White House Now Thinks Harvesting Fitness Tracker Data Could Stop The Next Mass Shooting

from the no-conceivable-downsides-no-sir dept

In the wake of more mass shootings, everything coming from up top has been bat shit insane. The Trump Administration has a bunch of suggestions, and they're no better than those offered by a bunch of policy makers who think pulling the plug on certain areas of the internet will somehow reduce the frequency of mass shootings in the US.

Despite being able to do actually useful things at the federal level, Trump has decided preventing gun violence should be everyone else's job. First, he declared it's time for social media companies to engage in even greater vetting of users' posts, apparently in hopes of finding the next mass shooter before they start shooting.

We're headed to pre-crime territory, with the feds in tow. Working together, these entities can be expected to create a massive mess -- one that criminalizes words and will result in plenty of non-dangerous people spending more time interacting with federal agents. This isn't going to solve the problem. It's only going to create a new set of problems, waste limited law enforcement resources, and deprive people of their rights and liberties.

So, of course, the Trump administration is out there trying to make a bad situation even worse. Working backwards from a stillborn idea to come up with a catchy acronym, the White House brain trust is planning on inflicting this on America:

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the White House had been briefed on a plan to create an agency called HARPA, a healthcare counterpart to the Pentagon’s research and development arm DARPA. Among other initiatives, this new agency would reportedly collect volunteer data from a suite of smart devices, including Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echos, and Google Homes in order to identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act.” The project would then use artificial intelligence to create a “sensor suite” to flag mental changes that make violence more likely.

According to the Post, the HARPA proposal was discussed with senior White House officials as early as June 2017, but has “gained momentum” after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The latest version of the plan, reportedly submitted to the Trump administration this month, outlined the biometric project called “SAFE HOME,” an acronym for “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes.”

Jesus Christ. Doesn't take long for dystopia to take hold. We already knew every fitness tracking device is, first and foremost, a TRACKING device. They generate the sort of data cops and terrorists alike like getting their hands on. Now, the administration is suggesting this data will be able to stop killers before they kill by looking for elevated pulse rates or, I don't know, heart conditions common to mass shooters. Or whatever.

Somehow, this patchwork of "volunteer data" will be Frankensteined into a "multi-modality solution" that can provide the government with "early diagnoses of neuropsychiatric violence." Ok, then. But can it even do this? Or will analysts pore over tons of garbage data looking for patterns that don't actually exist -- all while being pressured to prevent mass shootings? If so, the desire to show the program works might overwhelm the desire to proceed in a scientific manner, leading to garbage outputs more aligned with numerology enthusiasts and that Timecube guy.

Expecting anything "advanced" from a fitness tracker is asking for trouble. As Emily Gorecenski points out on Twitter, a FitBit can somehow detect the heartbeat in the breast from a chicken that's been killed, butchered, processed, packaged, sent to a grocery store, and purchased by a consumer.

These are the tools we're going to use to do pre-crime? This is the scientific wonder that's going to track down mass shooters before they can kill anybody? If we're lucky, we'll all live long enough to regret this.

Once you get past the HARPA buzzwords and the shininess of the tech toys, you're left with the unpleasant feeling this is going to result in people being hustled off the street by black-clad government agents and rushed to the nearest reeducation center.

“Creating a watchlist of citizens who most likely will never act violently based on their mental health is a very dangerous proposal with major ethical considerations,” Emma Fridel, a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University specializing in mass murder, told Gizmodo in an email. “Doing so to predict the unpredictable is utterly absurd.”

This system will be little more than an efficient generator of false positives. Adopting as much intrusive surveillance as possible as quickly as possible is bound to result in a few prevented crimes. So would random house searches and 24-hour police checkpoints. Backing into this with a catchy acronym, technobabble, and a bunch of junk science isn't acceptable. The government may feel obligated to do something about mass shootings, but everything it has come up with so far has been resolutely terrible, if not terrifying.

