Sunday, August 19, 2012

Linda Franklin Sniper Victim

Linda Franklin Sniper Victim - She called home every day. Sometimes from her home in Arlington, usually from her car on the commute into D.C. She’d chat with her father about his day. She’d encourage her mother, who was battling a recurring cancer.

But one Monday evening last October, Charles Moore realized he hadn’t heard from his daughter all day. As his wife slept, he went to the living room and picked up the phone.

Washington was a white-knuckle town at the time. A gunman was on the loose, shooting at random. People were afraid to get gas or to park at the mall.

Linda Franklin was not among them.

Her father caught her ready to go shopping to outfit her new townhouse.

He asked her not to go. Franklin wouldn’t hear of it.

“Dad,” she explained, “everybody’s got to move.”

Small-framed, clear-skinned and bright-eyed, never looking her age, Franklin rolled through 47 years with cheerful resolve, remaking her life over and over.

She was at times a single mother juggling college, an international teacher turned FBI analyst, navigating countries and careers as she dodged violence and disaster, confronted heartache and illness.

Nothing could stop her.

When Linda Gail Franklin was 3 or 4 years old, she walked out the front door of her house in Columbus, Ind., headed down to a busy intersection, stood in the middle of the road and began directing traffic.

As she waved her arms, cars slowed to avoid her, their amused drivers honking and waving.

After that, her parents put padlocks on the gates in the yard, but it didn’t help. She escaped whenever she could.

The second of three children born to Charles and MaryAnn Moore, Franklin rushed into the world on a cold March night in 1955, before her father could finish the paperwork in the hospital lobby.

Charles Moore’s career in broadcasting and engineering moved the family often, and Franklin spent her early childhood in various Indiana and Ohio cities.

Antsy and rambunctious, she often pushed her parents to their limits.

“There was no fussing or fighting,” her father said. “She’d just look at you with that squinty look.”

Franklin read voraciously, whenever she could sit still long enough to turn the pages. The rest of the time she was outdoors, chasing bugs, getting stung and running home with an upheld finger, hand, elbow.

Her parents kept her hair short and let her play hard.

The family traveled often while the children were young, touring Midwest lakes and campgrounds in their Ford station wagon, a canoe strapped on top. It was at Sweetwater Lake, just west of Columbus, where a preteen Franklin learned to water ski.

She was tenacious, said her father, refusing to let go of the rope when she fell. Time and again she’d hit the water, skis spinning off behind her as her body cut through the boat’s wake.

“I had to stop the boat,” Moore said. “I was afraid I’d drown her.”

Franklin persisted until she could stay upright. After that, he couldn’t wear her out on skis.

The Moores eventually settled in Florida, in time for Franklin to enter 10th grade at Buchholz High School in Gainesville.

There, Franklin and classmate Katherine Kafoglis Lockwood bonded over a love of theater. The girls dived into the school’s productions, playing supporting roles, designing sets, doing makeup, sewing costumes, handling publicity, fund-raising with bake sales and car washes.

Lockwood remembers being impressed with Franklin’s boldness, both on and off the stage. She would stride through the school halls, approaching the shy kids and the strangers, inviting them to the drama group’s parties.

“And they would come,” Lockwood said, “because she was so straightforward.”

Franklin was like a mother to all her friends, said Lockwood, now a biochemist at the University of New Hampshire.

“Love and friendship just fell out of her. It wasn’t an effort, it just came.”

That compassion led Franklin to nursing school after graduating from Buchholz in 1973, but soon put her at odds with teachers at Gainesville’s Santa Fe Community College.

They criticized her for getting too attached to her patients, for failing to maintain the proper clinical distance.

So she quit school on principle with her father’s blessing.

“Right then,” he recalled, “I felt like I had a daughter that had grown up.”

Franklin left Gainesville with a high-school sweetheart but returned in the early ’80s, after her marriage dissolved. She arrived with two small children and a plan.

