Sniper on the Loose: Sniper May Have Claimed 13th Victim
Aired October 22, 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: Another shooting, more hard questions. Are the police doing enough?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're doing the best that we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Should the federal government get involved?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The circumstances have not changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Is enough being done to keep people, especially children, safe?
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MOOSE: Don't misread anything into different reactions from different communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: And why can't they catch the killer? Sniper on the loose, tonight on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University: James Carville and Tucker Carlson.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.
Once again, it's anything but politics as usual here in Washington. There was another fatal shooting this morning. Everyone's operating on the assumption that the D.C. area sniper has struck again. For the very latest, let's go to command center in Montgomery County, Maryland and CNN's Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf, what you got for us?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we're standing by, James, for another statement. We're expecting the Montgomery County Police Chief, Charles Moose, to emerge any moment now and tell us something. We're not sure if it's a confirmation, for example, that the shooting this morning is in fact part of the spree that's been going on now for some 20 days, or if it's another cryptic statement that he wants to make apparently to the killer or killers.
There's been three or four of those very terse statements and only later -- earlier this afternoon Charles Moose came out and delivered what may have been his most frightening statement so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLES MOOSE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We recognize the concerns of the community and, therefore, are going to provide the exact language in the message that pertains to the threat. It is in the form of a postscript. "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That threat, that specifically worded threat was apparently contained in a letter that was left at that Ponderosa steakhouse Saturday night in Ashland, Virginia, just north of Richmond. A lengthy letter. That was the only specific excerpt that was released by the Montgomery County police chief, apparently because he believes and authorities here believe that parents in this region have a right to know the specific nature of the threat.
As you know, the Richmond Virginia schools have been closed for the past two days, but schools in Montgomery County have been opened. Parents are going to have a tough decision to make tomorrow, whether to send their kids to school on the basis of this specific threat.
We have an additional detail that are Justice Correspondent, Kelli Arena, is now reporting. A knowledgeable source telling her that also in that letter that was found at the Ponderosa steakhouse, there is a demand from the killer or killers for some $10 million. A knowledgeable source telling her that $10 million being demanded as part of this killing spree.
Much more coming up. We're standing by, James, for this statement from the Montgomery County police chief. Of course once that occurs we'll bring it to our viewers live -- James.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Wolf, it's Tucker Carlson. Going back to the first, to tell your children they are not safe, that is a horrifying thing to say. How are the residents in Montgomery County handling it?
BLITZER: Well, a lot of people are very nervous. A lot of people are wondering what they should do. Is it smart to send their kids to school? In the past, Montgomery County school authorities have said their kids are actually safer in the schools because of this lockdown. It's called code blue.
The kids are not allowed to go on the playgrounds, they are not allowed to go play outside. No soccer, no football, no cheerleading. It's been going on like that for now three weeks. They are actually safer in school than they are at home, where they might wander outside and do things out in the open.
So I guess there's two ways you could look at this decision to keep the schools open. Certainly the Richmond, Virginia school system has decided that it's better to keep the schools closed, rather than let the kids come.
CARLSON: Wolf Blitzer in Montgomery County, Maryland, thanks Wolf.
Now, to talk more about the sniper and the delicate art of communicating with the killer is security consultant and former police investigator, Joe Coffey. He's a veteran of the son of Sam case in New York. Also in New York is former Philadelphia police commissioner John Timoney. He also worked on the son of Sam case. He's now the CEO of BDA Securities. Welcome.
CARVILLE: How are you doing?
Chief, let me go to you first. Everybody that I know is speculating, you know, is it one person, two persons, a terrorist or non-terrorist. Just give us your best guess and I understand it's nothing but a guess. Is it one guy or more than one person?
JOHN TIMONEY, FMR. POLICE COMMISSIONER: No, James, I would think it's just one guy. The notion that two people could make a pact is OK. You can make a pact. It's usually a suicide pact. But for two people to act in unison and to keep a secret for now 20 days, that's almost an impossibility.
So I said originally it's probably one guy. I still think it's just one person.
CARVILLE: Do you think this one person has -- possibly has a political agenda, a terrorist or somebody that -- a Timothy McVeigh type or some Unabomber or something like that?
TIMONEY: Yes, there's been no indication of that so far. However, you don't eliminate any possibilities until you come up with something solid. But my guess is this is just some whacko, who is just hell bent on causing chaos and spreading fear really in the nation's capital and, worse than that, in the surrounding areas where the folks that work in the capital live.
CARLSON: OK. Mr. Coffey, we're awaiting, as you know, a news conference by Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose. But before that, let me ask you about the communication apparently between the sniper and the police departments. This demand for $10 million, it sounds phony to me. Does it to you? Could this really be part of an extortion attempt?