Filed Under: data, fitness trackers, guns, mass shootings, school shootings, surveillance, trump administration


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 10:53am

    Netflix has a new show

    Pulsehunters? Blood Pressure Chasers? Glucose Stalkers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 10:55am

    Psycho Pass

    Could we be headed to a world like Psycho Pass??? Only as long as I get the nifty holo tech as a booby prize.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Agammamon, 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:13am

    How are we going to get the mass shooters to wear the fitness trackers?

    And if we know who the mass shooters are - so we can force them to wear fitness trackers - then . . . we don't need the fitness tracker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Agammamon, 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    Or will the 'signs of a proto-mass-shooter' be 'you don't have a fitness tracker, Echo or Google home, and you haven't logged into Facebook for a month'?

    Why will you not let us in, citizen? We're from the government and we're here to help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:16am

    The government may feel obligated to do something about mass shootings,

    But if refuses to tackle the deep social problems created by a few people owning most of the resources, which is a deep reason for those event, even if the criminal blames the wrong parties for the problems in society.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:17am

    I don't use a fitness tracker. I don't have Google or Amazon spy devices in my home. I usually don't carry my cell phone with me and have location services disabled (for all the good that does). I don't use social media and I have almost zero presence on the internet.

    How long until our benevolent government decides that I'm breaking the law and must install all of that monitoring equipment or face fines or jail time? Or will my nonparticipation be considered an early sign of violent mental instability and I get disappeared for that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Bloof (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:24am

    At this point it's fairy safe to say the Republican answers to gun control aren't guided by research, the opinions of voters or common sense, they're just pulling words out of Mitch McConnell's ushanka. the day after tragedy strikes and trying to cobble together something that sounds like a policy that will play on fox news for a day or two.

    The words 'Gun' and 'Control' aren't in said hat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    There are two ways to think about this. The first is anyone wearing a fitness tracker is loopy and needs close watching. The other is were warrants obtained to place the fitness trackers (aka GPS trackers) on the subset of suspects (we are all suspects, dontcha know?) that wear fitness trackers prior to the placement of those trackers?

    My bet is that HARPA will go both way and only release results when it is in their best interest. The violations of anyone else's rights never happens, because they don't report those.

    Oh, and then there is the concept of a fitness tracker being received as a gift and the gift giver then becomes a state actor, whether they know it or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:38am

    Its so sad that we still can't be bothered with getting actual evidence before trying to do things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    JdL (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:41am

    The best answer to mass shooters with guns is more good guys with guns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:50am

    …says the naïve fool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:52am

    Re:

    And when the fire fight breaks out in a crowded public space, how do you decide who is a good guy and who is a bad guy? Even more important, who do the cops shoot when they arrive, everybody holding a gun?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 11:57am

    it knows what it will really stop and that is fuck all! what it will do is give the government yet another way of gathering information on the people, so it can do whatever it wants, when it wants, for no reason at all! the planet is being enslaved and governments everywhere are doing what they want to achieve it. consider how China is treating it's own people on the mainland and in HK and which countries are saying/doing anything to condemn that treatment. exactly! not a single one, because they all want to do the same thing! not a thing seems to have been learned from WWII and how a particular race was persecuted. human rights are being dismissed, not just eroded, all so corporations can be in control and certain few people can get as much wealth as possible, all the while reducing human rights to nothing! disgusting!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    Only if the 'problem' you're trying to solve is mass shootings not resulting in enough injured and dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Gary (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    The best answer to mass shooters with guns is more good guys with guns.

    YES! And we have proof to back this up.

    Texas has the most guns, and the most state executions. Both proven to reduce crime to nothing.

    And all evidence shows that Texas has the lowest crime rate, lowest murder rate, and lowest amount of gun violence!! With such hard punishment, and so many good guys with guns, Texas has virtually no crime whatsoever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Roy Rogers, 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Netflix has a new movie

    Awake

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Pixelation, 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:13pm

    First, mandate everyone wear one. Second, add kill switch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, the 'the solution to one person with a gun is more people with guns' sounds great... if you don't spend more than five seconds thinking about it.

