Capital of Fear

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Welcome to the split screen life of a superpower. In the marble halls of Washington DC, political power is on parade. Flanked by a stern-faced group of Congressional supporters, President Bush signs into law a newly passed resolution authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. On the same day, everyone else in Washington, the suburbanites, the students, the secretaries, the people who make their living outside those halls, are fixated on a different killer, a homicidal sniper in a mini van with a ladder rack.

And while both sides speak of terror, they’re talking about something completely different. And the city that best expresses the exercise of power seems powerless. Fear and trembling in the shadow of the Capitol.


Peg Cahill, licensed social worker in Washington DC

Marc Fisher, Metro columnist with the Washington Post

Richard Norton Smith, presidential historian and former speechwriter for Senator Bob Dole.