profiling the maryland sniper
Cut on the Bias has a thoughtful analysis of what's known about the perpetrator of a series of sniper-type shootings in the Washington, DC area. She observes that the killer or killers exhibited characteristics of each of the three general types of multiple murderes--serial killers, mass murderers and spree killers--while falling cleanly into none.
...the killer is wanting to disrupt a familiar place, that means something to him, like a mass murderer. He is spacing his killings like a spree killer, but the killings seem to be without any kind of purpose related either to the victims or the specific locations (except the community as a whole). The victims are chosen opportunistically, like a mass murderer, but are picked off one at a time without harm to others nearby, like a serial killer.
Nevertheless, she offers the following profile of the shooter (she doubts there's more than one):
Here is my guess, some of it based on the statistical probabilities for this type of killer: I think it’s a man, between 25 and 40, most likely over 30, who is white and has military or paramilitary training. He is very intelligent but likely holds a blue-collar or trade kind of job, where he is accustomed to engaging things physically. He is something of a loner, but relatively functional socially – he may be married, or have a girlfriend, but it won’t be a warm relationship. He feels cheated by society in some way – either by a specific thing that triggered his action, or more generally feeling that he hasn’t gotten “his”. I think there has been a triggering event – lost his job, his girl, something. The manner of his killing seems to be designed to send a message. The question is, to whom?
The police tip line is (240) 777-2600
Love the new look, by the way.
Update: I agree with Glenn Reynolds on this one: Susanna's profile is superior to the one a CNN guest served up.