“I’m going back to school.”

Her parents offered money, but Franklin refused. She’d found a full-time job and would pay for college herself. And so it went for the next few years.

“I kind of resented it,” Moore recalled, laughing. “Parents like to be needed.”

Whenever they tried to help, Franklin would either refuse or record the debt in a detailed ledger. She paid back every penny.

It took a car accident to soften her will. With her jaw wired shut, she quickly grew tired of thinned-down baby food. So her father bought a blender, chopped up meat, soaked it in broth and fed it to her through a straw.

“I got the biggest hug out of that,” he said.

At the University of Florida, Franklin rekindled the love for math she shared with her father. As a child she’d often accompanied him to work, where she’d dug through desk drawers, watching him work his slide rule, asking endless questions.

She considered computer science, Moore said, “but the jargon didn’t settle.” She chose teaching instead.

She transferred to the education school, made the dean’s list and graduated in 1986, with a degree to teach math and science.

Her mother had passed up Smith College to get married, and her father had left Purdue University to be with his children. So seeing their 31-year-old daughter in her cap and gown was something of a dream deferred.

“I’ve never had a prouder moment in my life,” Moore said.

Within the year, Franklin was sitting behind the wheel of a Jeep, idling in the streets of Guatemala City, where she’d gone to teach at the American School. A man approached and demanded the Jeep, the machete in his hand an unmistakable exclamation point. With her sat her young son and daughter.

Franklin’s parents had paled when she told them she was going to Central America, right into the remnants of a revolution. Times were still tense, with rampant corruption, political violence, sporadic kidnappings and rumors of coups.

“I bit my tongue,” Moore recalled. “I didn’t want any part of her going there, but I never told her what to do.”

South she flew, children in tow. They often traveled with a Marine escort since they lived outside of base housing. But that particular day they were alone, and the man with the machete was insistent.

Franklin refused to give up the Jeep, but offered to take him anywhere he wanted to go. He persisted. So did she.

Finally, he put down the machete, climbed in and accepted the ride.

“You idiot!” her father roared when she recounted the incident months later. “He could’ve killed you and the kids!”

“Nah,” she replied, “not likely.”

Despite her bravado, Franklin left just after the school year ended. Later, she would tell colleagues tales of having to sneak out of the country through the jungle, leaving her possessions behind.

The following fall found Franklin in Germany, pitching an idea to her new friend Lunella Harrill.

The ski club at Stuttgart-Ludwigsburg American High School needed a sponsor, she informed her. What say we step in?

The fact that neither of them had ever snow skied, she said, was entirely irrelevant.

“She was game to try anything,” Harrill recalled.

Franklin persuaded Harrill, her husband, Jerry, and another teacher to spend weekends slipping and sliding on nearby mountains until they were passable skiers. The club resumed its trips to slopes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with membership rapidly swelling to near 50.

In warmer months, Franklin piloted another challenge, organizing a whitewater rafting trip to Garmisch, near the Austrian border. Straight off the mountains, it was the coldest water Harrill had ever felt.

The rafters had to steel themselves first by jumping in. The students stood petrified on the rocks.

“Oh, come on!” Franklin goaded them before diving in, smiling all the way down. She eventually coaxed Harrill into a raft for the first time when Harrill was nearly 50.

“She was like a kid sister,” Harrill said. “You don’t always meet people you would trust with your life, but I would have trusted Linda with mine.”

That enthusiasm colored Franklin’s approach to teaching, said Harrill, who now lives in San Diego.

Moore said his daughter’s theory was simple: “Don’t teach the kids to answer questions, teach the kids to question answers. Don’t let a teacher get away with anything.”

She taught her own children in innovative ways.

The Harrills witnessed that one Christmas, while looking after Franklin’s children as she made a quick visit to the States.

Sitting around the table, Lunella Harrill noticed the children eyeing the brussels sprouts left on her and her husband’s plates. They passed them over, and the children devoured them.

