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Crime Transportation

Alleged Kalamazoo Shooter Picked Up Uber Fares During, After Killing Spree 312

theodp writes: Police allege that Uber driver Jason Dalton shot 8 people in three different locations, killing six people. But the story gets even crazier, Gizmodo reports, as Dalton allegedly not only picked up Uber passengers between shootings, he continued to drive people around after his last shooting at 10:24pm at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. One of his last passengers before Dalton was arrested even joked, "You're not the shooter, are you?" Uber Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan issued the following Statement on Kalamazoo: "We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can."
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Alleged Kalamazoo Shooter Picked Up Uber Fares During, After Killing Spree

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  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:47AM (#51557619)
    If he had been a regular cab driver, he might have done the same, and an official taxi would have been even better camouflage. If he had been a stock trader, he might have continued to do trades. If he was selling crap on Ebay, he might have continued doing that too. How is his driving for Uber at all relevant?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:54AM (#51557659)

      It's relevant because Uber maintains they need not abide by any regulations to keep their customers safe. They flout laws, and if it should be found out that this person had something in his past that would have disqualified him from a regular taxi job it's going to be VERY relevant.

      Granted, some people can snap without warning and without history, but basically Uber opened itself up to this based on public corporate behavior. Nobody would care if they didn't constantly make a spectacle of themselves ignoring laws.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        I agree with that stance, but currently the tone of the coverage is more 'curiosity' than 'he could've shot people'.

        Maybe things will change if they investigate and uncover something that would have been a red flag in a background check, but for now no one's really doing anything but 'oh look, uber!'.

      • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:54AM (#51558065)

        This is the company who bragged about how their revenue spiked during the Sydney shooting - all the people calling Uber because they are desperate to get the hell out of the crossfire...

        I get the feelingthat "giving a shit about people's lives" is even lower on their priority list than most corporations - which takes some doing.

        • "I get the feelingthat "giving a shit about people's lives" is even lower on their priority list than most corporations - which takes some doing."

          Best. Comment. Ever.
      • He didn't have anything in his past, would have easily passed a background check to be a cabbie or to purchase a gun. Which is why everyone is still struggling to find a motive. Usually my response to the question "why?" is that they are batshit insane. I expect that reason applies here as well as to many other multiple murders, but I'm still curious about what set him off.
        • What you are failing to see is that background checks serve a dual purpose. Along with actively finding people with bad things in their past, they also passively keep people away. People who have 'mental issues' do not like background checks. They don't like others having information on them. Therefore, they are likely to stay away entirely. The people who participate in the process are only the ones with absolute confidence that they have nothing to hide, which are the people you should want to be alo
          • People who have 'mental issues' do not like background checks. They don't like others having information on them.

            To be fair, a lot of completely sane people don't like others having information on them either.

      • What exact regulations would 'a driver snapped' have covered?

        And don't worry, Uber is working as fast as they can to replace the drivers.

    • If he had been a regular cab driver, he might have done the same, and an official taxi would have been even better camouflage. If he had been a stock trader, he might have continued to do trades. If he was selling crap on Ebay, he might have continued doing that too. How is his driving for Uber at all relevant?

      At the very least it's a counter-example to all the Uber-shill stories about how they always get raped/murdered/ripped off when using conventional taxi services.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wish I had moderation points for boosting the parent here. The guy worked somewhere, and committed heinous crimes. One fact has nothing to do with the other.

    • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:03AM (#51557733)
      Because someone who is a psychotic killer is far less likely to engage in a profession where they know who you are, and have all kinds of information on you including fingerprints. There is something to be said for using an industry where people know who the others are. Uber is next to anonymous, which is a perfect job for freaks. If the Uber rating system is so great, why did the riders feel the need to go to facebook about this guy? They should have given him a poor rating and been absolutely satisfied that the rating system would do its job.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        They went to FB for attention. Once they realized this was a news story, he figured it was time for their 15 minutes. A normal bad driver you would use the ratings system. Something criminal, you call the police. If you're banking on getting some cash for a TV Movie or something, you go on FB.

