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NAT’L – OPINION – Trump plan to head off mass killings is wishful thinking despite latest success

Following months of investigation, federal authorities have arrested Justin Olsen, 18, in connection to online threats against law enforcement and Planned Parenthood.  A subsequent search of his parent’s home uncovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition. We will never know — fortunately — whether Olsen would actually have put his plans into action, or whether it was more a reflection of adolescent bravado. But it does reflect the kind of leakage identified much too late in relation to certain mass shootings of the past. Olsen’s arrest is the type of success that President Donald Trump likely had in mind when he announced following the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, “I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partnership with local, state and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.” Notwithstanding the latest victory over evil, this is largely wishful thinking. We are a population of 330 million people. From that, there are, on average, only about two dozen individuals each year who fatally shoot four or more victims, according to the USA TODAY/Associated Press/Northeastern University mass killings database. These figures present rather long odds for detection.  [full article]

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