- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Then there were the do-gooders. For starters, God bless those angels Guardian Angels in this case.
Since Saturday, the Angels, community anti-crime crusaders known for wearing red berets, have set up "pump patrols" at several Northern Virginia gas stations to ease the fears of motorists while they fill their cars' gas tanks.
"We just wanted to do our part to make people feel safe," said John Ayala, director of the Alexandria chapter of the Guardian Angels, whose members pumped gas along Richmond Highway near Interstate 495 all weekend. Their endeavor, Mr. Ayala said, was prompted by calls asking, "What are you guys going to do about this?"
Don't you just have so much respect for those who refuse to sit around and scowl or scream or be scared? There's something special to be said for those who feel the need to be a part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem.
Granted, there's not much anyone can do to prevent a sniper's shooting, aside from trying to be watchful to be able to provide tips to the police. Still, if we each think about it long enough, we could direct some of our nervous energy into some do-gooder community effort, no matter how small.
We don't have to "sit home and be scared," as one local businessman said at the press conference yesterday. Exactly. You can contribute to any one of several funds being set up to deal with the terror that is gripping our region. You can call or write to the tip line. You can walk a child to class. You can go to the grocery store for an elderly neighbor.
A friend who lives in a quaint, quiet Bethesda-Chevy Chase neighborhood said the sniper attacks are a reminder that she hasn't always lived in such seemingly sheltered surroundings. She grew up poor and knows of what she speaks.
"It's my hope that what comes out of this is that people will become more mindful of others who live in neighborhoods where they experience the threat of this kind of gun violence everyday," she said.
Nice thought. So many act as if they live in a bubble that has been inconveniently burst. I heard someone complaining about being delayed by the police roadblock set up speedily to catch the sniper Friday morning. But who has patience for the criers and complainers?
Kudos to those who get busy doing whatever they're able to in a time of crisis. The Guardian Angels' actions help alleviate some fear. Others are attempting actions that will help with the future.
Now that the reward fund established to help capture the sniper has reached $500,000, some have turned their attention to the needs of the victims' families.
Yesterday, the Victims Rights Foundation, joined by representatives of area business organizations, announced the establishment of a fund to keep family survivors afloat.
Thousands of area workers can expect to receive letters from organizations such as the Greater Washington Board of Trade and their local chamber of commerce soliciting donations for victims' families.
Many of the sniper's victims were breadwinners in their families, leaving young children who still must be fed, housed, clothed and educated. Some private funds have also been established for college expenses.
"The need for the community is great, first for prayer and support, and then for financial assistance," said Gregory Wimms of the victims foundation.
The sniper, one businessman noted, "knows no boundaries and reaches into every area and every home." The sister of one victim said that seeing the outpouring of community support helps with the grieving.
Among the monetary help being offered:
Contributions to the Victims Rights Foundation can be sent to 814 W. Diamond Ave., Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.
Contributions to the reward fund can be made by calling 240/777-2500 or with a credit card at www.co.mo.md.us.
A scholarship fund has been set up in memory of James "Sonny" Buchanan, in care of Sonny's Kids, P.O. Box 10666, Rockville, MD 20849.

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