JOE COFFEY, COFFEY CONSULTANTS, NYC: Yes, I don't buy into that kill for money routine. I think this guy has an agenda and his agenda I think is based on power. It appears to me that he's working off a tremendous ego, as most of these serial killers do. In the case of David Berkowitz, he sent us communication also, never asking for money. But his communications were in response to one of the officers at a press conference calling him a woman hater.
He addressed -- in fact, the first sentence of the first letter he dropped to us said, "I am not a woman hater, I'm a monster." And he then named himself the son of Sam. These people like to communicate with the police, like to communicate with law enforcement so they can taunt you. And it's all about power. It's all about obsession.
CARLSON: So then how -- I mean how seriously to take communications from a killer? If the killer, for instance, says, give me $10 million or I'll kill again, do you take that seriously? Do you collect $10 million and leave it for him? What do you do?
COFFEY: Well, it might be a device to catch him, because how is he going to pick it up? I mean it's a ridiculous premise. They're not going to collect $10 million and give it to this guy. They're going to catch him with the help of the public, with a little luck thrown in, just like we caught Berkowitz.
The only problem I have, if this guy stops, they'll never catch him. And that's the unfortunate part about this. In order to catch this guy, whoever he is, he has to hit again. And that's tragic.
CARVILLE: Chief, go back to you again. Have I been reading too many paperbacks on airplanes or something? Usually these guys make mistakes. Is the fact that this guy's done this 13 times and apparently has not made a major mistake, does that lead you to believe that he may have some law enforcement background or some knowledge of police procedure? Anything like that?
TIMONEY: No. I think he's learning as he goes along. And he's pretty smart, but, more than that, he's well disciplined. And I think he understands the dynamic of, you know -- at any incident, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for two or five minutes there's a moment of confusion and chaos. And that's where he's making his escape.
For example, if you looked at the incident last Friday, where he killed the person while the police officer was 50 yards away, the police officer reacted as we all would, he ran to the victim. While he's gone to render first aid to the victim, the guy's walking the other direction, gets in his car, and in two or three minutes he's a mile or two miles away from there.
CARVILLE: So you think that he basically is a bright -- pretty bright person to start with?
TIMONEY: I would not underestimate him whatsoever, no. He's very disciplined.
CARVILLE: And I want to go back to -- this is something that's been brought about here in Washington about, should the FBI take this case over or should we leave it in the hands of, I guess, the Montgomery County police, who is running the taskforce right now. Should they make any structural changes in the way that law enforcement is dealing with this?
TIMONEY: The problem is this reflects -- this case -- the weakness of American law enforcement. There are 18,000 different police departments, and this is a kind of an example. It's no fault of the police department, that's the system we've chosen to live by. I said last week it was getting close last week when the FBI would have to take over. I thought Saturday, once he went 100 miles south of D.C., they have to come in and take over for two reasons.
One, to do the investigation, they have overarching authority. And then, two, the prosecution. You know right now if this guy got locked up this week, you'll have five or six or seven D.A.'s vying to prosecute this guy. If the Feds take him you can deal with the issue of change of venue much easier. Because if he is arrested, there's going to be a lot of pain and angst on the part of the victims' family with this guy trying to change lawyers, change jurisdictions, change the venue.
It's better off if you have one unified overall investigators with the locals, obviously with Chief Moose involved, clearly, but also one central prosecutor, the federal U.S. attorney.
CARLSON: Now, Mr. Coffey, take us back into the mind of this guy, whoever he is. As we said, in a minute we're going to a briefing in Montgomery County by police. Do you think these kinds of briefings are fuel for this guy's ego or feeding his need for publicity? Do they egg him on?
COFFEY: I think there's no doubt about that. He's definitely feeding off the publicity. He's feeding off the statements that are being made.
But, by the same token, it's necessary to get this information out to the public, because this crime is not going to be solved without the assistance of the public. This guy is into power, as I noted earlier, and he is definitely taunting the police. And he loves the publicity.
And the ego that he has here -- all of these serial killers, from Ted Bundy to Berkowitz to the zodiac killer to the Unabomber, all have one thing in common, if nothing else: ego.
CARVILLE: Let me ask you. Do you think that we are, in some way, contributing to what this guy is doing by having this show tonight on this subject?
COFFEY: No. No, I don't think it's -- I don't think it has any relation to it at all. This guy is going to do what he's doing regardless of the coverage he gets from this station or from any other show. He's using the police. He's using the media, but it's a catch- 22.
How do you avoid reporting this to the public? You can't. For their own safety you have to let them know what's going on. I agree with John about the fact that this whole situation here with the multi-jurisdictional problem, is a huge unwieldy problem. In the case of the son of Sam, we had sole jurisdiction. We didn't have that problem. Plus we had 13 months to work on this case. And in between incidents we had weeks and months between incidents, where we could gather our thoughts and develop patterns. It's a totally different case. These poor guys down in that area conducting this investigation are getting their brains beat in undeservedly so.