    Would-be killer(A) pulls a gun in a crowded location, opens fire.

    Person B hears a gunshot and sees A, draws their gun and draws a bead on A.

    Person C, who cannot see A but can see B likewise draws, and hearing a gunshot and seeing someone armed and pointing a gun at another person they cannot see point their gun at B, assuming that they are the shooter.

    (For the sake of keeping things from being really messy the hypothetical assumes multiple people armed beyond just the shooter, all of which are expert marksmen/women and are capable of pin-point accuracy while in the middle of a panicked mob with people everywhere.)

    ... And so on and so forth, to the point that even before the police arrive and are faced with multiple armed people pointing guns at each other, with injured and/or dead people on the ground making clear that at least one of them is a deadly threat, there's likely to be a downright bloodbath as various people all try to play hero and take down the armed shooter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:33pm

    Is atrial fibrillation an indicator of mass murder intentions? Asking for a friend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:35pm

    Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    The best answer to mass diabetes with soda is more good guys with soda.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:47pm

    Looks like we might get part of that imaginary FEMA the loonies have been banging on about since the 90s.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Texas has the most guns, and the most state executions. Both proven to reduce crime to nothing.

    How can one reduce crime to nothing, except by making it legal to execute people, or by executing all people?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    Or we could just ban soda outright? It's not good for you! We know best, just ask us...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:33pm

    Well, we are talking about Texas…

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    A more interesting solution would be that no one has a gun. Police, Military, Citizens... no one. Or more likely they are rendered useless. Let's say thu technology. Maybe from shielding, magnetics, phase shifting, the possibilities are endless. My question is; would we be better off?

    If you couldn't be hurt or forced to follow any particular rule or society code, would you really give a fuck about anything? Some would, but how many? Any of you armchair philosophers care to take a crack at that one?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:45pm

    Re:

    I know inequality is linked to real crimes and problems but blaming it on mass shootings seems quite a stretch for what is a loose correlation at best.

    It seems only marginally more credible than blaming lack of school prayer for school shootings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Unless everyone produces their own food and goods from raw materials, people need to cooperate with other for food and goods, with the higher the technology, the more cooperation required to produce. Currently the biggest problems are politicians who want to control everything, rather than cooperate with others, Trumps trade wars and brexit being caused by political dominance games.

    .

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Just Passin' Thru, 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:53pm

    Bad boys, bad boys Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do When the

    On the positive side, the people most likely to be spirited off for their physiology crimes will be gun owners. I think there's kind of a poetic justice there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 1:56pm

    Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    If the only reason someone can think of not to be an ass is 'someone might shoot me if I act badly enough, so I probably shouldn't do that' then the problem has nothing to do with guns or the lack thereof and is instead on their end.

    Assuming they're not monumentally stupid as well as being sociopathic then it's not that hard a problem to solve even then, as you simply need to point out that they benefit from a cooperative society with rules and punishments in place for violations of those rules, if only to keep other sociopaths from doing to them what they would do to others. If they wouldn't want to deal with the potential of people assaulting, robbing or killing them on a whim it's in their best interest to promote a society where that sort of thing is discouraged via social pressures and/or more strict punishments.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    "as you simply need to point out that they benefit from a cooperative society with rules and punishments in place for violations of those rules"

    Ok. Give me one example in modern society where a unarmed government/population is ruling/being ruled in a cooperative society. Just one working example.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    Any social group or government that doesn't have the threat of death to keep it's members in line, which would be... a good number of them.

    Quick check of wikipedia got this quote with some numbers:

    'The use of capital punishment is usually divided into the four categories set out below. As of July 2018, of the 195 independent states that are UN members or have UN observer status:

    55 (28%) retain it in both law and practice.

