No. 1, all of us talking heads are completely wrong about the motivations behind this because profit -- the idea that somebody is actually doing this to hold society hostage and wants money in exchange for quitting, this truly never even really occurred to me. It's thrown me for a loop.
Which would take us to theory No. 2, perhaps this is just the work of a copycat, somebody who's cashing in on the media attention, is letting somebody else do the horrific murders but figures, Well, as long as they're out there doing it, maybe I can get money out of it. The recent developments in the last two days with the message in the woods, this volleying back and forth with phone calls, We didn't get your phone call, Try again this does not fit my concept of the relatively sophisticated, at the very least cunning, type of killer that we've seen operating for the last two and a half weeks.
If he wants to continue or they want to continue getting away with it, leaving handwritten letters in the woods is definitely not the way to continue getting away with it. So I've got to tell you, I think we know less today than we knew three days ago.
CARLSON: It is definitely getting weirder by the day. Thank you, Casey Jordan, we really appreciate it.
JORDAN: Great to be here.
Ahead in our "Fireback" segment, one of our viewers wants to know my true feelings about Barbra Streisand. I'll reveal them, of course.
But next, feelings of uncertainty and fear, we'll explore the Washington area's reactions and, perhaps, overreactions. Be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C. He has killed nine, but he has terrorized millions more. Schools around Richmond, Virginia were closed today, and will be again tomorrow. Is fear the sniper's most bitter legacy?
In New York to talk about the fear factor is forensic psychologist Mark Siegert, and here with us in Washington, D.C. is security analyst Kelly McCann.
BEGALA: Thank you both for joining us. Kelly from the back, and Mark Siegert, let me begin with you. There are over 4 million people in this national capital region. There have been nine tragically and viciously and randomly murdered. In the same time period, 18 other people in our area have been killed in other homicides, so you're twice as likely to be killed in a regular old run of the mill liquor store robbery. Aren't we overreacting and panicking?
MARK SIEGERT, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: I don't think so. I think that is technically unfair, and the reason I think that's true is this is one of the most calculating, coldest, premeditated and planned killers we've had in a long, long time.
BEGALA: But that justifies, for example, four schools in the area of Richmond, Virginia shutting down entirely today?
BEGALA: God help us, the sniper is still out there. Do they shut down tomorrow and the next day, and we just all hide in a closet here? SIEGERT: Well, it is easy to say that, but do you really want to end up in a situation where you're the person who says no, the kids need to go out to playground, or go out to recess?
BEGALA: We live here, but you're in New York which is normally more dangerous than Washington, but, yes, I think most Washingtonians do want to get on with doggone lives...
CARLSON: I hate to reduce it to statistics, but Kelly McCann, let me do that for one second. You have, as a Washington resident, a 100 -- 1 in 244 chance of dying in a car accident. You have a 1 in 517,422 chance of being killed by a sniper, which is not in any way to minimize the tragedy of the deaths. However, it is to say, do we really have reason to be in this collective panic attack?
MCCANN: Both arguments don't address the most important thing, which is the ungovernable element of chance. Because the FBI, in their uniform crime report, says that average person stands a 6 percent chance of being victimized in some way in his life, but you don't get to pick what part of that 6 percent is your victimization. One person gets burglarized, another person gets raped. One person loses something from nonconfrontational larceny theft, another person gets murdered, and that is the problem. It vexing because you cannot control it, and because of that element, that's why people's shoulders are -- kind of shrunk down right now.
BEGALA: That is a good point. We have a woman standing tall in our audience here. Tell us your question for our guests.
CRYSTAL: Hi. My name is Crystal. I am from D.C. I've made a couple small changes since October 2. The first one, we now get gas at the military base at Fort Myers (ph), and do our shopping in Fresh Fields, which has underground parking, and an elevator that goes right up to the grocery store.
BEGALA: And really good salmon.
CRYSTAL: Yes, they do.
BEGALA: Fresh fields, best fish in town.
CARLSON: More to the point. But is that the point, Kelly McCann -- I mean, are those reasonable accommodations to make in the face of this threat?
MCCANN: Of course. I mean, today, they showed a lot of footage of some gas station owners that have interrupted the line of sight from vantage points with blue tarps, and some people have taken them to task, saying that's unreasonable. Mechanically, if you take the personalities out of it, which is the only way to deal with this, a person has to be able to see down his sight access, and press a trigger while holding it on you to shoot you. If you interrupt that, there is no shot. It is an ambiguous shot. So, is that unreasonable? Is it unreasonable for her to change slightly her daily routine to get gas aboard a controlled space? No. Is it unreasonable to run at top speed in serpentine into Lowe's lumber? Yes. OK, so...
