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 23 Life Goes On Mark ellwood was a regular at World’s Gym on the north side of Worthington. He and his wife went there often to use the treadmill. Ellwood, a high school teacher, was working out in the winter of 2005 when recognized a former student, though he couldn’t recall his name right away. The man had set the treadmill to a steep incline and was running hard. He was a striking person, an African American with a full beard and closely cropped hair. He did not look like others at the gym his age, probably early forties, who did their best, not always successfully, to fight off middle-aged paunch. This guy was fit. Seriously fit. Ellwood went through his own jog on the treadmill, which seemed pedestrian by comparison, then headed for the locker room. There the man came right up to him and introduced himself as Paul. Of course, Ellwood now recalled , Paul Laws. He’d had him in a sophomore social studies class at Worthington. They chatted for a few minutes. Paul said he’d been traveling and was about to take a class at Columbus State Community College, but he was vague about what else he was up to and didn’t offer any specifics.1 Paul was living a life of contrasts in those days. He worked at Toledo/Mettler. He was devoted to Frida and their daughter, Khadija. He maintained a simple existence; they’d stayed in his one-bedroom, $350-a-month apartment on Riverview all these years. They had a TV and a computer and pots and pans, but not much else. Paul was well known in the neighborhood and always friendly. He was on good terms with the landlord, though he insisted on being present for any repairs to the apartment; Frida was not to be alone with another man. Paul was taking computer courses at the community college and in his free time, apparently, pushing himself physically. Whenever he could spare a few extra minutes he would go fishing, possibly the one thing he was most passionate about after his faith.2 Life Goes On  But Paul had begun organizing things he’d acquired over the years that spoke of a different, less simple existence. Beginning in 2004, he stored several pieces of equipment in his apartment and at his parents’ house in Worthington: night vision scopes, a laser range finder, a GPS watch, a military survival knife, and his passports, one with his current name, one when he was known as Abdulmalek Kenyatta. And other things: a fax allegedly listing names, phone numbers, and contact information for al-Qaida leaders and associates; books on how to make explosives; lists of book ISBNs, including Guerilla’s Arsenal: Advanced Techniques for Making Explosives and Time-Delay Bombs and Home Made C-4: A Recipe for Survival; a note on the al-Farooq training camp in Afghanistan; currency from Middle Eastern countries; and listings for range finders, high-powered binoculars, and sniper guns. Paul also kept letters he’d written over the years. One was the love note he’d sent Frida years earlier, talking about raising “little mujahideen.” The other was a letter to his now aging parents. It explained that he would be “on the front lines” and told them how to find information on jihad.3 ...


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