That's the breakdown. Whatever their motives, Time sold
the D.C. sniper hunt as news. Newsweek sold it as entertainment.
It's as if the hack mentality decides there's not enough
to the story without a little "help," something
sexy, something edgy, something Zodiac, something Summer
of Sam a little story meeting
like the studio suits in Altman's "The Player,"
riffing up a sexy "Stand and Deliver."
And so what the carrion press rushes to market is a
nakedly anti-humanistic effort to franchise the newest
national disaster as vulgar, straight-to-video B-movie
Of course the Tarot card turns out to be about the
least vital angle on this whole horror show. But the
question remains: what kind of a news organization puffs
up a coward killer's half-baked homicidal fantasies?
"Hey, wouldn't it be 'edgy' if we took the killer's
side? I mean, fuck the good guys, the killer's the one
they want to know about, right? He's the guy, right?
So what do we know? He shoots people from a distance
and he leaves a Tarot card with some mental case type
slogans My God, that's it! That's the angle!
He's not just the Beltway Sniper. He's The Tarot Card
Killer! Huh? Do I got it or do I got it? I should be
this guy's agent! How the hell do I do it? Sweet mother
of market share, let's get paid!"
sadly, there's the White House. That's where George
W. Bush flack Ari Fleischer recently uncorked some rhetoric
so corrosively radical you wonder whether you're hearing
U.S. foreign policy or some kind of badly translated
tirade from a drunken North Korean general.
"The price of a bullet costs less for the Iraqi
people than war." That's according to Fleischer,
ever a friend to Baghdad's man on the street. Hey Ari,
do you realize several hundred Chicago businessmen got
sent up the river on racketeering charges for saying
less about their enemies on wiretap than you just did
in front of a hundred microphones? Either way it's a
little insulting to hear solicitations for political
assassinations coming from the office where Lincoln
and JFK made American history with their command of
the English language.
Still, let's give credit for staying consistent on
one thing. For the truly cynical everything comes down
a price, and
a bullet is admired as is the ultimate problem-solving
device of all time. At this point it's barely a stretch
to say the Republicans resemble the mutants "Beneath
the Planet of the Apes" worshiping the Doomsday
Bomb. Can't you just see Cheney peeling off that rubber
mask? Even more grim was the spectacle of the ailing
Charlton Heston clutching a musket and aping the mantra
"From my cold dead hands" for the hooting
head-cases of the NRA. Meanwhile funerals and the manhunt
for a sniper.
rifle? The Bushmaster. The perpetrators? Very likely
include a homeless former military man, not so different
from the small army of not-so-heroic nutcases the US
plans to release back into civilian life after we've
used up their limited sanity securing "regime change"
in Iraq. A dozen more McVeighs, a few hundred new wife-killings
and a quarter million new case of Gulf War disease,
coming right up. I guess that's the cost of warring
Now the red phones are ringing. The master class are
demanding a retraction. There's no the connection between
George W. Bush's imperial gangster rhetoric and Newsweek's
beloved "Tarot Card Killer."
Maybe so, but it was Fate who drew the connection.
Fleischer made his notorious "price of a bullet"
declaration on October 2nd. That was the day the DC
sniper, a bullet hole where his soul should be, began
living out a military fantasy of his own.