Franklin had raised them to eat their meals backward: Dessert came first, followed by the main course. And if they cleaned their plates, they could have their vegetables.

“The vegetables would be the prize,” Harrill recalled, laughing.

Franklin left Germany when her contract ended in 1989, along with her children and new husband, a fellow American she’d met there.

The new family was bound for Okinawa.

In Gainesville, Charles Moore snickered as he listened to his daughter on the phone from Japan. It was tennis this time.

Franklin was a new algebra teacher at Kadena High School on Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. The team needed a coach, and Franklin had agreed.

Moore reminded his daughter that she was a terrible tennis player, but she already had a strategy.

“All I have to do is read the books and tell them what to do,” she told him. “I don’t need to pick up a racket.”

Moore didn’t hold out much hope for the team. It won the championship.

As she had in Germany, Franklin spent much of her time outdoors while on the North Pacific island. Usin Pisingan, a former neighbor and colleague, recalled her coming to his house once during a typhoon and dragging him down to the ocean to watch the waves bash the shore.

When her parents visited, she took them crawling through off-limits caves and hiking along the island’s cliffs. They’d set off on long rides in her Jeep.

“We’d take that Jeep, run through the cane fields down to the beach,” her father recalled. “We’d spend a late evening out there and then head for home. It was wonderful.”

Franklin stayed on Okinawa until 1994, including another teaching post at neighboring Kubasaki High School. While in Japan, she and her husband split up.

Later, she met a local Marine at one of her holiday parties. He was a computer specialist, a corporal named William “Ted” Franklin.

Just before his discharge, they married in Hawaii.

The Franklins moved to a three-story row house near Mons, Belgium, where Linda Franklin began the 1994-95 school year at SHAPE American High School.

One winter, exposed wiring in the attic set their home ablaze.

No one was hurt, but everything the Franklins owned was either ruined by the firefighters’ hoses or permeated with indelible soot.

While losing her possessions didn’t bother Franklin, losing most of her cash did. That meant she had to accept help from others.

“Her pride just died,” her father said. “It just tore her up to take charity.”

Giving it was a different matter, however. While in Belgium, Franklin persuaded local Marines to build a playground for an orphanage and christened it with an American-style cookout. And one Christmas, when her parents were visiting, she brought home an orphan, age 7 or 8, whom they feted and took to Paris.

Yet there were more setbacks: Franklin broke a foot. Her mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer just as Franklin moved to Belgium, had a relapse. And her father’s prostate looked suspicious.

She had made several trips between Belgium and Florida during holidays, but in talking with her father, she realized that was no longer enough. It was time to leave Europe.

Settling with her family near Washington in 1997 meant a new house, a new town and for Linda Franklin, now in her early 40s, a new career.

She approached the CIA for work but was told she was too old. The FBI welcomed her, offering her a spot in its National Infrastructure Protection Center.

There, Franklin’s adaptability was quickly rewarded. One holiday, a supervisor asked her and fellow analyst Shirlyn Baker to oversee the inaugural meeting of a new bureau program. Those in charge had fallen to the flu.

With short notice and scant background, Baker recalled, “we just winged it.” When time came for questions, she watched Franklin work her magic.

“She came out of that room and she had smoothed the feathers. The afternoon session went like clockwork.”

The two women became project managers for InfraGard, an information-sharing partnership between government and private business.

They spent most of the next two years putting the program together, with Baker as the technical adviser and Franklin working the crowds. They wore out the phones, flew all over the country, coordinated countless training sessions, surrendered evenings, weekends and holidays.

By the time the program rolled out in January 2000, the women were fast friends.

That bond proved vital a year later, when Baker was diagnosed with breast cancer. Franklin leaped in to help.

She told Baker about her mother’s cancer battle. And Franklin confided that she’d had a lump removed from her own breast soon after coming to the FBI.