    28 (14%) have abolished it de facto, namely, according to Amnesty International standards, that they have not executed anyone during the last decade or more and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions.[10]

    7 (4%) have abolished it de facto, namely that they have not executed anyone during the last 14 or more years and have abolished it de jure, but retain it for exceptional or special circumstances (such as crimes committed in wartime).

    105 (54%) have abolished it for all crimes, most recently: Madagascar (2015), Fiji (2015), Republic of the Congo (2015), Suriname (2015), Nauru (2016), Benin (2016), Mongolia (2017), Guinea (2017), Burkina Faso (2018).'

    As I noted above if the only reason you can think of not to rob/assault/kill your neighbor is because you fear they might shoot you then the problem's on your end, because for most people they don't need the threat of death to not act that way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    I know you’re trying to be snarky, but you just stumbled dick first into the right answer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Unless everyone produces their own food and goods from raw materials, people need to cooperate with other for food and goods,"

    Historically speaking, when have we ever formed a cooperative society when resources became scarce? I can think of a few local instances, but on a national scale, when resource get scarce, we resort to war as a rule, not cooperation. This goes all the way back to cave man days. Hunter's lived longer and better than harvesters (look it up yourself). The reason why is hunters could move on to fertile ground quickly when resources dried up, where gathers could work months only to realize a bad harvest. When that bad harvest happened, the farmers quickly resorted to raiding neighboring farms, or they would starve to death.

    I see all these references to an advanced society where everyone shares and there's plenty for everyone. Where technology, healthcare, basic needs, are all free and peace rules the land. When, in the history of humans, has this ever happened long term? Maybe humans evolve one day, I would like to hope that's possible, but so far all we seem to have done is become more efficient at killing each other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    Why stop there? Cars kill thousands... ban cars... Soda kills thousands.. ban soda... fast food?.. fuck it, that's bad too... Booze? Nothing good can come of that... gone. Drugs? Well.. that's already illegal.. hows that working for us?

    Fucking humans never learn :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    Truely a lovely slippery slope argument. Now did you have an actual point or just more theatrical hysterics?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    My point is; If you think banning something is the answer, then your an idiot "See the U.S.'s failed drug war". If you truly want change, then you have to change the way people think.

    That spell it out for you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:58pm

    Re:

    Nope.

    https://harvardpolitics.com/united-states/good-guy-gun-myth/
    https://www.vox.com/2019/8/5/2075 5047/dayton-mass-shooting-timeline-good-guy-with-a-gun-myth
    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/how- the-good-guy-with-a-gun-became-a-deadly-american-fantasy

    It's a myth. Just the Dayton shooter alone proved that it's bullshit. Police were there with guns. He still killed 14 people. That's not stopping mass killings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: you’re an idiot*

    And yet there are many countries that have virtually banned guns that have vanishingly small rates of gun violence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    So your saying you can't give me an example. The answer is zero.

    Every one of the governments you use as an example rule by force not cooperation.There is no working example of a modern society living under an unarmed government/peoples in a cooperative society. It doesn't fucking exist. Not yet. I'm not sure how you morphed in the death penalty as a basis for an argument, it's not relevant in this context. You don't have to kill someone to rule them under a gun. The threat alone is sufficient.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    It is likely that the supposed war HARPA is going to institute is on sociopaths, and like the war on drugs will fail miserably as the only method to diagnose sociopathy is via extended, competent psychiatric analysis. Sociopathy is already banned, as those who are found to be so are dealt with though various means. The problem lies in how to find those who are not already diagnosed.

    Unlike the war on drugs, there is no current solution for that and HARPA is not going to find it in fitness trackers or social media. They may claim that they do, or did (depending upon the time frame of the claim) but proving that they do or did is a much different matter.

