Though many domestic terrorists are discovered only after an attack, the FBI along with local law enforcement do have protocols to try to stop a shooting before it happens. They say tips from community members play a huge role in their efforts.
Retired FBI agent and Allan Hancock College Political Science professor, Dan Payne, says there are several measures in place to stop potential mass shootings. He says, at the end of the day, it all comes down to help from the public.
“What they depend on a lot is public input. Someone says this person is talking crazy, he has a hit list of people, he is amassing firearms, he is amassing ammunition. These types of information filter into the FBI,” said Payne.
Payne says local law enforcement works closely with the FBI, monitoring the internet and specific groups.
“There is also extensive monitoring of the internet. Different blog posts to see if there is any indication that a person is just going from being angry to doing something,” said Payne.
Investigators keep an eye on a number of groups.
“There are a number of identified white supremacy groups, tax groups, majority groups that are in fear of minority groups,” said Payne.
However, Payne says monitoring suspects can be tough to do without violating civil liberties.
“We have so many, as U.S. citizens, a right to privacy and freedom of speech and different things afforded to us by the constitution,” said Payne.
Experts add that the key to prevention is just paying attention.
“You hear a lot about school shootings because students or teachers or instructors became aware of abnormal behavior and reported it,” said Payne.
Authorities say if you think someone is thinking of committing a violent crime, get involved.
Look out for any hate sites they may regularly be visiting online and report the situation to law enforcement.