Patrick Crusius, the El Paso Walmart shooter, was inspired by Brenton Harrison Tarrant, instigator of the 2019 Christchurch massacre, and his 74-page manifesto about “The great replacement” and “white genocide.” Tarrant’s own inspirations were Alexandre Bissonnette of Quebec, who shot up a mosque in 2017, and Anders Behring Breivik who shot 69 people in 2012 in Norway. In Ohio, Connor Stephen Betts was from the other side of the spectrum – he supported the antifa movement and opposed law enforcement.
Both are examples of the butterfly effect, where a one incident can lead to many others. That’s why AI-based, intelligence-gathering technologies such as those on offer from Cobwebs Technologies that can trace back to the offenders are so critical.
Law enforcement professionals use the Cobwebs platform as if it were a simple search engine, entering names, locations, dates, or photos. Behind the scenes, the AI-based solution scans dark and deep web networks, automatically examining a voluminous number of data points. The system searches for text across multiple languages, performs facial recognition, and scans within videos to find details. The end result is a connected matrix, mapping suspicious individuals and activities, connecting the dots among people who could be potential shooters or influencing potential shooters.
“The butterfly effect causes a chain reaction among threat actors,” said Udi Levy, CEO & founder of Cobwebs Technologies. “One incident provides the inspiration for others. That’s why the hours right after the incident are most critical in determining who might be the next shooter.”
Tracking the radicalised
With Cobwebs Technologies tools, law enforcement agencies can use the original posts as part of their investigations to create a pool of “potential candidates” who can be tracked on a longer-term basis to see if they become more radicalised toward action.
Investigations of the connections among these commenters can provide law enforcement agencies with the web intelligence (WEBINT) mass shooting detection tools they need to trace other potential attackers. Keyword analysis of the names of shooters, weapons, and intentions will create an active trail to others, mapping the ripple effect of violence.
Even when sites like 8Chan are pulled down, Cobwebs web intelligence solutions allow the easy and efficient extraction of critical intelligent insights from social media, surface, deep and dark web data sources, directly addressing the need to predict and prevent mass shooting incidents.
“AI-based investigation tools can directly address President Trump’s demands that law enforcement agencies detect potential mass shooters before they strike,” said Omri Timianker, president of Cobwebs. “Social media, racist forums, and dark web forums are providing an active breeding ground for the next terrorist, domestic or international. By following comments on posts glorifying the shooters, sentiment analysis can map groups to discover other potential offenders before it’s too late.”