CARLSON: At least when I am there.
BEGALA: When you are carrying that two by four, it is really hard to be running with a big, big two by four on your back.
Yes, sir, what's your question?
WALLY: I'm Wally from New York, and I came down to visit Washington, D.C. and I'm staying in Montgomery County, so there.
BEGALA: God bless you. We're glad you're here. Are you worried, though? Do you feel this...
WALLY: One doesn't run in fear, and that's it, or you don't have any life.
BEGALA: Wally, I'm with you.
CARLSON: May I ask you a question, Mr. Siegel? Wait a second -- is it -- why aren't more mental health professionals, so called, such as yourself, standing up and saying the most healthy thing to do is to give the bird to fear, is to stand tall, as this man is doing, not be afraid? Why isn't that psychologically more healthy than cowering, let's say?
SIEGEL: Tucker, it may be for some people. Some people may really be able to do that, but I think this is very similar to what we had after 9/11 where you had all of these credible threats, you had all these people worried, they were in public places, you have alerts, and then you have somebody say, but go about life normally. Now, maybe some people really can do that, but I'm more concerned about the people who feel really bad about themselves because they are afraid, and I think with a man like this, and I do believe this is a new type of killer, that there is good reason for fear.
BEGALA: Kelly, but can't we take some lessons from our friends in Israel who live with lots and lots of psycho killers every single day. Today, again, a bus blown up by terrorists in Israel, and yet they go on with their lives. The buses will be running tomorrow in Israel.
MCCANN: There's two good points there. One is ambient threat. An ambient threat is an omnipresent threat. Number one, and they live with it.
The second is, to go to your comment about why aren't people standing up saying don't be fearful -- it is an unfair expectation to generally try to tell a population how to execute their courage, or how to execute their daily life because people's personal experiences have been different. This is the human condition we're dealing with right now, and in combat, many people... SIEGEL: Kelly, I couldn't agree more.
CARLSON: But isn't that a problem with children, though, because when you tell children there is a threat, and by closing their schools, you're telling them there is a threat, don't you risk really scaring them? Children don't have perspective on the magnitude of threats. So when you say there is a sniper, a killer out there, you're liable to really hurt them.
SIEGEL: Well, I think you have to deal with kids. You have to deal with their fear, and you have to make them both feel safe, but not feel there is something really wrong with them for feeling afraid.
I think that is the job of us as parents. If there was a sniper at the school, you wouldn't even be asking this question. You'd say, Of course you do that. You're just -- it's more that we don't know, we can't predict how long this is going to last. But we really have someone here that has created, similar to 9/11, a different atmosphere than Americans are used to.
So yes, we have to reassure our kids. Yes we have to make them they're safe. But I don't think we have to be too cavalier about this or let our kids feel there is something wrong with them for feeling afraid.
BEGALA: So, Kelly, you fight fear with facts, right. What are the facts that people can use? You said to interrupt the sightline, go to a gas station, maybe it puts up a tarp. What else do we need to do? We're not going to be running, zigzagging through the lumberyard.
MCCANN: Well, no. Exactly. There's two real parts of this. No. 1 is making your personal decision about how you live your life. Courage is operating proficiently in the face of fear. It is not not being fearful. That's psychosis, OK? The second part of it is...
BEGALA: This from a special forces veteran, right?
BEGALA: Special operations. So our audience knows you know a lot about courage.
MCCANN: It's well thought out stuff that men talk about in intimate moments, you know. And I mean, it's OK to be fearful. It's also OK to show other people that you're fearful, but it is also OK, on the other side, to not irrationally show courage when you shouldn't be.
So if you stand up in front of your kid and say, You shouldn't be afraid, get out here with me, it is probably not a good decision. Because if you take all of that out -- logic tells you, if you can be shot, then you should probably look over your shoulder a little bit.
CARLSON: Well absolutely. But isn't it true -- and we're almost out of time -- but isn't it true in the end, that Washington, D.C., the metro area, still has to be one of the safest places on the planet?
MCCANN: Yes. Absolutely.
SIEGERT: Statistically that's true. But I think you shouldn't minimize what Kelly just said. I think he's just dead on. That courage is something that's built, courage is something that the environment and ambience does. But courage also needs to be something that is well-thought out and reasoned.
BEGALA: Mark Siegert, thank you. That's the last word for tonight. Good advice. Kelly McCann, as always. Expert advice from you as well. Thank you both very much.
Next, it'll be your chance to "Fireback" at us and my chance to fire back at Tucker's jealous outburst about what I was doing Friday. Stay with us.
BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time now for "Fireback". Let's go to the e-mail bag.
Our first e-mail from Ron Anguiano in Lakewood, Colorado. He writes: "How many times does Tucker have to mention Streisand's name before he admits to his camouflaged infatuation for her?"
Absolutely. In fact, I happen to know before every show he listens to "Funny Girl."
CARLSON: I've seen "Yentil" 37 times. You're right, it's love, Ron.
Rik from Victoria, Canada writes: "Please, after you guys go after Iraq, come save us from our commie left government."
That's a good point. I've been arguing for weeks to add Canada to the "axis of silliness" and therefore invade.
BEGALA: Just make them the 51st state, liberate them.
CARLSON: Not a bad idea.
BEGALA: Peter Katakowski of Lake Linden, Michigan writes: "Paul, you're being to hard on Bush. He's got at least one positive quality: consistency. Sure the economy has gone down the drain, social security is going broke and seniors can't pay for their prescriptions. But he's still sticking to the same solutions he has all along: cutting taxes for the rich and bombing Iraq."
There we go. At least he's not bombing the rich and cutting tax for Iraq.
CARLSON: OK -- no, that's the Democratic members of Congress who want that.
Joyce Smith from Tampa, Florida writes: "Tucker, someone on Friday;s show suggested that you become Al Sharpton's campaign manager. I was thinking more like his running mate. Sharpton and Carlson in 2004!"
Actually, you know, there is precedent for the co-host of the right deciding who ought to be in the White House -- Pat Buchanan.
BEGALA: Pat Buchanan.
CARLSON: But no one laughed at him.
BEGALA: But you have the potential for Sharpton-esque hair, though.
CARLSON: I do. Thank you. I need a new rug. You're right.
BEGALA: Loyal viewers of this broadcast probably noticed on Friday that Tucker Carlson made a little fun of me. He said I was gone Friday because I was at the Canyon Ranch with Barbra Streisand. Well, here's where I was. You can see the Canyon Ranch cleverly disguised as South Dakota Pheasant Acres. And there's our group there. You can see Al Sharpton there on the left. There's Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda.
No, these are my hunting buddies. My brother, Dave. There's Dave, the better shot -- the better looking one.
CARLSON: Dave! That's Alan Alda, Paul.
BEGALA: And then we had the whole group. My Georgia, Alabama, South Dakota buddies killed a lot of pheasants.
And, Tucker, you're jealous. You come next year, but you'll have to wear a hunter's orange bow tie.
CARLSON: You know what, Paul? I almost believe those are real. But I can see your head poking through. It's a giant painting. The Canyon Ranch has everything, it's quite amazing.
QUESTION: I'm Joe from Orlando. I grew up in New York and near one of the Son of Sam killings. I remember a pattern emerged early that allowed people to cope with it: lover's lanes, couples, dark- haired women. That excludes a lot of people. Here there is no pattern, nobody's excluded. How do the people around here cope with this long-term?
CARLSON: Well that was, I thought, the thoughtful point that Kelly McCann made. This is ambient fear, it's everywhere. It's hard to pinpoint its source exactly because it is so random. And it seems to me that political leaders in Washington, somebody ought to stand up and say, Live your life to the extent you can without being afraid if it's possible.
BEGALA: But you know what? We are. We were the victims of a 9/11 attack when that plane hit the Pentagon, we've been the victims -- targets of anthrax attacks, now this sniper. And you know what? Washington is unbowed. I've never been more proud to live in Washington...
BEGALA: ... because of this community.
QUESTION: Hi. My name's Elan (ph). I'm a G.W. student from Ardmore (ph), Pennsylvania. And as you were saying, Paul, I spent the past year in Israel where there's loads of bombs and they have a saying there. They say, If I change anything in my life, the terrorists win. What does that mean for us? Are they winning? Is this guy -- this crazy man winning?
CARLSON: Well it seems to me the point is being fearful doesn't necessarily make you safer. In fact, there's no evidence it makes you safer at all. You can stay home and watch CNN all day, not a bad choice, but really not a full life. So being fearful actually doesn't help so why not be unfearful and unbowed? I hope people are.
BEGALA: Well, but I thought Kelly McCann, a former special operations hero, had it right. Be fearful but still conduct your life. That's his definition of courage, is operating effectively in the face of fear. We're all afraid at some level but, like I said, this community rallied and I'm proud.
From the left, I'm Paul Begala. Good night from CROSSFIRE.
CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for another edition of CROSSFIRE.
"CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins right now. See you tomorrow.
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