This so-called sniper is having an effect on several people I know. Some of them have started to act differently in public, particularly at gas stations; one of them has coined it the “Washington Shuffle.” Others are simply spending more time at home, refusing to run errands alone in open areas. And I now know one person whose coworker’s wife was killed by the shooter. All around the region, there’s a general feeling of fear and uneasiness.

I’m not unaffected myself – walking the dog makes me nervous, and I now look both ways before pumping gas. But, overall, I can’t say that my habits have changed much. I don’t consider myself a walking target and I think that there’s little I can really do to get shot or avoid getting shot. So I’m still going to run out to the store if I have to, or get gas at an empty station if I have to. The little excursions just aren’t as laid-back as they once were. And even if/when they catch the shooter, I doubt things will return entirely to normal for a while. It doesn’t take a genius to shoot people from a distance and avoid getting caught. But what are you going to do – sit at home and run out of gas, food, napkins, paper towels, or toilet paper?

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