        Same as if he had encountered a killer in any other profession on the day of the killings.

        I have no idea why people defend cab companies. This would have happened just as easily there. The guy had no record, he would h

        • So Uber has been around for, what, 5 years? With 1/100th the number of drivers as the US Taxi industry. And this has happened already. I challenge you to find a corresponding number of proper registered taxi drivers who have killed people.
          • Er, I'll bet there have been > 1 number of registered taxi drivers who have killed someone in the last 5 years. Also Uber has 162k active drivers.The taxi industry has 122k. You don't know what you are talking about.
            • Sorry I meant Uber has 162k and the taxi industry has 233k. Hardly 100x more.
              • 162k in the US? Didn't know it was that much. So does the number of taxi drivers that have murdered people account for 1/4 more drivers + 45 more years of operation?
        • Oh, and they did go to Facebook about poor service. To my knowledge they didn't actually know he was killing people in between taking rides.
      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

        There is something to be said for using an industry where people know who the others are.

        Uber has cab companies beat all to hell on that. I can look up the ratings on my Uber driver before I get in their car. When I call a cab company, I have no clue who's going to show up. In fact, I have no real clue who the company is. I once thought I'd be responsible and call around to different companies from the yellow pages get the best rate. I tried three different companies, and the same person picked up the phone for all off them.

        There's far, far more accountability with an Uber driver.

        • Cab drivers hang out together. They are a community. What is it about people today they they think some internet construct like ratings beats a real community of people who look out for each other and support each other?? I blame Facebook. Its a sad sign of the times, and a real dismal outlook on human interpersonal relationships.
          • When people of a single profession hang out together, they usually collude to screw their customers and protect themselves from prosecution. You see that with police, stock brokers, doctors (malpractice), lawyers (lobbying and regulation), publishers and authors (copyright lobbying), etc. It's a recipe for collusion and coverups. Destroying such collusion and replacing it with public reviews and statistics is a good thing.
            • So you don't trust doctors?
              • I listen to my doctor and take his advice into consideration, but only a fool would trust his doctor.
                • Nice try wiggling out of that one. Acting on a doctor's diagnosis is the same as trusting them. Unless you are trying to make the case that Googling gives you as much medical expertise as he/she has.
                  • Acting on a doctor's diagnosis is the same as trusting them.

                    For anything important, I usually see several doctors. Guess what: they frequently disagree with one another, both on the diagnosis and on the treatments.

                    Unless you are trying to make the case that Googling gives you as much medical expertise as he/she has.

                    You didn't ask me whether you should trust your doctors; you seem to be enough of a fool that you don't have a choice. You asked me whether I trust my doctors, and I told you: I don't.

          • Because "internet construct like ratings beats" the hell out of a "real community" At least when we are using them to "rate" this professions performance.

            Traditional cabs smell funny, are late, are impolite, don't know how to efficiently get you places, are more dangerous, are inconvenient , and cost more

            The cabbie "community" is an outright failure in policing itself, imho most of these self policing communities are outright failures.

      • Because someone who is a psychotic killer is far less likely to engage in a profession where they know who you are, and have all kinds of information on you including fingerprints.

        You're confusing a "psychotic killer" with a "rational individual". So stop being delusional and making things up like "far less likely".

    • driving for the post office?

    • by khallow ( 566160 )

      If he had been a regular cab driver, he might have done the same, and an official taxi would have been even better camouflage. If he had been a stock trader, he might have continued to do trades. If he was selling crap on Ebay, he might have continued doing that too. How is his driving for Uber at all relevant?

      It sounds like he was trying to fashion an alibi. It'll be interesting, should this come to trial, whether this attempt is what damned him. The police may be able to show that he wasn't taking rides when the various people were killed. Such gaps would be very suspicious.

