• Broader background checks, denial criteria may help prevent mass-shooting catastrophes

    Garen Wintemute, a leading authority on gun violence prevention and an emergency medicine physician at the University of California, Davis, believes broader criteria for background checks and denials on gun purchases can help prevent future firearm violence, including mass shooting catastrophes such as those that occurred at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Columbine

  • Proliferation of license plate readers worry privacy advocates

    Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology has taken off in recent years, and the police says it is the greatest innovation since fingerprints and DNA; the technology has changed the way police finds cars  connected to crimes, but in the process it has upset many privacy advocates

  • Four-legged robotic mule now voice-controlled

    DARPA researchers demonstrated new advances in the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) four-legged robot’s control, stability, and maneuverability, including “Leader Follow” decision making, enhanced roll recovery, exact foot placement over rough terrain, the ability to maneuver in an urban environment, and verbal command capability

  • Louisiana parishes to encrypt police radio communication

    First-responder agencies in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines parishes in Louisiana will soon be encrypting all emergency radios,  keeping emergency response chatter out of the ears of the public; the police says the   encrypted communication is needed  in order to keep criminals from gaining information on police by listening to scanners, but a police union and crime-prevention groups are worried that the encrypted system would prevent the media from monitoring police activity, and hobble neighborhood watch organizations from keeping their neighborhoods safe

  • Downloadable, printable gun technology may change gun-ownership landscape

    An Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed says its mission is to create the WikiWeapon: a downloadable Internet file which will allow users to print their gun on a 3D printer; when the development process is complete, “any person has near-instant access to a firearm through the Internet,” the company says;the company adds: “This project might change the way we think about gun control and consumption. How do governments behave if they must one day operate on the assumption that any and every citizen has near instant access to a firearm through the Internet? Let’s find out”

  • Major surveillance law heading toward its own end-of-year cliff

    While coverage of the tense negotiations over a resolution to the fiscal cliff threat has dominated the media, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments of 2008 is heading for a cliff of its own, as the provisions of the act are set to expire at the end of the year

  • Army engineers develop new roadway threat detection system

    Explosives along roadways remain an unrelenting hazard for deployed soldiers; U.S. Army engineers have developed a system for detecting possible threats by identifying potential threat locations on unimproved roads; the system can perform region of interest cueing of threats at greater standoff distances, which can be further interrogated by the radar as the vehicle gets closer to the threat

  • Maintaining robust communications in congested and contested environments

    Radios are used for a wide range of tasks, from the most mundane to the most critical of communications, from garage door openers to military operations’ as the use of wireless technology proliferates, radios and communication devices often compete with, interfere with, and disrupt the operations of other devices; a new DARPA challenge is looking for innovative approaches that ensure robust communications in such congested and contested environments

  • In Oklahoma, even rumors of threat of school violence are taken seriously, and investigated

    Threats of violence in schools must be taken seriously, even if the threats are nothing more than rumors; in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police and school officials take every threat seriously, even if it is nothing more than gossip

  • Seattle debates use of drones by police

    The debate between law enforcement and privacy advocates over the use of UAVs is now taking place in Seattle; since President Obama signed a bill in February pushing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow the use of civilian drones in America by 2015, many law enforcement agencies have been preparing to use drones

  • Budget cuts cause states to lose ground on emergency preparedness

    A new report examines the preparedness of states for different emergencies, including plans to evacuate children from schools, vaccination requirements, disease outbreaks, the ability to deal with chemical terrorism, staffing for a prolonged infectious disease outbreak, having a multi-hazard written evacuation plan, Medicaid coverage of flu shots, nurses’ ability to work in other states, and other emergency factors; the report found that only five states met eight of the ten measures used to evaluate public health preparedness

  • Is stricter gun-control legislation more likely after Newtown shooting?

    An American politics professor, specializing in the relationship between public opinion and legislation, says that the relationship between mass shooting and gun-control legislation is not straightforward;thus, there was a spike in support for gun control after Columbine, but not after the Virginia Tech, Tucson, or Aurora shootings; “The Newtown shooting is different than those shootings in some respects, especially because many of the victims were young children. But the magnitude of this tragedy may not be sufficient to produce stricter gun-control legislation at the federal level”

  • What we know, and what we can do, about school shootings

    Since the early 1970s, school shootings at American elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions have been a painful reality for American society; after each incident — like the recent attack in Newtown, Connecticut — there is voluminous dialogue about what can be done to prevent the next such tragedy; a new study explores what we have learned about these tragic incidents, and what can be done to prevent them

  • New Mexican government to set up a new police force to fight drugs, crime

    Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto has said his government would create a new national police force as part of a new approach to dealing with drugs, crime, and violence; Pena Nieto took office on 1 December; the new, militarized police force would have about 10,000 officers initially, but would eventually grow to 40,000

  • Connection between goth subculture, mass shootings appears tenuous

    Classmates of the otherwise bland and elusive Adam Lanza, who last Friday killed twenty children and six adults at the Sandy Hook school in Newton, Connecticut, described him as “goth”; is there a “goth” connection in the Newtown school shooting? The question is asked because news reports have connected several perpetrators of both mass shooting and killing on a smaller scale to goth culture; a closer examination shows that the relationship between goth and mass shooting is tenuous