    The war on drugs, unlike the search for sociopathy, has some potential solutions that have not been tried. Prohibition didn't work, and when prohibition was repealed some of the societal issues remained, such as drunk driving or reduced impulse control when drunk and committing acts of rage. We could try legalization along with control and rehabilitation and other counseling formats to help those who need and/or want it, but it would also need taxation that is targeted to ameliorating those societal issues that will come along with legalization. We didn't do that with liquor taxes, shame on us.

    Of course then the problem will be with legislatures who see a pile of money not being used fast enough and they will want it for some other purpose. Think social security for a reference.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: you’re an idiot*

    Ahh... So give up your rights, for some safety. Great idea. Coward.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    There is no 'good' form of government, despite your insistence upon naming one. As someone once said, something along the lines of 'the worst form of government is democracy, except for all the others'. So your point of blaming things on the form of government is ridiculous in that it isn't the government that formats society. It is the reverse, and while it may take some time, and possibly some outside influence (god help us, not the CIA kind) society will form the government they want despite the current regime.

    But your point that the only way to control others is via a threat is not credible either. People react differently to threats. Some take a defensive posture. Some take a quiescent posture. Some pose, one or the other, in the proposition that the 'threat' will be dealt with later, and there are many ways to deal with that threat, and only a few of them involve guns.

    So take your gun fetish to heart. It is your gun fetish, not anyone else's, though there may be some who feel your pain. The rest of us would prefer to deal with gun fetishes differently. And as I just said, there are many ways.

    BTW, HARPA isn't one of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 3:48pm

    "Last week, the Washington Post reported that the White House had been briefed on a plan to create an agency called HARPA, a healthcare counterpart to the Pentagon’s research and development arm DARPA."

    Will this new program fall under the auspices of SPACE COMMAND?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    I do hope you're stretching before moving those goalposts, would hate for you to pull something. If a country explicitly does not allow the death penalty then there is no 'threat' involved that includes death, and the laughable demand of 'find me a government where there is no penalties for anti-social behaviour' is attacking a strawman, having nothing to do with my point that you don't need the threat of violence to convince even sociopaths that working together is in their best interest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 4 Sep 2019 @ 4:24pm

    Sacrificing The Entire Rest Of The US Constitution ...

    ... just to save the Second Amendment.

    Living in a free and peaceful society, they have heard of it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2019 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: you’re an idiot*

    Yes like seatbelt laws, anti smoking laws, food and drug labeling laws, laws on who can practice medicine, gun control laws, etc, etc, etc. You fucking dolt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 6:41pm

    Re:

    It is a mistake to think this is about shooters. This is about taking a step toward totalitarian government.

    The program will operate off of a list of behaviors that will make every person a suspect, just like the TSA behavior lists. Because everyone will be a suspect, the program will be uslesss for identifying shooters.

    You'll be able to tell because there will be just as many shooters as ever that "were not on the government's [oops, not so perfect after all] radar."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Rekrul, 4 Sep 2019 @ 6:58pm

    Give it a few years and they'll claim one of the major signs indicating someone is likely to commit a mass shooting is a person avoiding having tracking and surveillance devices in their life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Agammamon, 4 Sep 2019 @ 8:48pm

    Re:

    So, you're saying cops shouldn't have guns? Take 'em away from the military too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Agammamon, 4 Sep 2019 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re:

    Because, I mean, all the politicians think 'good guys with guns' are the final line of defense when it comes to their own protection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Agammamon, 4 Sep 2019 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re:

    So, the option is to be known as a good guy by being one of the corpses on the floor when the cops arrive?

    Or, rather, being one of the corpses on the floor a couple hours after the cops arrived, set up a perimeter, stood around for a while, waited until the shooting stopped, and then entered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    techflaws (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 10:02pm

    Re:

    Working fine so far, wouldn't you say?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    techflaws (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    You obivously know shit which is why you guys blame all this on violent video games despite pretty much all other country having the same games but NOT the same amount of shootings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 2:35am

    Do-somethingism at its worst

    Politicians pretending to be useful by carrying on a dangerous farce coated in nonsense technobabble.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 3:06am

    "In the wake of more mass shootings, everything coming from up top has been bat shit insane."