    • It's not relevant that he was an Uber driver, it's relevant that he continued to work in the middle of the shooting spree. It's at the very least unusual behaviour that is worth noting.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:52AM (#51557651)

    Ok they keep mentioning the Uber thing as if it is somehow relevant. The guy killed some people then did some unrelated stuff and then was caught. Why do I give a shit that the unrelated stuff happened to be driving for Uber? I'm pretty sure some regular taxi drivers do some nefarious shit too sometimes. If he used Uber to find victims then that is relevant but I've heard no indication that is the case here. If Uber did background checks on this person then all it indicates is the general futility of most background checks. I know Uber is all the watercooler talk these days but this is just bad journalism.

    I have no stance on Uber. Never used them and I have no firm opinion (positive or negative) regarding their company, products or services. I just don't see how they are relevant to this story.

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      Slashdot has a strange obsession with Uber. They post literally everything Uber related. I just don't get it.

    • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:57AM (#51557681) Journal
      Agreed, this story needed at least one of: 3D printed guns, Elon Musk or bitcoins to tick the required number of slashdot boxes.
    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @09:58AM (#51557695) Journal
      Oh, they're involved all right... the victims' families have someone to sue.

      Ask Tracy Morgan if Walmart was involved.

    • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:06AM (#51557751)
      I saw these kinds of comments coming, and I googled on 'taxi driver shooters'. I found many Taxi drivers getting shot in the US but none actually doing any shootings. The taxi industry knows who they are, so it is far less likely someone who is on the edge will engage in an industry that takes their fingerprints before they can participate.
      • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:30AM (#51558395) Homepage Journal

        I found many Taxi drivers getting shot in the US but none actually doing any shootings.

        In addition to the famous documentary starring Robert Deniro and Jody Foster, I can also attest that a taxi driver in Austin, TX killed two of my coworkers in the year 2000. They had gone to a nearby bar after work to see a boxing match on PPV and took a taxi back to pick up their cars at the office. Midway back to the office, the driver got into an argument with his two passengers and pulled to the side of the road.They attempted to flee and he shot them in the back. He told police they had tried to rob him.

        He worked for an independent, local cab company at the time of the murders.

      • I saw these kinds of comments coming, and I googled on 'taxi driver shooters'. I found many Taxi drivers getting shot in the US but none actually doing any shootings.

        Yep because people who go on mass shooting sprees are concerned about the likelyhood of getting caught. Makes a lot of sense.

        I have another take on your data: Maybe you couldn't find any information about taxi driver shooters because taxi driving is just a profession but unlike Uber it's not a controversial click attracting company which you can tag your story to for more drama!

        The taxi industry knows who they are, so it is far less likely someone who is on the edge will engage in an industry that takes their fingerprints before they can participate.

        Not sure about you but if I were going on shootings I'd put the effort into using a nondescript taxi rather than my personal car wi

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      If anything, this serves as an example that Uber is not particularly risky for passengers. I mean, if someone who has already been out killing people has no interest in killing random passengers, then chances are nobody else will either unless there's another reason behind it (rape, robbery, resemblance to someone they hate, whatever).

  • Rating (Score:5, Funny)

    by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:04AM (#51557735) Journal
    One star. Decent aim, but poor customer service.
  • Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:05AM (#51557743)

    The irony is that he had to have a license to drive his car, but to buy the handgun? Not so much. [wikipedia.org]

    • I'm glad those drivers licenses stop cars from running into people.

    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @11:31AM (#51558397)

      There's no explicitly enumerated Constitutional right to drive a car. The right to bear arms is enumerated clearly.

      But here's something to think about:. What problems were solved by requiring him to have a license to drive a car?

      What problems do drivers licenses solve for anyone? Do they ensure that all licensed drivers are good drivers? Do they keep unlicensed drivers off the roads? Do criminals and other lawless people obey drivers license laws? If you lost your drivers license would you drive without one if a dire emergency required it?

      We would be better off without the licensing requirement for drivers over 21. A court could still issue an order to prohibit a bad driver, or a drunk driver, or whomever else from driving. The only difference would be that courts provide a person with due process.

      Licensing requirements for driving mostly provide the government with an excuse and a mechanism to bully and control and tax ordinary citizens.

