One of the biggest creations of the media
in the 21st Century
. Keep in mind, we're talking about the same century that has brought us Jessica Lynch
, Kobe Bryant's accuser
, Scott Peterson
and upped the Michael Jackson
level higher than it's ever been before.
During the DC Sniper attacks in October 2002, which left ten dead, three critically injured and forced over five million people living in the DC Metro Area into a media fueled frenzy, Montgomery County, Maryland's chief of police Charles Moose was labeled as the "hero" of the entire situation.
Yet although Moose had kept his jurisdiction relatively crime free and had 27 years experience with the Portland, Oregon police force, he handled the entire DC Sniper case absolutely horribly.
Throughout the month, Moose held press conferences that were picked up by every news network in America from CNN to MSNBC. He did "heroic" things such as encourage everyone to be on the look out for white trucks and vans, thus holding up traffic all over the D.C area for everyone who owned a white truck or van. All because one guy someplace said he thought he maybe saw one Chevy Astrovan driving a bit fast after one of the attacks. He joined in the media by tossing around terms like psycho madman and al Qaeda when discussing the criminals, possibly only to push the silly paranoia up even more for all the cameras around him. He blasted the media that created him in the first place for revealing "too much" information about the search for the killer, then went under the spotlight and read chilling selections from the letters the killers wrote. Things such as "Your children are not safe" and "I am god" that would elevate the region's fear. While in reality, more people died in car accidents in the D.C area than from the sniper in October 2002.
Then, on October 9th, 2002, Moose made this statement to the media. In which he bashed the very people that created his fame for revealing too much information, and came across sounding like an overly strict elementary school teacher:
'I have not received any message that the citizens want Channel 9 or The Washington Post or any other media outlet to solve this case, if they do, then let me know. We will go and do other police work, and we will turn this case over to the media, and you can solve it."
Not to mention Moose was upset because they released the information of the first clue found. That first clue was a tarot card for Death. Chilling? Oh yeah. Ratings boosting? Oh yeah! Information that was detrimental to the case if released? Absolutely not.
And just when it seemed like the level of artificial fear couldn't be heightened anymore, Moose found a way. On October 15th, 2002, the day after a woman was killed in my home jurisdiction of Fairfax County, Virginia, at the request of Moose and other officials, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the deployment of a U.S. Army intelligence plane to help find the sniper.
Moose sat around while bloodhounds ran around D.C area woods, Interstate 95 was held up by massive roadblocks and our Army's planes swooped around the region. Yet the unknown sniper still managed to kill two more people around Richmond, Virginia.
Then, on October 24th, 2002, the police force of Frederick County, Maryland, over 50 miles from Moose's "war room", found two men, John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo sleeping in their 1990 blue Chevrolet Caprice off Interstate 70.
And let me tell you, you'd be shocked how a Chevy Caprice looks absolutely nothing like a Chevy Astrovan.
However, after hearing that somebody else's police force had caught the killers, and not his own, Moose made a statement that the public should not assume Muhammad was involved in any of the shootings. And while a cautionary statement would have been fine, I think the rifle of the same caliber used in the attacks right next to a scope and a tripod in the backseat were conclusive enough evidence. Not to mention the hole cut out in the trunk of the car, just big enough to fit the rifle.
Finally, the sniper had been caught, and no thanks to the bumbling investigative techniques of Charles Moose. Yet, he wasn't done quite yet. For Moose felt the urge to cash in on his fame.
After being Time Magazine’s Person of the Week and weeks of favorable interviews on news networks and various morning talk shows, Moose started writing a book based on his personal "heroics" during the sniper case. Yet, they were some issues he had overlooked. On March 3rd, 2003, he was probed by the Montgomery County Ethics Commission for actions which violated strict ethics laws barring county officials from profiting from their work. On June 19th, 2003, Moose resigned from his position as police chief, mainly because he couldn't publish his book legally as the police chief of Montgomery County. On September 15th, 2003, Dutton Books published Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper. Only weeks later, Moose pocketed character likeness royalties when the USA Cable Television Network aired a film titled "D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear" that had three time Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominated actor Charles Dutton playing Moose.
Now I don't know about you, but I have little respect for a man created entirely by the media who puts and keeps the entire region I live in unnecessarily on edge for weeks, follows red herrings all over in a lame investigation to catch a killer, ends up not being responsible in the slightest for the capture of the killers, then resigns from his duty of protecting the innocent and upholding the law to go make some blood money and then retires for life.
I know a hero when I see one. Charles Moose is not a hero.