    To be fair, everything coming from there at the moment is batshit insane even in the rare week where there isn't a mass shooting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    OGquaker, 5 Sep 2019 @ 3:14am

    Re: more good guys with guns.......

    No where in the Continental US are the odds higher then Odessa-Midland Texas. And, the same with rattlesnakes, been there.

    That played out nicely on the 31st. /s

    P.S. the United States fired 20-50,000 bullets per dead (them) person in the American-Vietnam war (the US Army awarded me sharpshooter marksman badge in 1969)
    I sold $25,000 worth of movie props from the first Star Wars film, but the ONLY question i got was "Did i have any guns from the filming?"

    Guns are like your dick; if I can just get her to look at it.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 3:32am

    Re: Re:

    "So, you're saying cops shouldn't have guns?"

    He said nothing of the sort, although your moronic question does raise another one - if guns are all that stand between you and anarchy, why is there significantly more shooting in your country than in countries where the police typically don't carry guns?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 3:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    Why do you people always turn into raving lunatics attacking weak strawmen whenever it's suggested that maybe you shouldn't have so many murder weapons in the hands of psychopaths?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 3:40am

    Re:

    Well, it's generally suggested that signs of unusual behaviour are a type of red flag that could be monitored. That you don't like the behaviour personally doesn't mean it's a bad thing to check on unusual behaviour.

    For example, it's generally accepted that people live near other people with running water, electricity and so on. There's nothing wrong with not doing any of that per se, but don't be surprised if someone checks on your woodland shack to make sure you're not the Unabomber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules

    I'm not blaming the form of government, I'm simply saying there is no modern example of a working government that doesn't rule under threat. Even in society's where the plebs can't own guns, the government can and does. Do you think if we took away all the guns from Americans that the police would suddenly stop buying up tanks and machine guns to serve their warrants? Guns are a cultural issue, not a governmental one, it's an issue that needs to be addressed. I just don't think throwing the government at it is the answer.

    Somehow you took my argument, immediately assumed I have a gun fetish, and wrote a whole paragraph building your straw man. You wrote all that bullshit and completely missed what I said about humans evolving to where we don't need guns/violence. I see posting here is a complete waste of time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 5:29am

    Re:

    The best answer to mass shooters with guns is more good guys with guns.

    I for one, am all for this retarded experiment. By all means, get more "good guys" to carry guns. And when the police show up and shit their collective pants because they see guns, maybe the Darwin effect will cull the herd of morons who support this half-assed "solution."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "if guns are all that stand between you and anarchy, why is there significantly more shooting in your country than in countries where the police typically don't carry guns?"

    I'm guessing here, but I'll take a stab at this question. I'm thinking in the countries that the police don't carry guns, guns are probably not readily available to the public either, so I'm not sure if the question itself is very fair as a question. I would think it more logical as a statement of fact. I would say, and I'm guessing that even the gun nutz would agree, that in a country where guns are illegal or not readily available, there would be less shootings. I'm not sure how anyone could come to any other conclusion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules

    We are just going to have to agree to disagree. You are completely missing my point and I really don't care enough to explain it further.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    True, my point is that these people seem to think that having both cops and civilians armed to the teeth is the only way to solve these problems, yet the opposite seems to be true. It's far more complicated than mere ownership, of course, but it seems clear than less, not more, is at least part of the answer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The US is one of the few places, where in at least some states, it is considered acceptable for civilians to carry loaded weapons in public, rather than restrict that to hunting grounds and shooting ranges. Having a loaded weapon to hand makes it much more likely that it will be used.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. icon
    Thad (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re:

    So, you're saying

    Thank you for clearly labeling your strawman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's funny. I own guns, I belonged to a pistol league at the local gun club when I used to shoot competitively. I wouldn't consider myself a nut ( although It doesn't hurt my feelings to be called one) , but I do enjoy the right to own them. I honestly don't understand why, on either side of the isle, we cant come up with something that does both allow responsible gun ownership, and keeps the guns out of the hands of the lunatics. Good or bad, guns are part of our culture to the point it's written into our constitution, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have some common sense rules for ownership. I hear ban the guns completely on one side, then I hear 12 year old should be able to own an AK47 on the other. Where's the middle ground here and why the hell wont either side even attempt to meet there? It doesn't have to be all or nothing does it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The US is one of the few places, where in at least some states, it is considered acceptable for civilians to carry loaded weapons in public, rather than restrict that to hunting grounds and shooting ranges."

    There are quite a few things about the U.S. that make it unique. Some of which are not particularly popular, or healthy. If you could wave a magic wand and all the guns, both good guys and bad, where to disappear, then I think we would be ok. But how do you restrict the guns from the good guys, and at the same time make sure the bad guys don't have them? Who is then responsible for protecting my family? Don't you dare say the Police, I'm more afraid of them than some gun carrying red neck.

    "Having a loaded weapon to hand makes it much more likely that it will be used."

    I think everyone can agree this is true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’re an idiot*

    You didn't say gun control, you said "virtually banned'. There is a huge difference. I'm all for reasonable gun control, but that far left extremists "bad the guns" attitude is worse than the right wing nut "arm the 10 year old with an AK". Simply giving up rights to fix a cultural problem is not a solution, its a band aid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    The poster was suggesting banning the guns outright. That's just as dumb an idea as it would be to arm a 12 year old. It's intellectually disingenuous to suggest a country that was founded on individual rights including gun ownership, should suddenly just ban the guns. It's never going to happen. That does not mean we can't/shouldn't have meaningful gun control laws that work. But suggesting we should ban them outright feeds that gun nut, NRA flag flying, red neck attitude that the "liberals" want to take away your guns so we shouldn't allow ANY gun control. It's complete counter productive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    "If you think banning something is the answer, then your an idiot"

    I have a right to own weapons of mass destruction????

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    According to Hollywood, have gun can use it to protect myself or family. In real life most of the time, have gun and injured or dead before you can draw it. Unless you can recognise the threat before they have a knife or gun in their hand, your gun is largely useless, and trying to draw will likely trigger a successful attack against you.

    Besides which, stories about successful use of a gun for self protection are rare, while stories about accidental shootings, suicides and criminal use of guns are very common. An armed population is not proving very successful in deterring crime, but is a significant factor in the cops being trigger happy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73. identicon
    Bub, 5 Sep 2019 @ 10:07am

    Only leftists use "fitness trackers", so could work.

    And that's the fact.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’re an idiot*

    The subject was using soda as a proxy for banning guns. And virtually banned Sounds like really good control if you ask me bro.

    “bad the guns" attitude is worse than the right wing nut "arm the 10 year old with an AK”

    One of those is worse than the others, that part we agree on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Hey Bub the diabeetus take you toes yet?

    “Only leftists care enough about their health "fitness trackers", so could work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76. identicon
    Rekrul, 5 Sep 2019 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, it's generally suggested that signs of unusual behaviour are a type of red flag that could be monitored. That you don't like the behaviour personally doesn't mean it's a bad thing to check on unusual behaviour.

    That kind of goes against the whole presumed innocent thing though. In theory people are supposed to be free to do whatever they want, no matter how strange it might seem unless there's cause to believe that they're breaking the law.

    If you just start checking on people because you think they might be doing something wrong, you're right back in stop-&-frisk territory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 5 Sep 2019 @ 4:19pm

    Why Doesn’t The NRA Practise What It Preaches?

    The best answer to mass shooters with guns is more good guys with guns.

    If this is the case, then why does the NRA ban attendees from bringing their guns to its conventions? Surely having all those guns around would make everybody safer, according to your logic, right? And according to the NRA’s own stated position, too. Yet when it comes to actually putting their money where their mouth is, they seem to run a little ... scared.

