People all over the East Coast, indeed all across the United States, were breathing a sigh of relief Thursday. Police arrested two suspects in connection with the series of sniper shootings that have left 10 people dead and several more wounded. Ballistics tests performed on a rifle found with the suspects proved that it was the weapon used in 11 of the sniper attacks around the Washington, D.C. area.
So, apparently, ends one of the largest investigations in United States history, involving literally dozens of police and governmental agencies crossing several different jurisdictions. And all speaking with a single voice, more or less.
Sure, in the end, there was a lot of luck involved in the final arrest (a trucker called in when he spotted a vehicle that matched the police description), and the primary suspect doesn’t completely match the profile (although he is a war veteran and an expert marksman). But it was good to see so many governmental agencies placing ego and departmental differences aside in the pursuit of a common goal.
And that goal was a righteous one, one that we could all agree with. It was to get a madman off the streets so he wouldn’t kill again. If only the rest of the world could be so simple, so black and white.
But it isn’t. Too often it is full of shades of gray.
Half a world away in Moscow, Chechen rebels have taken over a theatre holding hundreds of people hostage, including three Americans. The rebels are demanding an end to the war in Chechnya. Here, as well as in the debate over whether the U.S. should take military action against Iraq, the shades of gray again intercede, and the compass of morality fails to point out the one true way.
It is good to see, though, that when a truly bad guy appears, whom everyone can agree has no redeeming qualities or cause, that our government will go to whatever lengths to apprehend him. Now if only they could catch Osama…