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Tag: school shooting

Strikingly Similar Traits Found Among American Mass Killers in Secret Service Study

Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Baptist church in a rural Texas town.

Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A majority of the assailants in mass attacks in the U.S. last year shared strikingly similar traits, a new Secret Service report found. 

An analysis of 28 mass attacks, which killed 147 people and injured nearly 700 more nationwide, found that all suspects were male and 64% experienced mental health issues before the assaults.

Before the attacks, 79% of them had engaged in threatening or suspicious behavior witnessed by others, according to the National Threat Assessment Center report on Mass Attacks in Public Space.

About 71% of the suspects had a criminal history, and one-third had been charged with domestic violence. Two-thirds had a history of violence, though not all of it was reported or ended in charges.

In the five years before the attacks, more than half experienced financial hardships, and 82% “exhibited behaviors that were indicative of aggressive narcissism,” the Secret Service found.

Nearly half of the suspects were driven by a personal grievance, whether real or perceived. 

Less than two months before the report was released, Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school after he passed a background check to buy an AR-15 assault-style rifle.

Cruz exhibited nearly every trait found in a majority of last year’s attackers.

Lawmakers: FBI Lacks Strategy to Handle Tips After Blunder over Fla. School Shooter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich acknowledged to members of Congress on Tuesday that the bureau failed to properly follow up on two warning calls about the former student who gunned down 17 students and teachers at a Florida school on Valentine’s Day.

Lawmakers left the private briefing feeling frustrated and disappointed, saying the bureau’s response offered little to no new information, and the FBI still has no strategy or plan to correct future mistakes.

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

The meeting “raised more questions than it answered,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., tweeted after the closed-door briefing in Washington. “We should have more answers 20 days after the shooting. This was clearly a major failure and Americans deserve swift accountability and reform.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said the lack 0f new information makes it difficult for lawmakers to understand what went wrong and how the bureau could avoid similar blunders.

“A very specific lead was given to the FBI, and they just botched it,” Krishnamoorthi said upon leaving the meeting, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. “Right now we have to find out why that happened. Most important for me is: How do we prevent this from happening again, and how do we actively figure out who is on the verge of committing a similar school shooting or any other act of terror like this?”

The first tip came in September from a Mississippi man, who alerted the FBI to a YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” – the same name as the school shooter. The tipster boasted, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In early January, a caller who said he was close to Cruz warned that “He’s going to explode” and appeared on the verge of violence.

The FBI never forwarded the information to the FBI’s Miami field office, so the tip was never investigated.

Some Republicans are calling for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray, while some Democrats say such a move would be premature.

Growing Fla. School Shooting Conspiracy Catapults YouTube Video to No.1

David Hogg discounted the conspiracy theory on CNN on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The soaring popularity of a discounted, right-wing conspiracy theory that claims last week’s Florida school shooting was an FBI plot was underscored Wednesday when YouTube’s top trending video featured a segment on the baseless allegations.

The video, originally posted in August, claimed that David Hogg, a survivor of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was an “actor,” not a classmate.

In the video, the 17-year-old was featured in an interview with the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles to discuss a dispute between a lifeguard and a swimmer.

The video, which received more than 200,000 views in about 12 hours, was copied and re-uploaded by a YouTube user named “mike m,” who wrote new caption: “DAVID HOGG THE ACTOR …”

Since the massacre that killed 17 people, the conspiracy theory has gained traction among Trump supporters and others on the far right who believe – or want you to believe – that the shooting was an FBI plot to seize power from Americans.

The video was removed by YouTube for violating its policy on bullying and harassment.

On CNN on Tuesday, Hogg disputed the outrageous claims.

“I’m not a crisis actor,” Hogg told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360” Tuesday. “I’m someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that.”

He added, “I’m not acting on anybody’s behalf.”

Right-Wing Conspiracy, Claiming Fla. School Shooting Was FBI Plot, Gains Traction

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A right-wing conspiracy theory that suggests the Florida school shooting last week was an FBI plot to seize more power is gaining in popularity.

The far-fetched suggestions include the assertion that two students who have criticized Republicans for failing to act on gun control were staged by the FBI.

The conspiracy theory gained even more traction after Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., liked two Twitter posts sharing far-right media stories, including one from True Pundit under the headline “BUSTED: Trump-Hating School Shooting Survivor Visited CNN HQ Before the Shooting; Ranted Live on CNN After.”

The crackpot publications have suggested that one of the students, David Hogg, is the son of an FBI agent and wanted to protect his father’s involvement in the plot.

“The kid who has been running his mouth about how Donald Trump and the GOP are teaming to help murder high school kids by upholding the Second Amendment is the son of an FBI agent,” an unnamed author for True Pundit wrote. “David Hogg is a school shooting survivor in Florida. At least that is what the mainstream media has told us. We wouldn’t be surprised by anything involving the FBI at this point.”

As evidence, True Pundit posted a photo claiming to be Hogg at a CNN news desk, wearing a CNN T-shirt one week prior to the shooting.

“But now we learn Hogg was hanging out at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA sometime Before the school shooting,” the story reads. “Before the shooting. Posing behind an news anchor desk? Perhaps Hogg’s career dream is to sign on with the network — a young Jake Tapper — as he has portrayed himself since the deadly shooting that claimed 17 students as a ‘student journalist and entrepreneur.'”

Even some government officials are adopting the conspiracy theories.

Benjamin Kelly, an aide to Republican Florida state Rep. Shawn Harrison, told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that the two teenagers “are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.”

Harrison fired Kelly late Tuesday, prompting Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran to announce the termination.

