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NYPD To Identify 'Deranged' Gunmen Through Internet Chatter 292

Posted by timothy
from the surveillance-is-good-for-your-health dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Wilson writes in the NY Times that top intelligence officials in the New York Police Department are looking for ways to target 'apolitical or deranged killers before they become active shooters' using techniques similar to those being used to spot terrorists' chatter online. The techniques would include 'cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,' says Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. 'The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.' There are also plans to send officers to Newtown and to scenes of other mass shootings to collect information says the department's chief spokesman Paul. J. Browne adding that potential tactics include creating an algorithm that would search online 'for terms used by active shooters in the past that may be an indicator of future intentions.' The NYPD's counter-terrorism division released a report last year, 'Active Shooter (PDF),' after studying 202 mass shooting incidents. 'So, we think this is another logical step,' says Kelly."
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NYPD To Identify 'Deranged' Gunmen Through Internet Chatter

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  • by Dan667 (564390) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:26AM (#42369157)
    what they should be doing is improving mental health services. Both the Colorado movie killer and Virginia Tech Killer had been identified with mental illness with red flags. A good system would have gotten them help. And for people that refuse mental health help there are only two options, institutionalization or they do what they want. There should be something like child protective services for people that refuse mental health help with red flags to keep track of them and make sure they get help.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:28AM (#42369171)

    Doubleplus ungood.

  • Re:good luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:36AM (#42369225) Homepage Journal

    lol i no rite
    Seriously, it's not going to work with the presence of popular internet shorthand.

    it'll "work". ... but what they'll actually do is hang around on gun nut boards and try to sell illegal automatics to the people hanging around there. because think crime isn't enough but seemingly creating the actual crime is legit.

  • Wait a moment... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maugle (1369813) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:39AM (#42369251)
    Didn't the latest crazed gunman have almost no Internet presence at all? If this is just an excuse to more closely monitor people online, it's a pretty transparent one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:52AM (#42369337)
    It's always "too soon" for that sort of humor.
  • Re:FTW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richy_T (111409) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:53AM (#42369349) Homepage

    We didn't start the fire...

  • by Lisias (447563) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:55AM (#42369353) Homepage Journal

    Trouble is it is cheaper to ignore the problem, than do anything about it.

    No, it's not.

    The problem is that there's no legal mechanism to send the bill to the society.

    To every kid being killed, there're expenses on funeral and emotional support for his/her relatives, but there're also all the practical expenses of the day-to-day life, as medical/dental bills, educational expenses, toys and little amusements, vacations, necessities (clothes, etc) that go to the trash bin.

    To every adult being killed, we have all that expenses since his/her childhood, more the LACK of the future (and present) funds to do the same with his/her kids. With luck, another adult will take for him/herself this expenses - at the cost of the expenses of his/her own kids (present of future).

    So, YES, there're a lot of waste of money on every people being killed by a nutcrack. People are used to avoid talking about this, because we're used to think that a "human life is invaluable and, so, can not be monetized". What I, also, agree - there're no money on the world that can pay my life.

    However, the COST of being alive is measurable. If a life can't be brought back, the costs incurred on being alive can be.

    So, NO. IT'S A HELL OF SHIT EXPENSIVE ignoring the problem. Thing is that the bill does not goes over the shoulder of the bastards that make that decisions.

  • by sribe (304414) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:58AM (#42369379)

    They don't need to be institutionalized, they just need to be stopped from buying guns. Is that really too much to ask?

    Adam Lanza didn't buy any guns...

    Granted, the vast majority of these shooters do buy their own guns through legal channels, so trying to stop the purchase of guns by the deranged is a valid option to explore. But identifying the tiny fraction of strange antisocial people who will commit violent crimes is not as easy as it sounds...

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:02AM (#42369413)

    "They don't need to be institutionalized, they just need to be stopped from buying guns. Is that really too much to ask?"

    How about preventing them from buying fertilizer and Diesel? Or chemicals to make Chlorine gas? Or sprinkling the salad bar with Ricin? ...

  • by shentino (1139071) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:15AM (#42369519)

    And who the hell do we trust with the power to remove the freedom of others?