I mean these guys are really breaking their hump and they're doing a great job. But the circumstances are such that this is not a television show where we are going to solve it in an hour with time- out for commercials. It's not right to criticize the police. As far as the FBI taking over, the FBI could take over, but there's no murder statute in the U.S. code. Murder is in the jurisdiction of the local states.
So when it comes to that, they can charge him with civil rights violation, but it doesn't carry the penalty like in the state of Virginia, where you have the death penalty. When they catch this guy I hope they prosecute him in the state of Virginia.
TIMONEY: But, Jim, on the notion of federal prosecutions, as you are well aware, it's the U.S. attorney that prosecutes homicides in D.C. For example, Bob Euler (ph) used to do that for a living. And so since one of those homicides happened in D.C., I maintained that you can tie the rest of them in there. And the federal U.S. attorney's office can take over.
CARLSON: Mr. Coffey, Mr. Timoney, we're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. We're, of course, awaiting a briefing from Montgomery County, Maryland, where Police Chief Charles Moose will give us the latest, we hope, on the investigation. We'll be back in just a minute to hear more from our guests from New York. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We're going to go to Montgomery County, Maryland, where there is going to be a briefing by Police Chief Charles Moose. Here it is.
MOOSE: This is a communication. We will not be taking any questions.
In the past several days, you have attempted to communicate with us. We have researched the option you stated, and found that it is not possible electronically to comply in the manner that you requested. However, we remain open and ready to talk to you about the options you have mentioned.
It is important that we do this without anyone else getting hurt. Call us at the same number you used before to obtain the 800 number that you have requested. If you would feel more comfortable, a private post office box or another secure method can be provided.
You indicated that this is about more than violence. We are waiting to hear from you. CARLSON: Yes, OK. We go to Wolf Blitzer, who is on the scene. Wolf, can you give us some context of what that might have meant?
BLITZER: Well, clearly there's a dialogue that's going on between the killer or the killers and the Police Chief, Charles Moose. This is the fourth time, I think, that some sort of cryptic statement like this has been made. Maybe the fifth time that started yesterday earlier some statements, and now this statement that they -- he's basically saying that the system that the individual, the killer or killers, or whomever they are communicating with, wanted to attempt -- he's attempted to achieve something electronically that is not possible, that would suggest perhaps a money transfer. That's pure speculation.
We have heard from a knowledgeable source telling our Justice Correspondent, Kelli Arena, that in the letter that was left at the scene of the Ponderosa steakhouse there was a demand for some $10 million. It's not possible to electronically achieve the -- what the person wants. But they are open to other ways.
They are asking that this person continue the dialogue, continue to call to that number that he left. Also, they are trying make available some sort of 800 number. But they clearly want this dialogue to go forward, and the police chief making it clear, making an appeal to this individual that no more violence is necessary to try to achieve what they are trying to achieve, obviously.
So it's once again very cryptic. We're reading between the lines. Very unclear what exactly is going on, but certainly it's very important the police chief making these unusual appearances here in Montgomery County trying to get some further dialogue, some further communication continuing with those individuals.
CARLSON: OK. Wolf Blitzer, in Montgomery County, thanks for the update, Wolf. We appreciate it.
Now, Mr. Timoney, you heard, I think, what Chief Moose said. Presumably, it's important that he communicate this information to the killer over the public airwaves. It's got to be, right? Because this does look odd.
TIMONEY: Yes, and the only thing I can assume is that he threatened, unless I hear from you, and so now he's hearing from him. And he's asking, no more violence. You know, we can continue the dialogue. But it certainly was cryptic, but clearly it was in response to a communication, probably a threat, you better get back to my by x time or I'm going to do so and so.
And of course he got back to him and said it's not possible, this electronic transfer, whether it's money or something else. And then the notion that it isn't all about violence, well, I mean that's hard to believe. If not, then it's about money or politics.
CARVILLE: Mr. Coffey, what did you learn from this statement that Chief Moose read? What should we be looking for? What did we learn here? COFFEY: Well, I don't think we really learned anything. We're not privy to the whole text of the letter that was written, I'm assuming directly to Chief Moose. We don't know all the details in there, we don't know what's being taken out of context and what's being disseminated from these things. So I can't really comment on it because I think it would be irresponsible to do so.
CARVILLE: OK. Thank you, sir.
CARLSON: OK. We're going to take a break. Mr. Timoney, Mr. Coffey, thank you both very much. We appreciate it.
We'll be back in a minute. We'll get some reaction from our audience, from others to this news as it's developing on CROSSFIRE. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: We're talking with former New York police investigator Joe Coffey and former Philadelphia police commissioner John Timoney.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Thank you. We have a question from the audience. Yes, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm Janeel Glazier (ph) from Portland, Oregon. It seems to me that all the profiling and hypotheses are just sheer guesswork. Nobody really knows who or what. Why is terrorism consistently ruled out when the killer's pattern is so random, yet very disciplined and strategically organized?
