Sniper Panic Hits Everywhere

Oct 21, 2002

By George Anderson

Saturday’s shooting of a 37-year old man in the parking lot of a Ponderosa Steak House in Ashland Va., assumed to be the work of the serial killer(s) (Beltway sniper), has raised tensions from Washington, DC to Richmond, Virginia.

Retail establishments have seen sales drop way off as consumers opt to stay home rather than test fate. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that normally busy Ashland area retail establishments were practically empty yesterday.

Beverly Gaines works in the Cato shop in between a Food Lion and Rose’s discount store. “I had one woman call and say she couldn’t pick up an item we were holding because her daughter was afraid to come out,” she said.

According to the store manager of Rose’s, Ronald Phillips, there are typically a dozen shoppers waiting outside for the store to open on Sundays. Yesterday, he says, there were three.

The Food Lion closed its store Saturday evening after learning of the Ponderosa Steak House shooting. It reopened yesterday and business was said to be normal.

Moderator’s Comment: What do retailers need to do to
better prepare themselves and protect shoppers against terrorist acts?

There has been no public evidence to suggest that the
sniper(s) is in anyway connected to Osama Bin Laden. Regardless, the shootings
and murders have been acts of terrorism, pure and simple.

Gas stations in Virginia are staffing self-serve pumps,
putting up tarpaulins to obstruct lot views and turning their cameras towards
the road to discourage and perhaps help catch the sniper. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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