As Atrios put it...Crap. To say that this is both disturbing and frightening is an understatement. The fact that this guy is going on 11 hits and still hasn't been found is really, really depressing, and makes me wonder how this will embolden others who were previously cowed by the fear of getting caught. I'd hate to see this become a trend, and it would appear to signify the return of the right-wing nut.
(Yes, it could be anybody. Still, gun culture and especially sniper culture isn't exactly a leftist thing, and it's even less akin to the kind of things that radical Islamic theocrats tend towards. Yeah, there was that "Gihad in America" sign in the dash of that white van, but that could just as easily be an attempt to throw investigators off his track.)
Oddly enough, however, that points out that there's an absence at the center of this. After Columbine, there was a great hue and cry about two things: media, and guns. Both somewhat petered out, but the point was that there was actually a conflict, and a bruising one at that. Now, however, the battle over guns that one would expect to have broken out is nowhere to be found. No politician wants to approach it, even liberal ones in liberal states, and most of the reportage has focused on the fear of the sniper's weapon, not why he has it and whether others should be able to have them too. I generally don't take a position on such issues, but the absence of the issues is perhaps one of the bigger stories.
Then again, maybe it's quite simple: guns prompt one-issue votes on behalf of their advocates and not on behalf of their detractors, so the votes simply aren't in it. Quite possible, although it prompts a puzzled question: why the hell are manifestations of so many important issues showing up right now, less than a month before the election?
Edit: A friend pointed out that this technically isn't the work of a real sniper rifle; the calibre of the bullets is nowhere near the size that you'd find in an honest-to-goodness sniper rifle. Point taken, although the comments about sniper (marksman?) culture remain valid, I think; Josh Marshall believes that the "from the facts at hand it really sounds like someone who has training as a sniper", and from what I've heard, I'm inclined to agree.