There will be appeals, to be sure, but for the mass of Washingtonians those appeals will be but brief reminders that once, long ago, the city was gripped for 39 hours by a bizarre terror.
When the Hanafi Muslims were convicted Saturday of crimes in a siege millions of television viewers witnessed, another chapter in the violent history of the Hanafis in Washington came to a close.
For some of the random victims of that violence, however, the memories will always be fresh. They were maimed, or at least marked, psychologically by the experience of having their lives depend upon the whims of armed strangers.
"I was just reading about (the verdict)," Christine Cantrell said yesterday. "I don't understand at all why they charged them with second degree murder. It should have been first degree, but I don't want to comment. Right afterr I read this I'm not in the mood to talk."
Mrs. Cantrell is the widow of District Building guard Mack Cantrell, who suffered a superficial wound during the takeover of the District Building. He recovered from his wound, but later died of a heart attack.
Physicians said that Mack Cantrell had hypertension, and was a prime candidate for a heart attack. There was no connection between his death and the siege, they said. But Christine Cantrell believes there is a direct connection, and that makes her a victim.
Alton Kirkland was a furniture mover at the B'nai B'rith who didn't move quickly enough to suit his Hanafi captors. He has recovered from stab wounds in the leg and back, but only last week returned to work, to a new job in the Bnai B'rith's mailroom. He has moved several times since the siege and will not give his telephone number to anyone, according to one of his coworkers.
"I just don't want to talk," said the wife of one of the most seriously injured victims of the violence. "It has changed our life absOLUTELY, completely. I just wish we could forget it, but people keep calling and sending us notes. I just can't talk about it."
"I don't think any of us will ever forget it, or forget the various fears we have," said Henry siegel, a public relations official for the B'nai B'rith and one of those held hostage at B'nai B'rith headquarters.
"I think it was a just verdict. I don't think, from discussions with other people at B'nai B'rith, that anyone wanted to extract the last pound of flesh," he said.
Siegel lost six pounds at the time of the takeover. "I eat more now than I ever ate in my life and I put on three of the pounds I lost, but then I lost one of those during the tension that built up over testifying," he said. Siegel also said that he is still afraid to ride in taxicabs, understandably so in the light of the fact that several members of the Hanafi sect drive taxis.
District City Councilman Marion Barry, who suffered a superficial gunshot wound during the District Building takeover, wasn't answering hiss telephone yesterday afternoon.
"Is this about the verdict," his answering service asked a reporter. "He has no comment on the verdict."
"Is it over?" Washington Afro American reporter Stephen Colter repeated a reporter's question. "Did they (the police) ever catch (the purported Hanafi) hit squad? It's anybody's guess if it's over, I suppose. I would hesitate to say whether the verdict was just. They (the Hanafis) went out and did what they did and now they have to atone for it."
Stephen Colter was not physically harmed during the takeover of the District Building, but he will always carry with him the vivid image of Maurice Williams, his friend and colleague, being cut down by a 12 gauge shotgun as Colter and Williams stepped into the fifth floor hallway of the District Building.
"I've been affected immensely from the outset," said the 27-year-old reporter," just by being thrust into the initial incident. I surely welcome the time when I don't have to recap it and recap it all over again. I'm really tired of it and I don't think I ever want to recap it again.
"I sometimes think about it," he said of the moment the 25-year-old WHUR radio reporter was killed. "I thought about it when I heard the verdict on TV, but, it has been plaguing my mind. But I thought about the Hanafis, what they were into, what they tried to achieve. I thought about my man Maurice, about him being dead. When I look at his tragic death I look at it from his angle. When I think about the Hanafis I look at it from their angle.
"I thought about him (Maurice Williams) yesterday when the verdict came in," said Colter, who said he thinks not so much about Williams's death as he does about "what the prospect of death means to anybody, to me, to you, to anybody.
"It's always been a constant in my mind that nobody owes you tomorrow," Colter continued. "But now it's in my mind that no matter who you are, where you are, something could happen to take your life away. Who expects a reporter at the District building to get killed with a shotgun," he asked with a soft, sad, laugh.
"I think I'm less prone to be reserved about doing something I might want to do. I don't deny myself many things I want. You may never get a chance to get them if you don't take them. I got pushed closer to the reality of the very presence of death.
"I don't enjoy being at the District Building as often as I did," said Stephen Colter. "It doesn't make me nervous, it's just that when that happened it was something the affected me."