The Uvalde school district that was involved in the horrible mass shooting that occurred Tuesday in Texas was involved in a program to monitor student’s social media to stop such mass killings. The service was made by a company named Social Sentinel.
Shortly before the shooting, the gunman posted on Facebook “I’m going to shoot my grandmother” 30-minutes before going to the school. He then posted “I shot my grandmother,” and 15-minutes before showing up at the school, he posted “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
The shooter, Salvador Ramos, bought two rifles that he posed on social media with and tagged people with in a frightening warning about what was to come.
According to Social Sentinel, the service uses advanced linguistics technology to scan online content and flag potential safety concerns. The software scans thousands of student’s social media accounts and uses AI learning to find posts that fit its criteria.
Below is a video of Social Sentinel’s Founder and CEO Dr. Gary Margolis’ giving a speech describing the program. In the video, he says that they are in 35 states and says that they monitor millions of pieces of online content.
Social Sentinel describes their service as the “ethical and responsible approach to staying ahead of threats discussed digitally.”
The company mentions that they do the scans “while respecting Constitutional Rights to privacy, freedom of speech, and the right to assemble.”
The tech was supposed to alert school leadership in the school district about signs of an impending crisis or mass shooting and warn them before an event occurs.
In the case of Uvalde, the program was a complete failure. It did not spot Ramos’ posts and school officials were painfully unaware of what was about to happen.
Ramos has since been described as a troubled student, who had all but dropped out of high school, and lonely. He was often teased about having a lisp, wearing eyeliner, and how poor his family was.
The school district has a policy that tells students, “parents, staff, and community members are encouraged to share information that is deemed troubling’ with the district using a reporting system’ so that it can ‘take appropriate action.”
People who knew Ramos described him as “quiet” and many have pointed to his troubled past in a violent home as reason for the massacre.
A former friend of the shooter, Santos Valdez, told the Washington Post that he used to play Fortnite and Call of Duty with him until he began behaving more and more erratically. One example was when Ramos showed up to the park with self-inflicted cuts on his face that Valdez were there because he wanted to look more intimidating.
Ramos stopped attending classes and was not going to take part in graduation next month. He began working at Wendy’s instead.
Police have now confirmed the death of 19 children and two adults massacred by Ramos. President Joe Biden has politicized the event to push for more gun control and removing the ability for people to buy rifles like the ones used in the shooting.
“The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong,” said Biden to the nation on Tuesday night. “As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name will we stand up to the gun lobby?”
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep on letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone?” Biden implored the nation.
Do you think that Social Sentinel completely failed in it’s role to prevent the shooting?