Reliable rumor has it that there's something about the town that changes people.
Some have simply pointed out the obvious, insisting that it's merely a case of power and the inevitable corruption that power brings. Some say that it's the weird layout of the city, which is most definitely influenced by the mysticism of the Scottish Rite (Wicca) FreeMasons. Some say that it's the result of years of accepting a life lived at Ground Zero, a blithe and studied ignorance of the fact that your life can end instantly in a blast of nuclear annihilation, all combined with a standardized and justified paranoia left over from the Cold War years. Washington people are definitely different.
Keep all of the above in mind, especially if you're just visiting from somewhere in the Midwest, and can't figure out why everyone in town treats you like you were a spy. They really think you are a spy. It doesn't matter to them if you're a spy from another country, or a spy from some American town. Whoever you are, you probably know too much. You might go home and tell someone. And so you must be forced to Join Us.
There are those who say that the people who come here are changed not only mentally, but physically as well. Some claim it's an obscure yet powerful curse uttered by most of the people who've ever outstayed their welcome here. Some claim that it's a couple of rapidly-mutating escaped biowarfare products that got loose out of Rockville. Maybe the evil inherent in the corruption afforded by all of the power around here has some sort of Picassan surrealistic imposition upon the very flesh of the long-time inhabitants of the Metro Sprawl. But be warned, if you come to Washington, you will meet The Changed. And perhaps the experience will Change you too. Beware of the headcrushers. Um, it's the 13th of June, 1996, and I have just raised the level of caution for the entire area, including suburban Maryland and Virgina to Red Alert. Consider the local situation as raised to DefCon2. Military personnel are advised to remain close to bases, and be extremely careful when circumstances require them to leave secured areas. Restaurants and bars should be considered off-limits and controlled by an infiltrating enemy.
Was it the Johnson Era Urban Renewal Project?
Some prime cliches and victims of media-culture. Captured at local malls.