No, I’m not making light of this latest school shooting.  I’m also not really discussing the event itself, since we’re still in the 48 Hour Irresponsible Media Speculation Phase that occurs after any critical incident.  Seriously, look at this:

All but two of those topics are related to this, all of them loaded with bullshit.  Some people are offering prayers, some are offering suggestions that those who are praying are full of shit.  Everybody is either talking about how the killer was a card-carrying member of the NRA or Antifa or ISIS or an illegal alien, depending on which matching name they found on Facebook or whatever else they’re digging up in their desperate urge to satisfy their own confirmation biases.

We’ve seen this movie before and I’m not buying a ticket tonight.  Do you want to have another gun control argument?  I’m good with that, but I have another angle I’d rather explore.  Namely, is there more we should be expecting authorities to do when someone is a known threat?  Take a look at this very short clip.  It’s only 25 seconds long, you ADHD freakazoid.

This is one of the more intriguing post-9/11 phenomenons.  With certain exceptions like Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, you don’t hear as much as you used to that the shooter “was a quiet guy who kept to himself; so nobody saw this coming”.  After over 16 years of the American population metamorphisizing into the paranoid and fearful entity that it has become, even high school students have become capable at performing competent threat assessments on their friends and neighbors.  All of those DHS “See Something, Say Something” posters, workplace violence seminars, and school counseling seminars we’ve been attending over the years clearly are in fact paying off in that regard.  Believe it or not.

Unfortunately, we see time and again that even though we have gotten better at identifying threats than we’ve ever been before, we still aren’t good at preventing them.  There have been a few killers, like the Orlando Pulse Nightclub jihadist, who were known to authorities but no action was taken.  Law enforcement’s role is to prevent crime where it can through deterrence but if there isn’t a crime, then there isn’t really much it can do.  Until one happens.  In cases like this, it’s far too late.

Let’s assume that you’re not in the “GIVE UP YOUR GUNS NOW, YOU REDNECK PRICK” contingent, or that you accept that we’re just not going to give up our guns, and that you’d like to see a change in the way these threats are identified and handled before anybody gets hurt.  What would you favor?

Say that law enforcement officials were fully capable of providing accurate threat assessments which could positively identify a dangerous suspect profile and predict the likelihood of that person committing an act of mass violence.  We don’t need psychics or anything, Tom Cruise.  Just surveys based on known profiles of previous killers.  What should be done next?  Local law enforcement doesn’t really have the resources to put a tail on every kook running around, even in a smaller town.

What about some sort of electronic monitoring?  Would you support someone like Cruz who has been identified as a threat having to wear a bracelet and sensors that could track his movements until such time as he is deemed no longer a threat?  The system could track if he visits a location at which he might be able to acquire weapons or explosives.  Sensors could detect the presence of smokeless gunpowder.  Maybe he could even be outfitted with listening devices while an application listens for key words.  Or a program could be uploaded to his electronics that monitors for dangerous social media usage.  If there are any suspicion indicators, law enforcement could be notified.

I know this sounds radical and like a massive civil liberties headache, but this level of surveillance is fully consistent with what the US government can do through a FISC for suspected foreign spies.  Would it be worth it to apply this level of surveillance to an American citizen if it might save lives?  Can we trust local law enforcement with this power?  How would you see it implemented?

I’m of the opinion that a maniac will always find a way to maniac.  Yes, we could focus on the weapons that are used to carry out attacks, but a motivated attacker in a disarmed state can still acquire explosives, flammables, edged weapons, and vehicles to carry out attacks.  Instead of taking their dangerous toys away, how do we stop them?

I think the technology already exists, but we’re not (yet) willing to use it.  Are you?  If not, what would it take to reassure you that it would work and be reasonably safe from abuse?

37 comments

  1. Unfortunately both the right and the left are guilty of the irresponsible blame phase, Guy on Tucker Carlson’s show rambled about video games while of course politicians and celebrities blame the guns because NRA.

    This little psycho’s behavior was apparently known beforehand. You’d think that by now somebody might have done something.

  2. getting the legal authority to place someone who has not yet committed a crime, under police monitoring would be a legal nightmare, fraught with ACLU challenges, bloviating pronouncements for the authoritarian right, and copious amounts of screeching and crying from both sides of the protection at all costs to dont tread on me crowds.

    however, standards for such surveillance are already in place, sorta. with restraining orders, removal of visitation privileges, fire arm owner ship with drug use or mental issues., ect.
    then there is the argument, that if a person is so dangerous why are they not in jail? That has been brought up with know terrorist sympathizers and actors that are currently out and about here in the USA, or other that have been known to be a threat, but were not brought in.

    It really is a no win no matter how you cut it..

    One thing that seem to be common with these type of shootings, psychoactive drugs and subscription meds that effect mental processes……. i god dam swear that this is a major part of it.

    you are not gonna get all the guns, it just is not gonna happen ,neither are you gonna be able to lock anyone up that has anger issues or is disaffected somehow,.

    Honesty, one thing that might curtail future shooting is to totally erase them from memory all trace of their life , records images, gone… total memory hole them. give them no stained glory. that and a very public and horrible death. That however is not constitutional.