    I would insist on a jury of shrinks from no less than four different mental health agencies.

    I think we should treat it the same way we do criminal justice.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:27AM (#42369591)

    We have to sacrifice our rights and live in a police state, because that is the "price to protect us from three or four crazy lunatics that we'll never actually be able to protect society from, anyway" because it's going to "save so many innocent people (presumably, children)".

    With this sort of math, we need to be sacrificing a lot more rights and liberties across the board for every other thing which results in more deaths than school shootings (in other words - EVERYTHING INCLUDING JAY WALKING). After all, if every life has a precious cost associated with its lost that is of such intense value to society that all of society must make sacrifices that are most "sacred" to the foundation and existence of our entire society (the Constitution), then why focus on the random unavoidable nutjobs that conduct "mass" shootings? What about seat-belts? What about parents who drink or smoke and put children at risk? What about mothers who bring questionable "step-dads" into the family? What about jay-walking? What about soda? What about sports? What about lighters, pocket knives, stairways, sidewalks, and bicycles?

    If the important thing is the value of a life, then why is the life of someone shot by a nutjob more valuable than that of someone who is killed through any other accident or negligence or criminal act? Especially when those things happen far more frequently?

    The secret key here is that: Yes, bad shit will happen to people and that is the cost of enjoying a free life and society. Bad shit doesn't go away just because government clamps down on society. The only thing lost there is your freedom. You *gain* nothing. And all in the effort to do the impossible -- protect every last human being from unpredictable freak occurrences. Crazy shit that pops out of the brush and happens. And it will always happen. And we will always be shocked (that's the nature of it being a FREAK occurrence).

    I can guarantee you a great deal of safety and security. Just let me lock you in an underground bunker and control everything you consume and everything you do. It won't be enjoyable and it won't be a life worth having lived, but you'll probably live longer than being out in the big scary world with all sorts of awful things that can happen to you, including being t-boned in an intersection by a guy running a red-light or a nutjob in the office that loses his shit when he's fired and brings a firearm to work. :)

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:52AM (#42369811)
    this guy went on a rampage because he was going to be involntary comitted

    what stops this sort of crime is when we start treating people better. Mental Health serivces create these sorts of disasters

    but that never seems to be an option.
  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @12:13PM (#42369957) Journal

    A constant theme around these is that plenty of people noticed "red flags" in the person, and yet none of them did anything about it to get them help.

    Well, apparently two people on the U of Iowa admissions committee saw something wrong with him before the fact -- the program director, Daniel Tranel, said "Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances". I don't think Tranel has ever said what he saw, though.

    But in general, if you want to maintain anything approaching a free society, you can neither lock up everyone you think might be a homicidal nutcase, nor restrict everyone to the level of freedom appropriate to homicidal nutcases.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @12:58PM (#42370299) Homepage Journal

    With their badge numbers?

  • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @01:19PM (#42370431)

    Why was his mom a fucking lunatic? Because she was a shooting enthusiast, had lots of guns, and encouraged her kids to shoot as well? Or was it because she didn't institutionalize her troubled son "just in case"? I genuinely don't know if there is new information that points to her mental state...

    The problem here is in terms of mental health issues, let's say you are institutionalized for being suicidal. Does that mean you can never have a gun, ever? Why? This "reform" of the mental health system people are clamoring for is nothing more than an end-round play to ban guns based on "mental stability." I hate to break it to the /. crowd, but most of us could be considered "unbalanced" if the state, or an overzealous mental health system (or relatives) decided we were. Do we want to go back to the early 20th century where we put everyone who didn't fit a mold (gays, mildly retarded, sexual "deviants") into an institution and shocked, prodded, and medicated them until they really WERE fucked in the head?

    The rational thing to do is to stop inching towards a police state in ALL aspects. That includes these symbolic "bans" on "assault" weapons and other horse shit. Return to a minimal Constitutionally sanctioned federal government...

  • Sweet. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poofmeisterp (650750) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @01:29PM (#42370497) Journal

    This has worked so many times in the past; how can it fail?