“On behalf of the entire Florida House, I sincerely apologize to the students targeted and again commend them for their courage through this unspeakable tragedy,” Corcoran said.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio responded harshly to the conspiracy theories on Twitter.

“Claiming some of the students on tv after #Parkland are actors is the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency,” he tweeted

Hogg thanked Rubio for the tweet.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Faces Mounting Pressure over Failure to Act on Tip about School Shooter

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s admission that it failed to properly follow up on a tip about the Florida school shooter has drawn mounting criticism, including calls for the bureau’s boss to step down.

Among those demanding the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray is Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who on Monday also called on the bureau to release “all details” on why it never acted on an anonymous caller’s tip on Jan. 5 that Nikolas Cruz “had a desire to kill people” and had “the potential” of “conducting a school shooting.”

“Last week, our state and nation was shocked to learn of the FBI’s inexcusable inaction after receiving a tip informing them of Cruz’s desire to carry out a school shooting,” Scott said in a statement. “The FBI’s failure to initiate an investigation raises many questions, and the victims’ families deserve answers now.”

Scott last week called for Wray to step down after acknowledging that FBI “protocols were not followed” following the tip.

“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

The bureau also is facing heat from some prominent Republicans in the U.S. House.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., sent a letter Friday to Wray indicating the FBI failed to act on “warning signs that (Cruz) was capable of such monstrous actions,” Homeland Security Today wrote

“The Committees are seeking to understand these protocols and why they were not followed in this case,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote. “Accordingly, the Committees request the FBI brief the Committees on the tip, protocols, and FBI’s actions before and after the incident as soon as possible, but no later than March 2.”

President Trump, who has waged a campaign to undermine confidence in the FBI amid the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, suggested over the weekend that the bureau missed “many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter” because of the resources spent on the Robert Mueller probe.

“This is not acceptable,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

Trump’s response drew heavy criticism, including from current and former FBI officials who pointed out that the bureau employs more than 30,000 people and is capable of conducting numerous investigations at one time.

Some prominent Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, said Scott should not be forced to resign.

“I don’t think the director should resign, no, but there clearly is a serious problem here when you have threat information of that detail and it didn’t get triggered in terms of an investigation and action,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There are only so many cases where you do have good input where people see something and say something, and to not follow up is inexcusable,” Schiff continued. “There needs to be a full internal investigation by the Justice Department and t

Russian-Linked Bots Suspected of Sowing Divisions Immediately After Florida School Shooting

Cyber crime expert, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Suspected Russian-linked Twitter accounts pounced on the gun control debate just an hour after last week’s school shooting in Florida.

Many of the social media accounts, the New York Times reports, had been the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference during the presidential election in 2016. 

“This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”

The news comes after last week’s indictments of 13 Russians accused of waging an unprecedented propaganda campaign to help Donald Trump get elected.

To experts on disinformation campaigns, it’s no surprise that Russian agents quickly seized the opportunity to sow division among Americans. The bots are designed to pit Americans against each other on divisive issues such as gun control, race and immigration.

The bots are “going to find any contentious issue, and instead of making it an opportunity for compromise and negotiation, they turn it into an unsolvable issue bubbling with frustration,” said Karen North, a social media professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “It just heightens that frustration and anger.”

Top intelligence officials warned Congress earlier this month that Russian agents, emboldened by their success during the presidential campaign, are planning a similar disinformation campaign during the mid-term elections this year.

The automated Twitter accounts pounced on the hashtag #Parklandshooting, injecting the issue of metal illness in the gun control debate. Some of the accounts also claimed the gunman searched for Arabic phrases on Google before the massacre.

FBI Admits It Ignored Warning about School Shooter’s Desire to Kill

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI admitted today that it failed to act on a warning in January that suspected mass killer Nikolas Cruz was armed and may carry out a school shooting, the first indication that federal authorities missed an opportunity to prevent the attack on a Florida high school.

The tipster, who was close to Cruz, informed the FBI that Cruz had a “desire to kill people” and there was “the potential of him conducting a school shooting,” the bureau acknowledged in a statement.

The FBI said the information wasn’t acted on and should have been assessed and forward to the bureau’s field office.

“We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received,” the bureau said. “The information was not provided to the F.B.I. Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.”

The bureau also was tipped off in September of a YouTube comment from a user named Nikolas Cruze who boasted that he was “going to be a professional school shooter.”

The FBI is reviewing how it handled the tip, but acknowledged that agents never tracked down Cruz to interview him.

FBI Reviewing How It Handled Tip Months Ago about Florida School Shooter

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is reviewing how it handled a tip months ago about a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz who boasted he was “going to be a professional school shooter.” 

The name is the same as the shooter who opened fire with an AR-15 on Wednesday at a Florida high school, killing at least 17 people.

Ben Bennight, a bail bondsman, said he flagged the comment on YouTube in September and emailed a screenshot to the FBI, who paid him a visit and asked whether he knew the commenter.

The FBI told the New York Times it reviewed databases and conducted open-source checks and is now trying to determine what steps were taken to identify the commenter.

“There was no particular information about the particular time, location or further identifiers about the person who posted the comment,” Rob Lasky, the F.B.I. special agent in charge in Miami, said. “No additional information was found to positively identify the person who posted this comment. There was no connection found to South Florida.”

The FBI said it’s options were limited because of scant information that would have made it difficult to obtain a grand jury subpoena to identify the YouTube user.

“I hope he would have been interviewed by the F.B.I. or referred to the local police assuming he was identified,” said Eugene Casey, a veteran former F.B.I. agent. “I would have done my best to identify the individual who made the threat, but he could have posted it to YouTube from a public computer in a library or somewhere else.”

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