CARLSON: Mr. Coffey, is this like terrorism to you? Are we ruling it out too early?
COFFEY: Well, earlier on I thought it might be terrorism. I thought there was a possibility. But I think in view of the fact that this guy is communicating with the police, specifically Chief Moose, I don't think that's a viable alternative any longer.
As far as psychological profiling is concerned, that's a lot of nonsense. All that is, is guesswork. It doesn't do any good. It's never solved any case. They talk about geographical profiling, also, if that's what the woman was referring to.
Geographical profiling is nothing more than good old-fashioned police detective work. Pounding the pavement, getting out there, developing patterns and doing such. This myth that a psychological profiling is a tool to help law enforcement solve these cases is just that, a myth.
CARVILLE: Chief, do you want to react to what the woman asked, the observation she made?
TIMONEY: Well, first of all, I don't think terrorism has been ruled out. It's still -- maybe there's a 10 or 20 percent chance. But you have to go with what you have. The facts are now that there's no indication of terrorism. And this would seem to fit the profile of some psychopathic killer.
You have to go with that. He's well disciplined, smart, he's now communicating with the police. That's not normally what a terrorist does. What a terrorist does is they do a terrorist act, whether the IRA or al Qaeda, and then they send a message after it.
CARLSON: OK. We have another question from our audience -- yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Erin Binner (ph). I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio. And I was wondering, how is the investigation dealing with the cross-jurisdiction and how would the FBI be useful in that respect?
CARLSON: Well, Mr. Timoney, I think you said a moment ago you thought it would be. Why hasn't the FBI taken over, do you think?
TIMONEY: Well, they are there right now. But, you know, they are using a task force approach, which early on was fine. And this is no reflection on any of the chiefs, Chief Moose or anybody else. But right now it's into five or seven jurisdictions and probably growing if he doesn't get caught.
And what you really need is overarching authority, i.e. the FBI, to assume this investigation, the responsibility for the investigation. It doesn't wipe out the locals. The locals still have to participate. But you have the FBI with all their resources coming to bear, and then at the back end, when it comes to prosecution, you have the U.S. attorney's office that can prosecute this case.
CARLSON: Well, Mr. Coffey, it seems to me looking at this, the killer apparently didn't communicate directly with the police until a number of killings into his spree. How are we certain these communications are actually from the killer and not from some copycat?
COFFEY: Well, there's little code words in there that only the killer and the police officers investigating the case know. In the case of David Berkowitz, he started his killing spree in July of 1976. We didn't hear from him until May of 1977. So he didn't communicate right away either.
You've got to remember we are talking about a three-week period here. Back there we had 13 months. So the communication is not profound if it doesn't come right away. It took us a long time before we got communication from Berkowitz.
CARVILLE: I want to jump in because I have a question for both of you because you're both law enforcement professionals. How big a problem is fatigue getting to be here among the law enforcement people here, both the people, the Chief Moose and all of the other chiefs around? I live in the city of Alexandria and I've talked to a couple of guys. I mean, is this a factor here, going to be a factor pretty soon?
TIMONEY: No, it's not going to affect the investigation. These are tough guys and girls. They are out there. But what it does, it frays on the nerves. And so there's a tendency to get short tempered, and every once in a while if you get some inane question from a reporter, there's a tendency to strike out. But the fatigue is not going to get to these guys.
CARVILLE: We're going to try stay away from the...
CARLSON: I know you didn't mean that, Mr. Timoney. So we're not going to hold it against you.
TIMONEY: Certainly not to James Carville.
CARLSON: Well, we have a highly uninane question from the audience. Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Megan Gates (ph), and I'm a student here in D.C. And I was wondering, isn't it possible that the large amount of information that the media is releasing is actually helping the sniper evade police?
CARLSON: What do you think of that, Mr. Coffey? Was this a problem in the son of Sam case? Was he keeping up with "The New York Post" and getting away as a result?
COFFEY: Well, as I said, you need the media in cases like this. But there was a problem with the media in the son of Sam case. For example, we developed a strategy during that case to shut down bridges because, at the beginning, up until the very last incident, he hid in the Bronx in Queens, which where you travel by bridge.
So we had a strategy to shut down these bridges, and for some reason it was leaked to the press. And Berkowitz moved his place of operation for his last kill to Brooklyn.
When I interviewed Berkowitz, I asked him about that. Why did you move to Brooklyn? He said, "I read the newspapers and I watch television also. I knew you were shutting the bridges down so my chances of being caught were increased tremendously, so I moved to Brooklyn, where I knew you weren't."
So the media overall helps you, but there are little incidents like this -- and this turned out to be a big incident, because he went and killed somebody in another borough that we hadn't covered. So it's a catch 22.
TIMONEY: In this case here, what Joe just said is correct. And that applies to that surveillance plane. I mean that should have never have gotten out there.
COFFEY: That's right. It never should have got out there.