  • by Lisias (447563) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @02:45PM (#42370969) Homepage Journal

    Everyone dies, so the cost of living isn't more wasted by an unnatural or untimely death. [...]The rest of your reasoning is a series of cognitive illusions.

    Cognitive illusion is to think that every nutcrack in the world has the right to go free killing people.

    Of course every human being has rights. But what you fail to acknowledge is that the killed kids have rights too. As their relatives.

    So, who we prosecute in order to protect the people's right to be alive?

    The fact that everybody will die someday is a pitty of an argument, and makes me think that *YOU* don't make any kind of value (no necessary financial) to human life per se.

    I'm make huge investments on my kid's welfare, even by knowing he will, also, die someday. But I'm making this investments anyway, as I want him to have the best lifespan I can afford to him.

    I pay taxes. As everybody else (including the victims's relatives). Why our right to be alive is less important?

    The quotes were from todaysinnovativewoman.com, an article named The Pitfalls of Investor Psychology (it's the first article I came across).

    Trying to argue in favor of morality on the basis of cost is a huge mistake. I think it's valid to keep convicts alive, and provide mental health care, but it isn't less expensive - it's just better. It's humane.

    You totally loose the point.

    I'm not talking about morality. I'm talking about civil responsibility.

    GP stated that it's cheaper to let these nutcracks loose. I counter-argumented that it's more expensive. It's appear to be cheaper because some people thinks like you, what prevents that the bastards that make decisions about out life can be accountable by their mistakes.

  • by Lisias (447563) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @02:55PM (#42371039) Homepage Journal

    By your logic, it's bad to keep drunken drivers from the street. =P

    Look, pal. I'm not a defendant of a police state. But you can bet you damned ass I'm a defendant of the people's life.

    We are not talking about natural disasters, but about predictable and avoidable disasters that happens to be promoted by ourselves! We deliberately give up every single chance to detect and correctly deal with these nutcracks.

    I'm not talking about killing them. I'm not even talking about locking them (but if this is the only choice, better them than us!). I'm talking about to correctly dealing with them.

    This will cost money? OF COURSE IT WILL. As costs money to hunt and prosecute drunken drivers.

    The question is: it will worth it? My answer is YES.

  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @09:30AM (#42374839)

    So you're saying there were mass shootings regularly, and that abruptly stopped when they banned those firearms?

    Approximately 1 every 18 months over the two decades before the new restrictions. Reduced to just 1 in the 16 years since the change (using matched criteria for classification. Although it was at the bottom limit of the classification.) A ten-fold reduction in the number of mass shootings so far, and a greater than ten-fold reduction in the number of people killed in mass shootings. Realistically, 16 years isn't long enough to work out the true post-reform rate, it's too low to measure.

    We have the same media, movies, TV, music, video games, as the US. We didn't improve our mental health system, we didn't improve our economy, we didn't change our law enforcement systems. Other crime rates followed their prior trends, some small differences that may be attributable to the change (reduction in murder rate (ditto suicide), increase in some other categories) but they're all around the 10% variation, too small to show causation. None as sharp and dramatic as the immediate near cessation of mass shootings. Hell, even the number of firearms returned to the previous level within a couple of years. So it's not even a matter of weapon numbers.

    We restricted certain weapon types, and magazine capacities, we had a buy-back of newly banned weapons and accessories from law abiding gun owners (at market value + 10%, IIRC)... and the number of mass shootings dropped by an order of magnitude. And there was no increase in other forms of mass killing; bombs and poisonings, mass-knifings, mass cricket-battings, etc.

    The myth that the mass-killers will just find other ways to mass-kill is demonstrably false. They don't. Regular criminals, yes, nutters, no. There's something about certain types of firearms that is deeply empowering to paranoid delusional freaks.

    And I don't know why.

    Seriously, I didn't see it working. Although I'm okay with reasonable gun control, I could not see the new laws having any impact on mass killings. I remember saying as much online at the time. Outliers are notoriously immune to systematic changes, and this change just screamed "knee-jerk politics" (just like this NYPD story)...

    And yet... the numbers are there.

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