Why Can’t The FBI Profile A White Supremacist Shooter?

white supremacist shooter
Written by David Michaelis

The FBI says it’s almost impossible to predict violence from lone-wolf shooters like South Carolina murder suspect Dylann Roof. That’s a cop out. Here’s why.

aNewDomain david-michaelis-anewdomain— White supremacists are not hiding. They declare their beliefs to everyone they know and on every social media outlet out there. But the FBI isn’t using predictive analysis to adequately profile the next shooter. Neither are the shooter’s parents.

The families of such suspects are, understandably, in denial. They can’t imagine their sons, brothers, and fathers as terrorists. It’s too close to home. But the FBI? That agency does not include terrorizing black communities as part of its war on terror. So it’s not even looking at white supremacist shooters.

This is true even though U.S. President Barack Obama has had to make 14 post-shooting speeches since his inauguration. Here’s the problem.

Lone-wolf terrorists

So what’s the FBI’s excuse?

Dylann Storm RoofTypically it’s the same one that is so frequently used by gun lobby folks. That the shooters are all “mental cases.” The idea is that white supremacist shooters, like the South Carolina shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof, are lone-wolf types who do not understand the rules of the game. They are, according to that reasoning, unpredictable.

This is a cop-out. A greater understanding of lone-wolf terrorism is desperately needed because lone-wolf terrorism is the fastest-growing kind of terrorism. Once upon a time, Islamic Jihadists had this honor, and the FBI wasted no time coming up with a definition and, finally, a profile. You need both to do predictive analysis, which is what the FBI should be doing now with white supremacist terrorists, but isn’t.

The following is a description given for Islamic Jihadist:

Since 9/11, a gradual change has occurred. The real threat now comes from the single individual, the “lone wolf,” living next door, radicalized on the Internet, and plotting strikes in the dark. A lone wolf is an individual or a small group of individuals who use traditional terrorist tactics, including the targeting of civilians.

How predictive analytics connect the dots

Is it possible to find this lone gunman?

Absolutely. What works for identifying counter-terror in Jihadi cases will work for white supremacist terrorists, too. It’s already possible, of course, to do social network analysis to identify relationships pertinent to, for example, The Aryan Nation. It is possible to note, just using the Internet and semi-manual tools, violence and support for that group. Otherwise it will escape notice.

Dylanns-carThe FBI — and yes, the NSA — need to extend their data mining in this respect. Always quick to brag about their data mining capabilities, they just need to reform and reset their priorities.

These days, many more Americans are killed by lone wolf (non-Muslim) racist white men than by Jihadists. This has been true for a number of years.

Don’t believe counter-terror experts who say that identifying white supremacist terrorists isn’t really possible. These “experts” try to offset the responsibility to family, schools, and communities to find “radicalized” youth.

Just remember, though, that no one in his family felt that Roof, the suspect in the South Carolina shooting massacre, was any different from anyone else.

Then again, look at his license plate. The photo was posted on Roof’s Facebook account. Do you think the FBI would have found this image and acted accordingly if such a picture were online and identified a Jihadist through a known Jihadist terrorist organization?

Um, yeah.

For aNewDomain, I’m .

Featured image: Screenshot via Dylan Roof’s Facebook

Body image: Screenshot by David Michaelis

1 Comment

  • Michael what about the problem of false positives and the problem of the american free speech laws? Also, how great is the FBI at finding Islamic lone wolf types like the guy who attacked us here in Canada and shot our ceremonial guard before trying to break into our parliament. I think, in terms of profiling the type of person who does this sort of crime, the FBI MUST know something. Even, I, a lay person can guess a few things such as loner, spends lots of time with hate websites such as storm front and whatever. This is the social media you mention. THe FBI must be tracking it. THe southern poverty law center is. I’m kind of confused.