TIMONEY: And, of course, as a result, you saw him go down 100 miles south of D.C.
CARLSON: OK. Unfortunately, we are out of time. Mr. Timoney, Joe Coffey, thank you both very much for joining us.
COFFEY: Thank you. CARLSON: Next, Connie Chung brings the latest from the sniper investigation in a "CNN News Alert."
Later, coping with fear and loathing in Washington and beyond. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Coming up, "Fireback." The Sharpton/Carlson 2004 ticket is gaining momentum, of course.
But next, more on the sniper case and the culture of fear. We'll talk to a man who wrote a book about why Americans are afraid of the wrong things.
We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you from the George Washington University here in Downtown Washington.
This afternoon, authorities confirm that the letter found at the scene of Saturday's sniper attack near Richmond contained the message, quote, "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time."
Richmond area schools were closed for the second straight day today, but may be open tomorrow.
Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, however, stayed open today despite this morning's shooting there.
Are Richmond officials being overcautious or are they taking unnecessary risks in Maryland?
With us here in Washington to discuss fear, irrational and otherwise, our CNN security analyst Kelly McCann and Court TV anchor Catherine Crier, who is a former judge and author of the book, "The Case Against Lawyers."
And joining us in Los Angeles, is USC sociology professor, Barry Glassner. He's the author of "The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things."
CARVILLE: Mr. Glassner, I am the father of a seven year old and a four year old, both of who -- one is in the second grade and one attends some kind of a pre-school thing.
CARVILLE: I heard that -- well, I don't care what you call it -- what do they do? You go there and blow snot all day, I guess.
CARVILLE: Anyway. I read what this note said. And frankly, I'm scared. Tell me why I shouldn't be.
BARRY GLASSNER, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR: Well, the letter writer would have been accurate if he or she had said that no one's child is 100 percent safe anywhere and never has been. And that's the situation now.
Listen, if I were there, I had children there, I'd be very afraid too. But the fact of the matter is, that the probability of any kid, the likelihood any kid is going to be affected by this is very, very low. And why give in to this lunatic? Why not tell your children that they live in a safe world, which they do? Why not recognize that the face dangers all of the time. It's increased slightly now. It feels like it's increase tremendously.
But it really isn't.
CARLSON: Now Kelly McCann, it seems to me that children are probably less safe at home where they're likely to wander around the neighborhood than at school where they're all in a single place under the eye of people who are there to watch them.
KELLY MCCANN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: All of that is true. What everyone has said is true, with the exception of the element of chance. It is one thing to stand up and say, "You know, I'm not fearful," before you've run up against it .
The test is not before the bullets fly. The test is after the bullets fly and you recognize your own mortality. Then, how you perform going forward. It's the ungovernable human element. And that's what people are up against right now. To reduce it to some kind of very logical kind of thing. You can't. It is emotional.
CARLSON: But you do want to do this safest thing, don't you Catherine Crier, for...
CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV: But you're also calling on society whether it's the president standing up there or others in times of turmoil, to say, We must move forward as a society, because what this guy is saying, I think is not targeting all the kids, but saying You are not safe. You're kids aren't safe. We've been able to pick off the bus driver and the guy on the lawnmower.
And if we respond to that, by all climbing in the house and locking the door, then he has succeeded way beyond 13.
CARVILLE: But, OK, we are not moving forward. We're sitting here one hour with two weeks to go before an election. We're spending one hour the entire CROSSFIRE talking about this. No politics, no nothing.
CRIER: But people with the real world are getting on with their lives.
CARVILLE: No, but people in the Washington area are consumed with this. You go and that's what people...
CRIER: Well, I don't blame them.
CARVILLE: ... talk about and everything else. But I mean, this guy has had a significant impact on the way those of us that live here operate.
Wouldn't you say?
CRIER: Well, of course it's had a significant impact. The question is in going forward, do you cancel all of the schools in the 500 mile radius here? Of course you don't.
Do you try and preserve those children with extra police, and extra security measures and keep theme functioning in somewhat a real world? You do.
CARVILLE: Let me go around. Richmond schools closed yesterday as a result of this note. Good decision or bad decision, Mr. Glassner?
GLASSNER: I don't know about yesterday, but it's a very bad decision for the long haul, that's for sure. Kids need to be out. They need to be playing with their friends. They need to be getting exercise, and especially they need to be getting educated.
Look, inside homes, 2,500 kids die or unintentional injuries every year. When you keep them at home, are you really protecting them? It's not so clear. If there's an eminent danger, of course you should do it.
Should you do it over the long haul? Absolutely not, and it just plays into this kind of terror.
CARLSON: But Kelly McCann, I mean this guy apparently wants $10 million, but what he really wants is to scare people. Isn't this fear...
MCCANN: No, he doesn't. Tucker, his...
CARLSON: No? Then what is his motivation?