  3. You’d think that by now somebody might have done something.

    But what can they do? Lock him up indefinitely until he agrees not to be psycho? We really have to start asking what we can and should do about these killers.

  4. however, standards for such surveillance are already in place, sorta. with restraining orders, removal of visitation privileges, fire arm owner ship with drug use or mental issues., ect.

    Restraining orders get broken. They’re not preventive. They’re punitive. Firearm ownership is revokable, but what do you do if someone not allowed to own guns steals one?

    if a person is so dangerous why are they not in jail?

    Great question, but if you’ve ever seen the legal process work, you know that it’s very hard to get a criminal put away for hard time…until they commit multiple crimes and at least one very serious one.

    Honesty, one thing that might curtail future shooting is to totally erase them from memory all trace of their life , records images, gone… total memory hole them. give them no stained glory. that and a very public and horrible death.

    The concept of an unperson? I like it, but not all mass kilers are motivated by fame.

  5. What about some sort of electronic monitoring? Would you support someone like Cruz who has been identified as a threat having to wear a bracelet and sensors that could track his movements until such time as he is deemed no longer a threat?

    Absolutely not.

    No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…

    I also strongly disagree with what some people are already saying – if a person is on the no-fly list, they shouldn’t be able to buy guns. That’s a direct violation of the Fifth Amendment. If the government can make a legal case against the mental competency of the individual, that’s a different story.

    Do you want to minimize these events, and their scope? There is a reason these wackos keep doing these things in “Gun Free Zones”.

  6. If the government can make a legal case against the mental competency of the individual, that’s a different story.

    That’s a good direction to take this. So let’s say that the FBI or local police get it reported to them that a guy like Cruz has been making statements to people, in person and online. There has been some threatening behavior. They interview him with psychiatric specialists in attendance to perform an assessment.

    He’s a loon. So he gets a summons to court, is found to be loony, and given restrictions since the due process of law has been followed.

    What now? Should he monitored electronically in the way I described? Are you okay with the surveillance as long as there’s due process of law?

    That’s one aspect.

    The other is which types of mental illness should result in the government bringing this sort of action against a person? Depression? Gender dysphoria? NPD?

  7. He’s a loon. So he gets a summons to court, is found to be loony, and given restrictions since the due process of law has been followed.

    What now? Should he monitored electronically in the way I described? Are you okay with the surveillance as long as there’s due process of law?

    Why would monitoring via ankle bracelet be necessary? Restrict his ability to legally obtain a gun. Or, if warranted, throw him in a psychiatric ward.

    The other is which types of mental illness should result in the government bringing this sort of action against a person? Depression? Gender dysphoria? NPD?

    There’s a slippery slope somewhere in there, as well as in the “no fly list” argument.

  8. There’s a slippery slope somewhere in there, as well as in the “no fly list” argument.

    That’s where I have to put forth the insensitive, fatalistic argument that says that we should should just accept the danger of these things happening as a matter of living in a free society.

    Under that argument, law enforcement already has sufficient tools and needs to manage them properly. Maybe the FBI could spend less time trying to overthrow the president and chasing phantom Russian bot–I mean, convincing people to commit crimes through sting operations and actually focus on these threats who are handed to them on a silver platter by alert citizens.

  9. That’s where I have to put forth the insensitive, fatalistic argument that says that we should should just accept the danger of these things happening as a matter of living in a free society.

    I have made those types of arguments before, but wait until you have a kid or two in a high school. That fucking smartphone video is haunting. My kid’s life IS more important TO ME than anyone’s (including my own) gun.

  10. No, it’s not really my point of view. I’m just spitballing. Anything to escape the usual unsolvable nonsense being peddled today.

  11. No, it’s not really my point of view. I’m just spitballing. Anything to escape the usual unsolvable nonsense being peddled today.

    Fair point. I wish people would attempt a rational conversation, absolutely. There are numbers that can be gathered and analyzed that could attempt to calculate numbers of people killed/saved if certain actions are taken. I am more than 50% certain that both sides would be unhappy with portions of the results. People would rather put their heads in the sand than look at reality sometimes.

    Guns are useful tools in the right hands. It is figuring out which hands and in what circumstances that is the issue. For instance, i am skeptical that putting guns in high schools would result in a net savings of lives without massive school budget increases that will never come.

  12. I wish people would attempt a rational conversation, absolutely.

    It’s nice when I tone down the bomb-throwing, isn’t it? I know I said there’s be a Discourses post this week, but I had other stuff to write about. I still have a topic on deck and should be able to run with it next week. I think we can have good discussion here though.

    For instance, i am skeptical that putting guns in high schools would result in a net savings of lives without massive school budget increases that will never come.

    I’ve never been a fan of “Let’s arm absolutely everybody”. Even most law enforcement professionals don’t sufficiently train or engage in proper safety practices (IMHO). The general population can’t be expected to do much better. Unless, you know we want to go the “well-regulated” route and start requiring something more formal with regard to participation in proper training and use.

    I haven’t met many teachers who want to be armed either. Teachers know what goes on at their schools. They talk to the kids and they know when there’s a problem or a threat. What we need is for a follow-up from the appropriate authorities when such issues are reported to them.

