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FBI launches new initiative hoping to bring more awareness to mass violence

Posted at 6:05 PM, Jul 10, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "Prevent Mass Violence" is the name of a new FBI initiative. The goal is to educate people that most mass shootings don't happen randomly, but are rather well planned out. KMTV asked FBI Omaha Special Agent Eugene Kowell why this initiative is rolling out now.

"This is just part of a sustained effort the FBI has to bring awareness to targeted mass violence and the critical role that bystanders play," said Kowell.

Kowell and other agents hope the public will come to recognize concerning behaviors and report them to authorities. Some of the most common concerning behaviors, the FBI said are comments, jokes, or threats about violent plans.

"No one in our community, no one in our country, should have to fear targeted violence," he said.

But advocates like Melody Vaccaro with Nebraskans Against Gun Violence said while this is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done locally, like instating red flag laws. Those laws would give judges power to temporarily remove weapons from anyone proven to be a danger to themselves or others. Twenty-one states have adopted some form of this law; Nebraska and Iowa have not.

"When it comes to guns and people who are showing to law enforcement, their family, that they might not be safe with guns, there is simply no place we can have that conversation if they should have guns," said Vaccaro.

Even without those types of laws in place, the FBI still said saying something is a powerful step when it comes to stopping something tragic.

"We think the greater degree that people are aware of these indicators, some that might be the path to violence and know how to report it, we think it will have an impact," said Kowell.

To report any behaviors you think are concerning, Kowell recommends contacting the FBI or local law enforcement.