The night before Baker’s surgery, Franklin beat her to her home in Baltimore. She stayed all the next day, cooking feverishly, then supported Baker through months of chemotherapy and radiation. Franklin researched treatments, what to eat and drink and, most importantly, buoyed her spirits.

“Sometimes the Lord sends angels into your life,” Baker said. “She would not let me feel sorry for myself, Lord have mercy. She always found the sunshine.”

Among these rays was the tragicomic life of Rocky. Baker remembers being in recovery when Franklin sprang the news.

“She told me, ‘Not only are you having chemo, my cat has to have it, too.’ ”

Franklin had stolen Rocky from former neighbors after learning they let her fend for herself. She joined the menagerie of dogs and cats crowding the couple’s townhouse.

Franklin lavished money and attention on Rocky – known as “Chemo Kitty” to her friends. She arranged for biopsies and treatments, ignoring friends’ pleas to put her to sleep.

The cat pulled through. It was Franklin’s turn next.

That fall, just after Baker returned to work, she was diagnosed.

She went to two doctors to confirm it, consulted with frie nds, then set out to beat it.

Though the cancer was confined to one breast and hadn’t reached her lymph nodes, Franklin weighed her options and chose to have a double mastectomy.

She found the ideal hospital and tracked down the best doctor, both in Baltimore. The doctor told her he wasn’t accepting new patients.

“By the time she finished with him,” Baker said, “he took her.”

Franklin had surgery in late 2001. During recuperation, she endured physical therapy as well, her body having rebelled at the sedentary days her illness had forced upon her.

“She wouldn’t let it stop her,” said Peggy Hulseberg, whose husband, Paul, worked near Franklin at the FBI. “Not everybody would be that strong,” Baker agreed.

“You’re talking about somebody who never had a blue day,” she said. “If she was down, it was for a moment.”

Her energy returning, Franklin was back at the bureau part time by spring 2002, full time by late summer.

She resumed a grueling schedule, with therapy in the mornings and work in the evenings. All the while, she continued traveling to Florida to support her mother with her own cancer battle.

With each visit, she’d make sure to include a “date night” with her father. When she wasn’t in Gainesville, she’d call him each morning on her way to work. “OK, Dad, what are you doing today?”

“I just got out of bed!”

“Well, go on, get going.”

For the past few years, Moore had been writing romance novels to help refocus his mind when he wasn’t helping his ailing wife, and Franklin acted as his coach and occasional editor.

“She stopped being a daughter,” Moore said. “She became a friend.”

In Washington, the federal government was going through post-Sept. 11, 2001, growing pains, and the future of Franklin’s division was in question. She might have to relocate, might have to start over again.

The Franklins sold their townhouse to avoid the inevitable buyers’ market.

In hosting Linda Franklin’s son and niece and their dogs, along with their own pets, plus her parents’ periodic visits and with her first grandchild on the way in Norfolk, the two-bedroom, one-bath townhouse was too small anyway.

The couple found a new townhouse in which to bide their time until the feds sorted themselves out. They were in the process of furnishing it on thatmid-October Monday when she and her father spoke.

The movers were due on Friday, she said. There was still so much left to do. She had to go.

“You just can’t stay in hiding,” she told him. “We’re just going out to Home Depot and that’s it.”

Hours later, long before daylight, the doorbell chime drifted through the dark, one-story house. Then a distinct, brass-knocker rap.

Charles Moore rose from his bed, where MaryAnn lay sleeping, and moved toward the sound. He took his time; panhandlers came by at all hours.

He opened the door. Lit from behind by a pole lamp in the yard, a police sergeant and an FBI agent introduced themselves.

Grief and anger would follow. For the moment, there was only shock.

It might have been the gunman, they told him. They didn’t think it had anything to do with her work. Still lots of unanswered questions.

What was certain was that only something unseen and unnegotiable could ever have stopped her.

Linda Franklin Sniper Victim Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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