    And just to add to that, a bunch of big US retailers are banning customers from openly carrying guns in their stores. There is a growing recognition that, far from making things safer, their presence actually makes things more dangerous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 5:42pm

    Re:

    out_of_the_blue just hates it when due process is enforced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 5 Sep 2019 @ 6:21pm

    Re: As someone once said

    That was Winston Churchill. Who also said “we can rely on our friends the Americans to do the right thing ... after they have tried everything else.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:43pm

    Re: Re:

    but don't be surprised if someone checks on your woodland shack to make sure you're not the Unabomber.

    What kind of "checking"? It's not like you can just walk in without a warrant to look for bomb materials. If they have a fence you probably can't even set foot on the property legally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    Perhaps you should look in a mirror.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 12:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Agreed in full, AC.

    Gun control advocate here, and that is what I mean by "Gun control."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 12:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "In theory people are supposed to be free to do whatever they want, no matter how strange it might seem unless there's cause to believe that they're breaking the law."

    Yes, and every mass shooter story talks about the red flags that could or should have been investigated.

    I understand the slippery slope argument, and I understand that some powers are abused. I also think you shouldn't be waiting for the bodies to start dropping before you start investigating. There is a reasonable middle ground.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 12:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Surveillance is possible without barging in the front door.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 12:44am

    Re: Why Doesn’t The NRA Practise What It Preaches?

    "a bunch of big US retailers are banning customers from openly carrying guns in their stores."

    Only in America would this seem like a reasonable thing to do in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 12:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds bro

    Tell me how I'm wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Faulty basis; assuming 'no guns' = 'no rules'

    I submit Iceland as an example, now settle down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds b

    @AAC, would that you were correct about sociopathy being banned. Alas, it is not, hence the existence of Trump, Johnson, Farage, Proud Boys and assorted other weirdos.

    It's behaviour that we ban, not psychological complications.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 5:41am

    Re: Re:

    That happened to a homesteader Mormon in Vermont. I'm FB friends with her and it was a real eye-opener. I mean, Vermont??!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2019 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’re an idiot*

    "And virtually banned Sounds like really good control if you ask me bro."

    Never going to happen, and the more people try, the more ammo you give the right wing nut jobs. Stop being part of the problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 6 Sep 2019 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds b

    Because painting people with a dementedly hyperbolic broad brush like that is such a good way to convince them you have anything of value to add to the subject.

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92. identicon
    alternatives(), 6 Sep 2019 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that sounds b

    The various "wars" of the nation. Poverty, Cancer and the one on the Pentagon.

    "Dobbs: Also in Washington, the defense secretary today declared war on Pentagon bureaucracy. "

    https://archive.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=1907

    This HARPA thing is gonna be a failure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93. icon
    PaulT (profile), 8 Sep 2019 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that soun

    Where am I wrong, though? Any suggestion of slightly greater control always get these people launching into angry fantasies (this type of commenter., by the way, not all Americans) while there's no doubt that mas shooters are psychopaths. That's why nothing's changing as the bodies pile up

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 9 Sep 2019 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid that

    Perhaps your reflection will help:

    "Why do abortionists want to murder babies so much?"

    There's no more merit behind one position than the other; the sole difference is one of the two you've invested emotionally into.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2019 @ 3:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stupid t

    I'm not sure which argument you're trying to address. Where was I wrong - that people arguing against gun control always seem to make elaborate but weak strawmen, or that there's psychopaths with guns wandering around who probably shouldn't have them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 10 Sep 2019 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how stup

    You do realize that without mind-reading technology, it's not a good-faith request of another to confirm that you actually do see those strawmen dancing in your head.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97. icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2019 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You see how

    Well, you could read the strawman argument I was responding to, but I presume it's easier to attack something I didn't say instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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