With the YouTube Shooter the System Seems to Have Functioned as Designed

Yesterday, a 39-year-old woman, Nasim Aghdam, a self-described vegan bodybuilder and animal rights activist as well as a failed YouTube personality, walked into YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, CA, and shot and wounded three people before killing herself. Apparently, her motive was anger at YouTube over the treatment of her body of work by that company. Initial reports indicated that she had some sort of relationship with one of the people she shot but that narrative has disappeared this morning. Aghdam was an Iranian immigrant–she and her family arrived in the U.S. in 1996, and she appeared in some videos in Muslim head covering, though, looking at the entire picture, I’m very skeptical that she was in any way what would be called an ‘observant’ Muslim.


Because of all of that, I think the odds of CNN holding a town hall meeting on this shooting are fairly slim. And by slim, I mean zero. We don’t know how she acquired the weapon she used (we know it is either an assault rifle or a Glock)

but if she bought it off eBay using Bitcoin, no one in the media is going to care because there is no useful narrative here.

One useful fact to take away from this is that, like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter, there was some warning that she might be dangerous and that warning was communicated to authorities.

Aghdam’s brother told ABC affiliate KGTV that his family reported her missing over the weekend when she disappeared and stopped answering phone calls. The family’s concerns deepened when police said that they had located her vehicle in Mountain View, about 30 miles southeast of YouTube’s headquarters, he said.

“I googled ‘Mountain View’ and it was close to YouTube headquarters. And she had a problem with YouTube,” he told KGTV. “So I called that cop again and told him there’s a reason she went all the way from San Diego to there, so she might do something. So they didn’t do anything, and she got killed … and three or four more people got hurt.”

The San Bruno police chief said it’s unclear who was told of these concerns.

“We don’t know exactly how communication was relayed to the local police department down there and if so, how it was transferred to wherever it needed to be transferred. We just don’t know those answers,” Barberini said on “GMA.”


But that seems to be only a portion of the story:

The night before Nasim Aghdam opened fire in a courtyard at YouTube’s headquarters Tuesday afternoon, Mountain View police found the San Diego woman sleeping in her car.

It wasn’t clear Tuesday night what Mountain View police knew about her history with YouTube.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers had found a woman of the same name asleep in a vehicle early Tuesday morning in a parking lot.

“Our officers made contact with the woman after the license plate of her vehicle matched that of a missing person out of Southern California,” said Mountain View Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson.

“The woman confirmed her identity to us and answered subsequent questions. At the conclusion of our discussion, her family was notified that she had been located.”

This is not to point a finger at the police here but to underline a problem in the entire system. How many of these calls do we think a police department for a moderately large metropolitan area gets in a day? I’m guessing more than one. Probably more than two. Probably a lot more than two. So how do you decide which of these calls you follow up on and which you don’t? How do you decide which need to be checked out now and which can wait until tomorrow or the next day? When an officer checks out a person and she says she’s fine, what then? Do we really want the police sweeping people off the street and into custody based on a phone call? Can you imagine the fun the left would have with that? A lot of us should just move our beds into the local jail.


I don’t know what the answer is here beyond acknowledging that no system is foolproof and no government can protect against all bad things and getting on with our lives.




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