MCCANN: ... target is not these people or us. His target is the person who can give the funds to him. He's using the people's fear to push officials to say, "What else can we do that will make him go away?" The people won't stand for it.
CARLSON: So you really think this is a profit-making operation here? That's the aim of these killings?
MCCANN: This is what it indicates.
Now I'll go also to Catherine and say that you're right if -- don't close the school, but take appropriate measures. Put up vision blinds.
CRIER: Sure, sure.
MCCANN: Put up vision blinds so that the buses pass behind the vision blinds and make the shot what would be a very good shot, an ambiguous shot. He does not want to appear, she doesn't, they don't want to appear weak.
So if I reduce the accuracy of the shot to an ambiguous shot where I man not kill someone, suddenly you're not as powerful.
CRIER: Well, that's a very rational, logical thing to do without panicking behind closed doors.
But I would be interested in your thoughts, given the fact that we had 13 shootings before asking for money, and certainly Berkowitz (ph) went a long time before communicating with police. Are you satisfied that that was the initial motive? Or do you think that may have grown out of the response?
CARVILLE: I've got...
MCCANN: It's hard to...
CARVILLE: Maybe I live in a time warp here, but my little second grader is going to go to school and there's going to be these black curtains as she gets out of the bus or out of the car. And she is going to say, Gee, this is something different here. There used to be a swing set there.
CARVILLE: And that's not going to confuse her or upset her or scare her?
MCCANN: I'm not concerned about confusing her or upsetting her.
CARVILLE: But I'm her daddy, you know.
MCCANN: I'm a dad as well, and I could explain that black curtain, but I can't talk to a dead kid.
That's the bottom line.
CARLSON: Mr. Glassner, what do you think, I don't know if you're an actual shrink, but play one on TV for us.
Do you think that harms children, scaring them. I mean, is there an actual affect on children when they get afraid like that? GLASSNER: I'm not an actual shrink. I'm an actual sociologist though, and it definitely harms children to scare them that way. And just to go back to the previous comment, if you want to protect your kids, go buy something to lock the guns away in the home. Go buy a better bike helmet for them. Go buy another smoke alarm. All of those things are going to do a lot more for them.
And what you should be doing...
MCCANN: Statistically, you're right, but put in the human emotion we're dealing with.
GLASSNER: I'm putting in the...
MCCANN: Not statistics.
GLASSNER: OK, so don't we all just go crazy. Anytime we get worried about...
MCCANN: So let's stop driving...
GLASSNER: ... anything, just go with the emotion. You know, that you don't really believe that.
MCCANN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) needless death, let's all stop driving.
CRIER: No, I think what you said is right though. We've got to -- we've got to move forward. And we've got to behave as normally as we can, taking those obvious precautions. But because one statistical event occurs or even 13 in a nation of 270 million people, you don't bring things to a halt.
Just like when 19 hijackers turned the country upside down, we don't give away all of civil liberties because 19 people affected us.
CARLSON: Well, we're going to take the first step toward normally and take a quick commercial break. And we'll be right back.
Coming up in "Fireback," a viewer's plea to change the subject. We will, but not yet.
In a minute, we'll ask our guests what should be done about Halloween if the sniper isn't caught by then?
We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Welcome back.
Because of the sniper, people in the D.C. area are already starting to worry about Halloween. Some events and festivals have been canceled already. Others are moving indoors.
We're talking to court TV anchor Catherine Crier, CNN's security analyst Kelly McCann, and in Los Angeles, sociologist professor Barry Glassner.
CARLSON: Catherine Crier, I hate to sound like Donahue here, what do we tell the children -- but what do we tell the children.
CRIER: Oh, my Lord, I don't have any children.
CARLSON: What would you tell the children, if you had children.
CRIER: What would I tell the children? I would tell the children that there is a bad guy out there. Most people are very good. There are bad people in the world. And when we find out there, we take precautions. We try and be careful, but we do not allow them to intimidate us into truly changing our lives.
So we're going to talk together. We're going to go behind the shield at the gas station. I'm going to make sure you get in class. You're not going to go out to recess for awhile. But it's only until we can capture this bad guy.
And try and make it reasonable and honest with them without terrifying them. There's no way a child who's even five years old and can watch television doesn't know there's bad people out there.
What you're trying to do is just to have them think about it logically without getting terrified and also teach them that they have to move on with their lives when these things happen.
Because I think the destruction to a child's psychic when they think everything is over every time a bad event occurs is devastating.
CARVILLE: I want to give everybody a chance to react, but I just want to add one more thing as a father of two children here, particularly my seven year old. We had an event September 11 last year, and this is on top of this. I mean, these kids are getting -- and Tucker and I's daughters go to the same class and same school. And one of the children's father was killed in the Pentagon. So and they're aware of that. They're aware of this.
I mean, it's gotta be having some affect on these kids.
CRIER: I remember going to sleep when I was little, imaging that any moment the bombers were going to come over from Vietnam. And I didn't know where Vietnam was. And...
