Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kalamazoo Shooter was Driving for Uber Between Shootings

On Saturday, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, three shootings occurred within seven hours of one another. Authorities believe that all three of these shootings were committed by the same person, Jason Dalton, an Uber driver. Authorities now have reason to believe that Dalton was even driving Uber customers in between the shootings. A source suspects that he was even looking for more fares after the last shooting, which killed four people and put a fourteen-year-old girl in critical condition. Dalton was arrested at 12:04 a.m. on Sunday morning. Authorities found a handgun in the back of his car at the time of his arrest.

One of the more peculiar parts of this case, however, was that Dalton's neighbors, the Pardos, described him as part of a 'typical American family' (CNN). Besides from spontaneously shooting in his backyard or into the sky, another longtime neighbor, James Block, said Dalton was a "'well-mannered' and pleasant" man (NYT).

The motive of these shootings is still unknown as Dalton is predicted to be formerly charged with "six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, [and] six counts of felony firearm" on Monday (CNN).

Kalamazoo is another city to add to the long list of cities that have experienced mass shootings within the past year or so. Why do you think there have been so many mass shootings recently? Is it because of lenient gun control laws? People's need to make a political statement? What do you think the federal, state and/or local governments should do to prevent these shootings? 


Kristen Tamsil said...

I believe there are multiple factors that need to be considered regarding this shooting incident. One is the ownership of guns. The other is Uber's responsibility as a business that provides services to the public. They are really independent factors that unfortunately are linked in this particular incidence. The same argument about gun laws apply here to this incident. Mr. Dalton clearly is not mentally stable and have been known by their neighbors, although he has not caused disturbances in the area, have been seen to be paranoid. Why would he be allowed to posses guns? How does the law enforcement or even the gun dealerships/industries even are held accountable if customers such as Mr. Dalton was allowed to purchase guns and did not exhibit signs of mental disturbance at the time? The gun can't check that for their owners. It can't report that the owner has gone mad. There has to be a "totality" in gun laws. It's black and white. Gun purchases can be made only by certain group of people (law enforcement, hunters, military and so on) and disallowed or severely restricted for the rest of us. This is the 21st century. Just because you have an expansive property in the remote corners of America does not automatically mean you are allowed to purchase guns to protect your property for example. It's not necessary anymore. Removing as many guns from the homes and streets of America is the only way to gain sanity in reducing these incidents of "mass shooting". Clearly, one has to be mentally disturbed and deranged to commit these unspeakable act of violance. The second part of the discussion is about corporate responsibility. Why someone like Mr. Dalton was hired by Uber? What more could Uber do to promote the safety of its services? Uber is one of the first "Gig Economy" company that disrupted the world of paid transportation. For the longest time, there is only the same number of ways to get from Point A to Point B. Now, everyone can be a taxi driver. Or so it seems. Uber might argue that the same incident could have occured if Mr. Dalton is a regular taxi or bus driver. But Uber has been allowed to make so much money, penetrated so many countries and cities in the mean time, that the regulation that was applied to public or private transportation providers for centuries had not been properly applied to Uber. Why? Because it will make Uber be like those companies to begin with. Did Mr. Dalton actually carry his weapons in between shootings? How in the world is Uber going to prevent that? The only sensible answer is to ensure Uber drivers pass strict background checks, including mental state. Uber should periodically mandate these checks and if it can track its fleet of registered cars around the world, Uber can track its drivers as well, Their driving records, customer feedback, health checks and so on. Uber will make "less" money because of the cost of doing this, and the reduction in the number of eligible drivers and cars, but a new "Gig Economy" also require the safety and common sense regulations to catch up.

Abhishek Paramasivan said...

The increase in mass shootings lately has a variety of probably reasons. One might be the gun laws in the area. Michigan has an indirect open carry law, by not restricting carrying guns but not directly saying it is legal, meaning that it might be less likely that people would be alarmed by the gun in his car. It was stated in the article that he seemed like an average person married with two kids, no previous criminal record. This does somewhat point to a reason being that he wanted attention, considering how much attention mass shootings get in the national media. I think that state and federal governments heavily regulating the sale of guns and providing an environment where people know that going on a mass shooting is never an option and provide help and safety to its citizens.