    If we’re really expecting gunfighter teachers to solve this problem for us, we’re already fucked.

  13. It is strange that these incidents keep happening in “Gun Free Zones”. If only criminals intent on murdering people cared about laws. We definitely need more laws to prevent that.

  14. I’m not saying we need more laws exactly. I think we’ve made enough illegal crap illegal already and we have more than enough cops running around.

    We need enforcement. What happened with Cruz appears to have been a misapplication or lack of application of law enforcement resources, to put it delicately. I think they have the tools they need already, I just wonder if we need to tweak the laws to allow law enforcement to use what they have more effectively.

  15. If a threat assessment says that teachers need to be armed to make kids safe it is time to pull them out and home school. Our district has an online school so it is an easy decision to make.

  16. Home schooling looks more and more attractive all the time for a variety of reasons. Just don’t tell my wife I said that.

    The online option sounds great. Wish we had that.

  17. It is strange that these incidents keep happening in “Gun Free Zones”.

    They do happen to be where people gather in groups, so perhaps it’s not surprising if the shooter wants to kill a lot of people.
    Also in this case it looks like he was specifically targeting the school, rather than a ‘Gun Free Zone’ specifically.

  18. https://www.dailywire.com/news/27205/walsh-its-time-put-armed-security-every-public-matt-walsh#

    WALSH: It’s Time To Put Armed Security In Every Public School In America

    Why is this even a discussion? Why would any sane person oppose it? What exactly is the downside to having armed security in every public school in the country? A public school is a government facility. It is a government facility where we send our kids for 8 hours a day. If virtually every other type of government building has armed security, whey would we leave unsecured precisely the one type of government facility that houses our children?

    I could get behind that provided they’re properly trained. Lots of retired Police/Vets around that could use a job.

  19. I don’t have a problem with armed security in schools. It provides a deterrent and a last line of defense. The only real challenges are cost and training standards.

    Still, it’s not enough by itself. The deputy who worked security at Columbine High School responded after the first shots and exchanged gunfire with Harris and Klebold, but couldn’t stop them. If the attackers are highly committed enough, they can overcome an armed guard. Then what? Every school must have two guards? And then…..

    Unlike beer, guns are not the cause of or the solution to our problems. We need a smarter approach.

  20. Still, it’s not enough by itself. The deputy who worked security at Columbine High School responded after the first shots and exchanged gunfire with Harris and Klebold, but couldn’t stop them.

    It’s been shown he did delay them. Even a single life saved is worth having armed guards in schools. And I’ll say it again – there is a reason why these cowards continue to target “Gun Free Zones”. If they knew they would face armed resistance, some would choose not to, or choose other targets. We are never going to stop all of them, but this is doing something that will impact the situation and save lives.

  21. It’s been shown he did delay them.

    Oh yeah, definitely. I don’t mean to diminish his actions. He’s the unsung hero of law enforcement on that day. I’m just saying that he wasn’t enough by himself.

    We need a layered approach to school security. Intelligence has to be relayed to law enforcement, followed up on, preventative actions taken, and only if all else fails do we rely on good guys with guns.

    The weak link is the “preventative actions”. Currently, that consists of “Let’s put up a Gun Free Zone Sign!” It’s not adequate. We need something more.

  22. It’s come out that this nutball had the Police come visit him 39 times. 39? And he was in a psychiatric facility as a juvenile. And the FBI has admitted they didn’t follow policy when the guy’s Youtube comment was identified.

    But black rifles are the problem. (Isn’t that racist?)

  23. Obviously we must pass more laws so law enforcement can not enforce laws. I still say my electronic surveillance idea is tons better than legislation that will only deprive law abiding citizens of their rights and have little impact on the maniacs.

    SOMETHING should have been done, even if it was far less than I’ve proposed.

  24. It’s come out that this nutball had the Police come visit him 39 times. 39? And he was in a psychiatric facility as a juvenile. And the FBI has admitted they didn’t follow policy when the guy’s Youtube comment was identified.

    Waht? Where ya see that at ? link? holy fuck the NICS should have kicked in and not authorized that transfer of the Rifle, if the FBI had and police had followed through….?

  25. It gets worse.

    The FBI was warned last month that Nikolas Cruz was an armed psycho who might shoot up a school — but it didn’t bother investigating, the agency admitted Friday.

    “A person close to” Cruz called the agency’s tipline on Jan. 5 and reported the 19-year-old had a “desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts” and there was “potential of him conducting a school shooting,” the FBI said in a statement.

    But the agency said it failed to pass on any of that information to its Miami field office, even thought its own protocols say he “should have been assessed as a potential threat to life.”

    The Florida Governor is calling for the FBI Director’s resignation.

  26. oh that that Right wing Nazi militia in Florida.? Looks like it was another 4Chan troll..

    I’m amazed that Sam Hyde didn’t get reported this time around. Looks like the media has finally gotten wise.

  27. No words…

    The school resource deputy who was on patrol at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 resigned Thursday after video surveillance showed he never entered the school, even though he “clearly” knew there was a shooting taking place, officials said.

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