6.30.16: Preventing Terrorism Before it Happens & 10-Minute Writer's Workshop

Jun 30, 2016

Identifying potential terrorists is crucial to thwarting future attacks. The challenge is discerning real threats from bravado. Today on the show, how do security analysts survey thoughts?

Then, we’ll learn about two young men who embarked on a bold crime spree, stealing thousands of dollars worth of gold and weapons right in front of their victims…the hitch? It all went down in a video game.

Listen to the full show. 

Preventing Terrorism Before it Happens

On June 12th, Omar Mateen entered Pulse nightclub armed with a handgun, an assault rifle, and rounds of ammunition. Over the next three hours, he killed 49 people and wounded over 50 and called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The very next day another attack, this time at the home of two police officer's on the leafy streets of a Paris suburb, where Larossi Abballa fatally stabbed the officer, then entered the home and killed the officer's colleague and partner, held their 3-year old son hostage. After a three-hour standoff, a tactical team stormed the home,  killing Abballa and rescuing the child. In both cases a question hung heavy on the minds of the public and the authorities....'could this have been stopped?'

New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi examines the difficulty of managing terror watch lists and preventing attacks in her article "How Do You Stop a Future Terrorist When The Only Evidence Is A Thought?"

Prosecuting Online Crime

In 2012, a pair of young men committed a number of robberies – stealing, and eventually selling over eight-thousand dollars worth of weapons and other equipment. It wasn’t an ordinary B&E though – these crimes were committed entirely online, inside the popular video game Diablo III. Understanding how to prosecute crimes that take place in digital worlds is complicated – for example, should theft of virtual equipment in an online game be a felony? Or should there be more leniency than for robberies committed in real life?   

Last year we spoke with Kashmir Hill, senior editor at Fusion’s Real Future column, where she wrote about how prosecutors dealt with a case involving theft in a video game. 

Hand Painted Signs

It used to be that if you needed a sign for the street, or shop window, or a billboard, you hired a sign painter. Now that work is done on computers, and then printed on vinyl using giant machines. And while the heyday of hand painted signs is a faded memory, they haven't disappeared entirely. Roman Mars from the podcast 99% Invisible looks into the history of the craft and discovers a present day sign painting sign renaissance.

You can listen to this episode again at 99% Invisible.org

10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Helen Simonson

For our latest installment of the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop, Virginia spoke with Helen Simonson, who is a delight, and writes delightful books, like New York Times bestseller Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. That was her first novel, btw, published when she was 45 - take that, aspiring writers who think it's too late.  She's now out with her second novel The Summer Before the War

You can listen to this episode again here: 10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Helen Simonson