- WASHINGTON (AP) - An elderly man enters a crowded museum carrying a rifle and begins shooting. A young man in Arkansas pulls the trigger outside a military recruiting office. Another man opens fire in a Kansas church.
Three chilling, unconnected slayings in less than two weeks. One gunman was a white supremacist, one a militant Muslim, one a fervent foe of abortion.
Each suspect had a history that suggested trouble. Each apparently was driven to act by beliefs considered by some as extreme. Each shooter fits the description of a "lone wolf" terrorist, a killer whose attack, authorities say, is harder to head off than if planned by a trained terrorist network.
Now, pay close attention to this next paragraph.
- "It could be anyone. It could be the guy next door, living in the basement of his mother's place, on the Internet just building himself up with hate, building himself up to a boiling point and finally using what he's learned," said John Perren, head of the counterterrorism branch at the FBI's Washington field office.
The narrative is continuously hammered home: everyone is a potential threat.
- Perren described the difficulty of hunting a lone wolf suspect in an interview with The Associated Press just two days before white supremacist James von Brunn allegedly shot and killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"The lone wolf is what concerns the Washington field office, what concerns the FBI the most," he said.
What concerns me is the notion that there is a level of infringement on our liberties that not only is acceptable but could possibly have an effect on preventing these sorts of attacks, which again, are nothing new. But the control grid will be clamped down on us nonetheless, and we'll be thankful for it. We have no problem being perpetual suspects, so long as we're not the ones arrested.