CARVILLE: I thought they were coming from Russia. Man, you know, what I mean. I was going to go for shelter.
CRIER: There you go.
CARLSON: What were you saying, Kelly McCann? You've got two kids.
MCCANN: What's being described here is ambient threat. I mean, if you look at the ever present threat, well, the truth is just as the sociologist has said, you are always at risk, always, always. It's just that people don't realize it. You look at this sniper problem. Now you look at maybe a potential war with Iraq. Now you say the North Koreans have nuclear weapons. Where does it stop?
So at some point, everybody in this room has to decide, What am I personally OK with? That's what this is about. And you can't remove the human element.
CARVILLE: Mr. Glassner, to give you a chance to respond. This is your area of expertise. Give us some enlightenment, please.
GLASSNER: Well, with regard to Halloween, I think that you should buy one of your kids a bald wig and the other one a big bow tie and you should send them out and have a party. And I'm serious.
GLASSNER: And I'm serious.
CARLSON: That would scare people.
GLASSNER: That will scare people.
Maybe it will scare the sniper. But look seriously, if you're nervous...
GLASSNER: ... it ought to. If you're nervous about sending your kids out, then organize a party at home. There have been periods in the past when people have needed to do that. Or organize a party at the school or at the church or wherever you're happy with.
But go ahead and do that. Don't lock them away. Don't tell them that something completely out of control is going on and they can't enjoy their Halloween. That's ridiculous and it's unfair to the kid. And it's bad for the community. And all it does is just give into this fear.
CARLSON: OK. We have questions from the audience. First up, yes.
QUESTION: My name is Luke Cavelle (ph) from Burlington, Vermont. Information has recently been released about the sniper threatening the lives of children. Do you think it's a good idea that they release this information and strike fear in the U.S. citizens?
CARLSON: Catherine Crier, you host a show. Have you been striking fear in the hearts of people?
CRIER: We do that everyday.
No, I think they had to. Can you imagine if the police didn't release that one line, and a child was shot and the public then found out that they had that kind of advance notice and didn't give us the warning? That would be devastating. The police could virtually be run out of town. They had to give that line, because they basically proceeded it by saying, "We can't ensure your safety all of you adults out there."
And I think it was necessary to say, "And you must not only vigilant about yourselves, but now be vigilant about your children."
CARLSON: OK. Yes, we have another question.
QUESTION: The Zodiac Killer in San Francisco terrorized the city for a long time and threatened to kill many children. It seems like we've got a parallel situation here. How long do we tell our kids that the stuff you're telling them to not worry?
CARLSON: Yes, Mr. Glassner, that's a good question. I mean, the Zodiac threatened to shoot kids as they came off the school bus. He of course was never caught. I mean, how long do you respond to a threat like this?
GLASSNER: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know you were coming to me. Basically, what you do is you keep reassuring them that they live in a very safe world because in fact they do. And that can go on for a very long time. The important point about that, by the way, is that that killer was never caught. And it stopped. That may happen in this case.
Let's hope not. Let's hope this guy this stopped. But the message to the children doesn't change. The message to -- especially young children -- is they live in a generally safe world. There's some bad people out there. And we're going to let them have their childhood and get on with their schooling.
CARVILLE: That's something I want to discuss. Suppose this guy just stops. Is it possible? Does he...
CRIER: Sure. It is possible, and it has happened...
CRIER: ... in the past. And with the limited amount of forensics right now, you still have the hope that someone might find out and turn him in. But given the evidence we have right now, this person could walk away, and it would be very, very difficult to capture.
MCCANN: The biggest problem that this has presented is that other people who dissimilar interests are seeing how easy it is to reap this havoc.
CRIER: That's right. And it's very frightening.
MCCANN: That is the bigger problem. The bigger problem is that people who now thought, Geez, wouldn't it be good if I could commit something and create a problem, -- al Qaeda, someone else like that -- not involved with this maybe at all. They now know they could. That's the bigger problem.
CARLSON: But isn't that more reason then for society in this case, our community here in Washington, to say actually We're not going to change the way we live because doing so provides motivation for...
GLASSNER: Yes, that's right. That's exactly right.
MCCANN: Yes, but you can't yell at somebody loud enough to make them courageous. You cannot force it on them.
CRIER: Yes, but...
CARLSON: Just one thing that we were talking about before the show. The Los Angeles Times this morning describes commuters in Washington "Bunny hopping or duck walking or zigzag walking to Metro stops."
MCCANN: That is ridiculous. That is ridiculous.
CRIER: But they're still walking to the Metro stops. They're still going to work. And that in itself...
CARLSON: No, no wait. If you're duck walking to a Metro stop, is that really going to the Metro?
CRIER: Well, if you get on the Metro and get to work, I think it -- it doesn't matter how you got there.
