Friday, October 02, 2015

Umpqua Community College (OR) Shooter Targeted Christians

What the hell does one even say about this?
   We have to figure out how to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are crazy and/or evil. This is madness.
   Apparently this lunatic was spouting off on 4chan very recently. Nobody took him seriously, of course, so, as is their wont, faux egged him on as a way of making fun of him. That will obviously be misinterpreted/spun by the media as actually egging him on. 
   I've sometimes conjectured that one difference between people who grew up with the internet and people who didn't is that most of the latter think that words matter, whereas at least some significant chunk of the former think something like: words don't matter. Or, I don't know, maybe it's just that words on the internet don't matter... This would explain why so many young whippersnappers think that it's absurd for people to get upset by things said on the web. I don't know. But I do know that a lot of time and panic will be expended on Wolf Blitzer & co. breathlessly talking about the mysterious hacker 4chan urging the murderer to murder. Incidentally, there's also that case going on about a kid's gf urging him to commit suicide...though she seemed more serious...though perhaps not totally serious...  Actually, of course, words do matter. Though working out the details of that point isn't all that easy.


Blogger The Mystic said...

I would be wary of oversimplifying the 4chan matter. Did you read the thread? Not only did some genuinely encourage his actions, but some provided what can only be considered serious technical advice regarding their accomplishment. Some responded with utterly non-sarcastic enthusiasm in support of the idea, and a good amount actually celebrated the shooting upon its completion. Some asked that he target "chads and stacies," many cited the "beta uprising," referring to the communities which genuinely see themselves as slighted by society, popular kids in particular, with violence of this exact nature as the only recourse to rectifying the situation.

I hate the media frenzy as much as anyone, but we must admit that 4chan is not purely comprised of hecklers in this regard. There are genuine, deranged communities desirous of this sort of thing, and it seems relatively undeniable that some of their members appeared in the thread. Of course, they were alongside those who did as you described, mock-encouraging the person (often making their mockery clear in the process). Others implored that he not do it for a wide range of reasons, some being the immorality of the act, and others being the practical consequences of increased scrutiny on gun owners that they feared would result if he were to actually carry out his threat.

Sadly, I don't see any way to keep citizens who have done nothing to warrant increased scrutiny upon themselves, yet who are bent on the commission of these acts, from obtaining legal weaponry. My guess is that, like the last shooting of this nature, no gun control measures being proposed could have stopped this person from acquiring weapons necessary to the crime's commission. And I'm afraid the country is too inundated with such weaponry to draw it all back out now, not to mention the insane backlash that would occur if such a thing were attempted.

In regards to your Internet theory, I grew up with the Internet. My guess is that the Internet creates a callous reaction to horrible words rather than the idea that "words don't matter." Most people I know who are slow to anger at the Internet in the way you describe certainly believe that words matter in the sense you are employing, but it seems widely agreed upon that the Internet will yield to even casual investigation torrents upon torrents of outrageous nonsense. Were one to become angry at such things, one would simply be angry all the time, and that's neither desirable nor accomplishable.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Very reasonable, and thanks for it, M.

I read only a fairly lengthy excerpt published on Reddit. It all seemed to me to be that contemptuous faux-egging-on--you know what I mean: basically: you're so pathetic and feckless that I'm not even going to pretend to care that you say you're going to murder people. In fact, I'll give you advice on how to do it...(because you aren't going to do it.).
But, as noted, I didn't read the whole thing--and your interweb intention-detector might be better than mine.

It's not really so hard to believe that some would seriously push him to do it... If there are people who will really do it, then there are people who will seriously goad people to do it...

12:31 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

I think 4chan is useful in that it gives a hint as to who is up to what. I also think the government should subpoena the hell out of forums like this and use the results in firearm sale background checks.

4:32 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

So...every time someone goes to purchase a think society should scour the Interwebs for any possible thing that person might've said which could preclude him from owning a gun?

I'm guessing you're not being serious about that suggestion? If you are... are you thinking we need to leverage NSA dragnets put up to capture any and all Internet communications to meet that goal? 'Cause without that, I'm not sure how you recommend identifying the owners of anonymous 4chan accounts with the pace necessary to service background checks.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Mystic: Who said anything about a dragnet? The swamps where these guys hang out are well known. No dragnet required.

6:18 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...'d have to identify the holders of the accounts? They're anonymous, and any information contained in them is not to be believed without you'd recommend issuing subpoenas to 4chan to determine..what? IP addresses used by those who make use of these accounts? Then you'd need to subpoena the ISPs to figure out who might be using those addresses, and since it's 4chan, they're probably routing through a proxy service or Tor... so then you'd need to subpoena everyone involved in those infrastructures...

Totally infeasible suggestion without an NSA dragnet, basically. You can't chase down every owner of every 4chan account (much less the owners of accounts on all the swamps of the Internet) on a regular basis for use in background checks of specific people. That's crazy talk.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

They already do that all the time. Did you read the captured web page? One guy warned he was going to shoot up a school in N. Oregon. Other guys egged him on. Both of those are sufficient cause.

3:30 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

"They" already do what all the time? What does sufficient cause have to do with the technical feasibility of this prospect?

Pardon the bluntness, but you maketh the no sense.

11:36 AM  

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