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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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  • FTW (Score:5, Funny)

    by Baldrson (78598) * on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:18AM (#42369101) Homepage Journal
    Obama. Ricin. Krytron. NWO. Red Mercury. Jews. Klystron. ZOG. EMP. Bloomberg. Subway. Federal Reserve. Ultracapacitor. Secession. McVeigh. Illuminati. Nitrate. Constitution.

    Beat that.

  • I am a terrorist. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:22AM (#42369127)

    I am mad and I have a gun and I will be shooting everyone. I am announcing this beforehand so that the police can stop me. There is no sarcasm in this text whatsoever.

  • by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:26AM (#42369153)
    lol i no rite


    Seriously, it's not going to work with the presence of popular internet shorthand.
    • 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.

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

        by Grimbleton (1034446) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:57AM (#42369371)

        Though if they try to sell "illegal automatics" on most gun forums, they'll find themselves banned and reported to the ATF faster than you can empty a magazine.

      • by pla (258480)
        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.

        You can legally own a fully automatic ("machine gun") in the US. You need a special permit for it, but it basically takes no more effort than getting a CCW - It just costs more ($200, and you pay that per-gun).


        think crime isn't enough

        Ahahahahaaha... How cute.
  • 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.
    • In the UK you can be "Sectioned" If you appear to be a danger to yourself or others but these days policy seems to be "Care in the community" or shut as many mental facilities as possible and let fate take care of the problem.

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

      • 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 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. :)

          • for the same reason that most of these "police state" measures only get brought up immediately after a tradgedy when emotions run high. They need to enact legislation before people start bringing in inconvienant facts and statistics.
          • by edibobb (113989)
            As long as we're going to live in the police state, is there any chance we could stop drunk driving? More people die daily [cdc.gov] from alcohol related accidents than died in that school shooting. This was not in the news recently. Weird, huh?
            • by Lisias (447563)

              Yep. You are right too.

              We live in a society that fails to prevent the most basic "accidents" (it's God Damned easy to avoid drinking and driving!).

              However, I think the same logic applies. We can't restore a life, but we can issue the people responsable for it a hell of regret for doing that. Not only the perp, but everybody else that enabled him/her.

          • Since all the gun advocates love to bring up Switzerland - why not go all the way and implement their gun laws as well? They don't seem to live in a police state, they're nicely federal... really, what give? Does not being able to own as many semi-automatic rifles with large calibers and long barrels and high muzzle velocity really mean that you live in a police that? Is the next step after that really locking everyone in an underground bunker?

            No. And making these arguments makes you sound like a nut job I

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Lisias (447563)

            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

      • by edibobb (113989)
        You don't have to ignore the problem, but it would be nice if the government and the press did not go into hysterical overreaction. Many conservatives, who traditionally support smaller government, want to hire hundreds of thousands of armed guards to guard every public school in the nation. Many liberals, who traditionally oppose censorship, want to ban this type of violence in all computer games. Instead, maybe we could just enforce the laws we have now and go on with life. 27 people (or so) died in the s
      • by mikael (484)

        Property developers were after the Victorian buildings with high ceilings and bay windows - that architecture had been specifically chosen to provide patients with plenty of sunlight (cure against depression) and fresh air (cure against lung infections).

        MP's spun this as saving costs in maintaining dilapidated buildings (could have been renovated instead) and social integration (allowing the patients to live in the community. They did the same with special-needs schools.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One reason that we can not track mental patients is that most people spend a portion of their lives with some form of mental illness. In essence it is normal to be a bit cracked at times. Secondly the public has refused to fund reasonable mental health care forever. For many individuals treatment is slow, the ability to work is often missing and the cost of effective therapy can be staggering. We also lack a legal system that has any ability to deal with crimes before they happen. In essence w

      • AC makes some sense for once.

        Mental Health industry is one giant fucking scam, to enforce the current social order.
      • >Another really thorny problem is that substance abuse is behind much of the violence that we see.

        You may have this backwards. People with 'problems' are the ones more likely to abuse substances in the first place.

    • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:12AM (#42369493) Homepage

      Both the Colorado movie killer and Virginia Tech Killer had been identified with mental illness with red flags.

      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. I think this is probably more 20/20 hindsight than useful observation. And then everyone gets the idea that if only the system worked better, they'd have got help.

      How do we improve the system? Who's responsible for getting people help? One person might know someone with social anxiety disorder, while another person might only see a "red flag" in a gun-collecting guy with scruffy hair who never looks anyone in the eye. Is every person who doesn't intimately know you but sees some odd behavior supposed to harass you about getting help?

      I think this is a more complicated thing than many will let on, and it's a slippery slope to TSA levels of worthless profiling.

      • 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.

      • Red Flags are more paranoid and disinfomration to get you more scared of your peers than authority figures.

