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NYPD To Identify 'Deranged' Gunmen Through Internet Chatter 292

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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @12:06PM (#42369437)

    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 we would have to toss the bill of rights down the sewer.
                                    Another really thorny problem is that substance abuse is behind much of the violence that we see. And it is not that the person is high at the moment of the crime. But the use of substances that make people feel good often depletes substances and functions in the brain that lead to radical depression and an inability to handle normal loads of stress. Many people confronted with the on set of depression or mental illness turn to substances to feel better and the issues are inevitably amplified. This is exactly what you see in the crazed teens trying to gun down their classmates. They may not have gotten high in days but the overwhelming depression just sweeps their minds away and rage is released. But if you try and tell people that substance abuse is behind almost all crime they will go into denial so fast that you won't believe it. I met one creep who could not be convinced that he did not drive better while taking LSD. He wiped out seven lives on a Florida highway. In addition to the seven dead, he lost his entire lower jaw, can only stand with two crutches and received a 115 year prison sentence. So he will lay in a prison hospital and be thread liquids through a tube until he leaves the planet. No amount of reasoning could control this guy and I have seen it in other addicts as well. For example a declaration that drugs were the center point of their life and they were dedicating their lives to getting high and they would not change that even if they knew they would accidentally kill a few people with their cars along the way. It really is a deep problem.

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @12:12PM (#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.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein