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Already 5 Potential Parkland Shooter Copycats' Weapons Caches Have Been Seized Since the Shooting

February 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Gabrielle Gurley, The American Prospect

Law enforcement officers thwarting school plots seize caches of weapons as the gun debate continues.

In the wake of the Parkland massacre, amid the din of CNN town halls and CPAC chest-thumping, the copycats slink out. Every school shooting leads to an uptick in threats to schools. Police must investigate people who post photos of AR-15s with callous captions on social media, along with students who think threatening a massacre is funny.

But there’s been little attention paid to the sum total of post-Parkdale disasters-in-the-making that have been prevented. Law enforcement officials responding to tips in multiple states have discovered caches of weapons in the homes of young men who have made threats against schools, some of them featuring the same AR-15 semi-automatics used in Parkland.

Some of the incidents since the February 14 shootings:

  • A Whittier, California, school resource deputy heard a 17-year-old student say that “the school will be shot up in three weeks.” When sheriffs raided the teen’s home, they found 90 high-capacity magazines, two handguns, and two semiautomatic AR-15s.
  • An 18-year-old Clarksburg, Maryland, high school student brought a knife and a loaded 9mm handgun to school. When police raided his home, they found an AR-15, several other weapons, along with a list he’d made of his issues with school.
  • During an investigation into a 17-year-old student’s threats to shoot up a Manistee County, Michigan, high school, sheriffs found an AR-15 in the young man’s home.
  • After an 18-year-old former student made threats against a Fair Haven, Vermont, high school, police discovered that he had purchased a shotgun and ammunition, and had been recently released from a Maine mental health facility.
  • Riverdale County, Nevada, sheriffs arrested a 27-year-old man who had threatened to kill students at Norco College. They located one loaded AR-15; two handguns, also loaded; and 510 rounds of ammunition.

When a high school student with grievances can put an AR-15 on layaway—as one Arkansas high school student did two years ago—Congress has failed in its most basic responsibilities to the American people. By clinging to interpretations of the Second Amendment that have been discredited by every mass shooting, the senators and representatives overlook a key …read more


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The Technology Being Used to Control Workers by Tech Companies Is Freakishly Dystopian

February 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Thor Benson, In These Times

Workers are facing an increasing amount of on-the-job surveillance.

You’ve been fired. According to your employer’s data, your facial expressions showed you were insubordinate and not trustworthy. You also move your hands at a rate that is considered substandard. Other companies you may want to work for could receive this data, making it difficult for you to find other work in this field.

That may sound like a scenario straight out of a George Orwell novel, but it’s the future many American workers could soon be facing.

In early February, media outlets reported that Amazon had received a patent for ultrasonic wristbands that could track the movement of warehouse workers’ hands during their shifts. If workers’ hands began moving in the wrong direction, the wristband would buzz, issuing an electronic corrective. If employed, this technology could easily be used to further surveil employees who already work under intense supervision.

Whole Foods, which is now owned by Amazon, recently instituted a complex and punitive inventory system where employees are graded based on everything from how quickly and effectively they stock shelves to how they report theft. The system is so harsh it reportedly causes employees enough stress to bring them to tears on a regular basis.

UPS drivers, who often operate individually on the road, are now becoming increasingly surveilled. Sensors in every UPS truck track when drivers’ seatbelts are put on, when doors open and close and when the engines start in order to monitor employee productivity at all times.

The technology company Steelcase has experimented with monitoring employees’ faces to judge their expressions. The company claims that this innovation, which monitors and analyzes workers’ facial movements throughout the work day, is being used for research and to inform best practices on the job. Other companies are also taking interest in this kind of mood-observing technology, from Bank of America to Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc.

These developments are part of a larger trend of workers being watched and judged—often at jobs that offer low pay and demand long hours. Beyond simply tracking worker performance, it is becoming more common for companies to monitor the emails and phone calls their employees …read more