CARVILLE: Professor, did you see that in your home town newspaper about the -- you know, it was like zigzag, people learning to zigzag tactics to get to the Metro, you know, kind of roll.
GLASSNER: It's kind of wild. You know, I go agree with Tucker about we need to send that message. We need to say from Washington and from elsewhere, We're not going to fall for this stuff. If you copy it, we're not going to go out of our minds. We're not going to lock ourselves away in our home. And having agreed with Tucker, and this is CROSSFIRE, right? I've got to say the other side. We also have to give the police some of what they're looking for, what they've been asking for, and that's to be able to trace these bullets and trace these weapons.
We've got to do that also.
CARLSON: OK. We're almost out of time. Give you each a quick last work.
Kelly McCann? MCCANN: The answer is in history, folks. I mean, if you look at the individual heroism and courage that has existed before you sued that as a model, you drive on. Don't let this stop you.
CARLSON: Judge Crier?
CRIER: That's right. And these things have happened throughout history. They will happen again. We go on with our lives. And I think there's a good likelihood the police will get this guy.
CARLSON: OK. Thank you all very much. Mr. Glassner, Catherine Crier, Kelly McCann, thank you.
Next, we'll open the discussion to all subjects, including Martha Stewart. And participants, get ready to Fireback.
We'll be back.
CARVILLE: And now for one of our favorite parts of the show, and the chance that we give you to tell us what you thing, "Fireback." So let's got to the board and see what we've got here tonight -- Tucker.
CARLSON: After you.
CARVILLE: All right. "Considering that the mid-term election is only days away, I think you could focus on something other the sniper. The sniper situation is tragic, but frankly, not the germane to me here in the Midwest. Get back to politics." D.J. from Midland, Michigan.
DJ, there's nobody in America that wants to get to politics more than I do. But this is a big story, and the powers that be at CNN want us to do a full hour. And you know what, I hate to say this, but I agree with them. I think this topic deserved the full hour, even in this election cycle.
CARLSON: OK, I tend to agree. Speaking of politics, Ali Fillipowicz from Doylestown, Pennsylvania writes in about our efforts to push Al Sharpton into running for president. "Sharpton and Carlson in 2004 -- are you hiring campaign workers yet? When you do, I'll be the first in line. In the meantime, where can I send my donation?
Ali, unfortunately network rules prevent me from soliciting money on the air. Though of course, in this case, I would if I could.
We may run.
CARVILLE: You all may be the hair ticket.
CARLSON: I think we could be. Al Sharpton.
CARVILLE: The hair -- I mean, both of you all, you all got some crops, I'll tell you that right now.
CARLSON: Is the perfect Democrat. I just love that guy.
CARVILLE: You know, what I think -- go ahead.
All right. "So much for honor and dignity in the White House. Bush is going to find out his lying about the war, the deficit. Insider trading hurts Americans far more than when Clinton was not entirely forthcoming about the some silly girlfriend." Brian A. is from New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Brian, you're a genius. Go in line and get the Washington Post this morning. There's a front page story about how many lies this president. This president has lied more in less than two years in office than Bill Clinton and Al Gore lied their lifetime.
CARLSON: It's kind of a classic Democrat though. Didn't you love that?
Dismissing a human being as quote, "That silly girlfriend." Now what are feminists...
CARVILLE: That's right. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CARLSON: "Charging Martha Stewart would most women's wildest dream. Finally we learn that the woman who makes perfect souffles and annoying grins as she tiles her bathtub isn't perfect after all. Enjoy teaching Home Ec 101 behind bars, Martha," writes an extremely bitter Barbara Peck of Detroit, Michigan.
Whew, a little angry, Barbara Peck, hmmm?
CARVILLE: I don't know. I think Barbara is being singled out, but you know, I kind of like her.
CARLSON: All right, yes ma'am, a question.
QUESTION: Hi, I'm Cheryl Cook-Calio (ph). I'm a teacher in Fremont, California. I arrived her on Saturday with 13 junior and senior high school students from Fremont. And what I'd like you to answer this, is realistically, how do you guard against random acts of violence? If they're truly random, how do you protect oneself? How does anyone protect oneself?
CARLSON: By definition, you can't, which is why I want to thank you doubly for coming to our excellent city. I hope you're not fearful here. You don't statistically have reason to be. And good for you.
CARVILLE: And thank you for coming to the show. You're a remarkable person. We're honored to have you in the audience.
CARLSON: This is a safe show though as shows go.
QUESTION: Hi, Johnny Light (ph) from Bath, England. And I was just wondering, do you believe the recent sniper attacks have strengthened or weakened the cause for tighter gun control laws?
CARVILLE: Probably temporarily strengthened it, but we've been through things like this before. And America is pretty divided. I'm going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to say that.
CARLSON: And despite Democratic attempts to leverage the death of others for political gain, probably hasn't done much good for the -- the debate.
CARVILLE: Oh, yeah.
From the left, I'm James Carville. Good night for 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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