      And also note: there would be a lot fewer "driving while black" police stops without this excuse to bully people.

      • by kbg ( 241421 )

        There's no explicitly enumerated Constitutional right to drive a car. The right to bear arms is enumerated clearly.

        Yes and that is stupid. Just like if it was a constitutional right to drive a car it would be stupid.

        But here's something to think about:. What problems were solved by requiring him to have a license to drive a car?

        It solves two problems. First it requires all cars to have identifications that the can be checked at any time. Second it means that the person has gone through the required training and background checks.

        What problems do drivers licenses solve for anyone? Do they ensure that all licensed drivers are good drivers?

        Not all but most. Just like a strict license for guns would do. And that is the point.

        Do they keep unlicensed drivers off the roads? Do criminals and other lawless people obey drivers license laws? If you lost your drivers license would you drive without one if a dire emergency required it?

        Yes it keeps unlicensed driver off the road to an extend. Yes criminals mostly obey drivers licence law because being ca

    • The irony is that he had to have a license to drive his car, but to buy the handgun?

      Licensed drivers kill far more people than do murderers who use guns (whether obtained and possessed legally OR illegally). The irony here is that you think you're making some sort of constructive point, when you're actually undermining what appears to be your agenda.

      • Licensed drivers kill far more people than do murderers who use guns (whether obtained and possessed legally OR illegally). The irony here is that you think you're making some sort of constructive point, when you're actually undermining what appears to be your agenda.

        This has to be the stupidest thing I've read in a very long time, even on /.

        Overall death rates involving motor vehicles and firearms are roughly equal, somewhat in excess of 30,000 per year in the U.S. (The motor vehicle death rate is comparable to other developed nations, while the firearm death rate is far higher.) If you want to talk only about "muderers who use guns", then the relevant comparison is firearm homicides (more than 8,000 in 2011according to the FBI [fbi.gov]), to vehicular homicides, which are so ra

  • by Alumoi ( 1321661 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:37AM (#51557933)

    GTA: Uber
    Drive a cab through realistic cities! Shoot people between rides!
    Based on a true story!

  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:39AM (#51557949)

    Wonder if the Computer Science Teachers Association will modify their just-released proposed standards, which suggests teaching kids that tech has eliminated the need to worry about one's Uber Driver. From the 2016 CSTA K-12 CS Standards [acm.org]: "Compare the positive and negative impacts of computing on behavior and culture (e.g., Evolution to Uber: in 1970s OK to hitch-hike; 1980s dangerous to hitch-hike; 2015 OK to share ride with person met few minutes ago on app; airbnb - worldwide accommodation searches in homes, apts., etc.),"

  • And my posting history bears this out. But I don't think its appropriate to frame this as reflecting on Uber. Plenty of people with mental health problems (even pretty serious ones) manage to hold jobs. It's one thing if we think the working conditions are a *cause* (working at the postal office is very stressful, apparently), but if a perpetrator just happens to choose a line of work, I don't think this gives the haters any justification to hate.
    • Dude, this is /. you must be new here.

      And I think the going postal thing is more about the tedium and crap pay than stress.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @10:53AM (#51558061) Journal

    This story demonstrates why we need self-driving cars and self-shooting guns,.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...and self-shooting guns,.

      For decades, we've heard the mantra that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," but that all changes today! Thanks to a new alliance with Tesla and Google, we introduce the new HK-01 autonomous murder engine! This stylish chassis will eagerly accept any HK model firearm, has an array of high-capacity lithium ion batteries for mobility and to operate the target selection firmware provided by Google. Now let's turn it on and greet our first production grade HK-01 self-driven shooter.

      "Meatbag detecte

      • I had a slightly different idea for the self-shooting gun. I figure the best way to minimize gun violence is to design guns so that if you pick one up and point it at someone, the barrel swivels around and shoots you in the face.

        Thus, the "self-shooting gun".

  • by Optic7 ( 688717 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @12:39PM (#51559137)

    A new take on his classic, Taxi Driver.

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