04 October 2007

White Box Truck

Five years ago, yesterday, marked the beginning of the sniper terror that briefly plagued DC. I raise this not to bring you down (like you need more things bringing you down) but because when I think of this era, I immediately think of white box trucks. They are forever linked in my mind. Early on in the frenzied investigation they saw a white box truck at one of the scenes and speculated that the killer was in a white box truck. So everyone was on alert for white box trucks. The problem was that every other vehicle was, and still is, a white box truck. There were almost as many white box trucks as references to white box trucks in this paragraph.

So, I thought, if you wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible, you couldn't do better for a getaway vehicle than the white box truck. This would be my vehicle of choice if I were the criminal type. And if you wanted to strike fear into the populace, you couldn't do better than point the finger of blame at the white box truck. And I wondered if this had indeed turned out to be the vehicle of the killers, would sales of white box trucks go down? You know, like the decline of naming a child Adolph? Would people sell their white box truck cheap just to be rid of the stigma? Would they paint it school bus yellow to disguise it's horrible crime reference? Would OJ buy one and drive it around?

I could be wrong (who me?) but it seems like this was about the time that fear became a way of life in the US. It was a year after 9/11 and people were trying to right themselves after such devastation and it wasn't enough that the administration was hammering fear messages, it seemed that television news became all about FEAR. If you watch the news now the message is still "BE VERY AFRAID." And if there is no news to point to in order to justify this mandate, they'll create some. You see teasers like "Like licking ice cream? We did, too, until we heard Joe Headshot's special report. The horrible truth about licking ice cream tonight at 11."

Calm down.

Turn your television off.

Lick ice cream.

But watch out for those white box trucks. [Okay, that one was just gratuitous.]

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