        A common theme among these shooters is they have all been systematicly disenfranchised and the solution always seems to be systematicly disenfranchising MORE people, than fixing a broken system which leads to broken people, which leads to a rare handful of shootings.

        How many lives are ruined because people accused of being killers, or murders, with no real evidence are ostracized, arrested, get the typ
      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        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. I think this is probably more 20/20 hindsight than useful observation.

        This whole idea of "red flags" regarding "anti-social" people is what really scares me - and should for a lot of Slashdot. I'm single, fairly quiet, only have a few friends. By most of those definitions I'm likely to be an anti-social nutcase just waiting to go off.

        It almost seems like they're trying to criminalize being a quiet person that keeps to yourself.

      • by digitig (1056110)

        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. I think this is probably more 20/20 hindsight than useful observation. And then everyone gets the idea that if only the system worked better, they'd have got help.

        And it's nothing new [youtube.com].

    • 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 tftp (111690)

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

        What makes you think that those four different mental health agencies pursue different goals?

      • I would insist on an jury of PEERS chosen from the population.

        I would choose the burden of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt", there was an intent to harm.

        We need to stand up to this rhetoric, before we further strengthen laws that authorize extra-judicial detention.

        There also needs to be a right to apeal.
    • Easier said than done. There are many, many people who match the same symptoms and most of them are not about to start shooting people.

    • 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.
      • this guy went on a rampage because he was going to be involntary comitted

        Has been claimed by one person, with others contradicting it. Other than a vague belief, for reasons currently not clearly known, that the shooter may have thought his mother loved the children he shot more than him, we don't really have anything concrete at the moment. It's certainly not a statement of known fact that he was about to be committed. Even if it was his mother's intention, the "committed" version of the story doesn't su

    • Yeah but if you provide health care to the people then you turn the country into a socialist state and nobody wants that.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doubleplus ungood.

  • It wasn't so hard to ban free speech. Now even talking about an FPS match will land you in jail.
  • So they are going to start arresting people for not having an interest in politics?

    • by pla (258480)
      So they are going to start arresting people for not having an interest in politics?

      You joke? Our leaders love people with no interest in politics.

      Just pay your taxes, Citizen, and don't bother looking behind the curtain. It gets so messy back there anyway - You just kick back with your permitted intoxicant of choice, enjoy the Monday Night Gladiatorial games, and let the boys in Washington worry about all that nasty, complicated stuff.
    • More likely, they'll start arresting people who don't "understand" that the current one-party-pretending-to-be-two-parties system is the bestest form of government ever.
  • 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.
    • 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.

      What?

      Did you REALLY think this was going to stop with a ban on scary-looking guns (that are otherwise identical to many hunting rifles, other than using weaker cartridges)?

    • by bkmoore (1910118) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @03:38PM (#42371251)
      The Batman shooter didn't have any internet presence either. Maybe law enforcement needs to start suspecting people with little or no presence. No FaceBook = potential perp.
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:49AM (#42369311)

    do{
    message=getmessage();
    if(message.contains("Mass Effect"))
        email("Alert@fbi.gov", "TERRORIST DETECTED", message);
    while(1);

  • by Kindgott (165758) <soulwound@g o d i s d e a d.com> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:13AM (#42369507) Journal
    They just announced to all potential "deranged gunmen" that they shouldn't use the "active shooter" phrases on the internet, or cover their tracks if they do so. Good job.
  • I'm sure this will work great, since all of the people who do these kinds of thing are very social people who love telling others what they're about to do, and in detailed ways that will trigger a detection.

  • 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?

  • In "Distraction" the US government (whats left of it) has software to do this, and it works. But it has been repurposed. Now the idea is to find the borderline crazy guys and spam them with messages saying that is a drug dealing paedophile commie terrorist who needs to be shot. So now has to cope with a steady stream of crazy shooters. Even if survives, they will be too busy dodging the crazies to cause any more trouble.
  • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @03:00PM (#42371063) Homepage

    If the profile was always 'young white male, bit of a loner,' I'd start to wonder, openly, why it is that they ALWAYS fit that mold. Like there is some sort of factory somewhere that just stamps them out for officers to pick up. Does this not bother anyone else?

    Seriously, I'd start to question my reason for existence. I've been created, to catch 'criminals,' which are, like the endings of Scooby-Doo episodes, always the same guy. And I am not, for whatever reason, supposed to think "if they are always the same guy, doesn't that signify that there is something wrong on a higher level?" I mean, these are human beings, they have brains capable of anything -> so why does this one type always choose to be a loaner, be white, be male, and to shoot up a school? It's almost like they're programmed to do it. Why is there never any major changes? The guy visits his mother's grave before he shoots up the school, or he was an outgoing football player, or whatever? Or, given that our population is more than 50% female, one from their gender?

    Does everyone just blindly accept the reasons they're given here? "Oh yeah, he was a white male, a loaner, that happens to them sometimes."

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