Are you in a school shooting right now? There's an app for that

Are prevention efforts being de-funded??!?

If so, I suspect they risk identifying the root causes as deep deep societal problems like concentration of wealth and income, shattering the dream and hypnotic pendulum that keeps everyone sleepwalking.


This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would ever really need an update. It looks like a lighter. Are the developers adding features? Is the OS changing so much that simple apps would break?
Frustrating regardless.


Any conversation that is about addressing school shootings with an app is already derailed.


That’s the gift of sound and vision.

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…easily searchable from estate agent (realtor) websites. Yes.

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Ohhh. People better make sure they don’t have that setting turned on in case there’s a school shooting and they all have to redownload the app they never use!

Schools that are safer now than they were 20-30 years ago (according to an NPR article, IIRC). The safest place for kids to be is still a school, much safer than the bus or car ride to and from school.

But then, we’d have to let the facts get in the way of emotions.

Cue criminals arranging for shots to be fired in several random places some distance from their planned nefarious activity shortly before it is due. Lots of police scrambled to pointless locations and fewer available to deal with the actual crime, as a result.

On the whole, I remain unconvinced this is a good idea - especially in a totally gun-ridden society like the USA.


That’s a bit of linguistic acrobatics right there - and should provoke the questions :

  • Are schools as safe as they should be?
  • Are they as safe as schools in other developed nations (see above)?
  • Are the non-school areas these kids enhabit as safe as they should be?

Ah, the good ol’ “Shut the stable door after the horse has bolted” method of law enforcement. Instead of making it harder to commit the crime, they have decided to make it easier to respond after the shooting starts.


So, this app does two things: let’s you say “I’m in a shooting” and “Guess what, someone in your building says there is a shooting.” Ok, fair enough. Let’s get into the #infosec risk and threat analysis stuff that I do as part of my day job.

  1. How do you vet the users of the app? Are Teachers more trust worthy than students when it comes to reporting? Did they verify that Bill works at Jones HS in Springfield?
  2. What is the threshold for “I’m in a shooting”? One person reporting it; ten? Do you also call 911 on their behalf? What if it is just one reporter, false positive?
  3. Does the app use Geolocation when the user reports a shooting or is present at one? What if you’re the HS teacher visiting the Middle School that day? Will the report be about the wrong school and they send the heavily armed authorities to the wrong place?
  4. Is Geolocation required to be active at all times or just in the app? What is the privacy policy for recording all of this tracking data?
  5. What is the security of the server? If I break into the website/db/etc, I can mine all kinds of data - but I can also trigger a shooting alert somewhere and this alert will be in Bill’s name. How does Bill prove he didn’t do it? (Hint: extra lawyers he cannot afford).

That’s enough paranoia for now. I’m sure, after moving coffee, I’ll think of more fun attack vectors. Enjoy.


" Are you in a school shooting right now? There’s an app for that
… Or you could be in Canada, which hasn’t had a double-digit mass shooting since 1989 and still has elections, personal freedoms, non-gulag-based housing, etc. etc.

America: My personal liberty to own a bang-bang toy and feel like a man for a change is more important than your kids not getting fricking shot.

I know we’ll never get guns out of the hands of Americans, but couldn’t we at least treat them like cars? Licence; Title-and-registration transferred on approved sale; re-testing; and finally, private insurance per-gun to even have it in your house, with the fees based on your record, your training, your gun, etc. Would NRA dorks really object to that? Because it may be the only way to end the free-fire zone from Border to Border and Coast-to-coast.


Is it an “Always on” app? Does it turn on only in designated location? I imagine that if this has any sort of success there will be spin-off apps.

“You’ve kept your kids safe at school–don’t you deserve the same safety at home, the grocery store, workplace and post office?” or “This location proudly protected by the ShotsRecorded App!” or “You caught the bullet! Why didn’t you download the app!?”

Will it send cops everywhere on 12/31s and 7/4s or will it be ignored for accepted days of general stupidity?

[Bang sticks] > [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness]


Why even pursue happiness if you aren’t equipped to engage and neutralize it on contact?


So basically, “Eh, good enough.”

How about no one gets shot?

The thing is, the schools are safe, it’s the culture that’s dangerous. Rather than solve the problem of crazy people we guns, we want to wrap the schools in bubble wrap. That’s like treating pneumonia with dextromethorphan. Sure, it takes care of the cough, but you’ve still got pneumonia. The illness is the stigma of metal health in the United States and the idiocy of not requiring gun owners to have proper training and to require insurance on their guns (much like we have insurance on cars).


If someone is dying from a sickness, you treat both symptom and cause. Your doctor doesn’t say “Just take antibiotics for that bacterial infection”, they also tell you to take something for your fever too. Because both can create problems in the long term.

School districts are independent, and have no legislative authority on anything governing gun rights or mental health funding. They’re treating the symptoms as best they can till the larger infection is cleared up.

Same way we all are on infection. Whether it’s voting, protesting, running for political office, or giving a teenager the care and attention and mentorship they don’t get from teachers and students and parents.

People are trying. Last fall showed that. Cut us some slack.

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How about we shouldn’t live in a world where we need an app for that?


See Shotspotter, which has been deployed at city scale for a decade or so. In LA, they had a problem with officers arriving too soon to ongoing shootings, which seems like a good thing, but had some significant tactical downsides.

While pushing apps onto every kid’s phone seems like a great way to traumatize a generation of kids, having indoor gunshot detectors in public buildings does seem like a reasonable thing given that the United States is awash in made-for-military weapons and even in a the most optimistic scenarios, will be for decades.

In conclusion, ban all guns.

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