MSNBC's Chris Matthews apparently wants Tom Cruise's character from the 2002 movie "Minority Report" to help U.S. law enforcement predict the future and make arrests before a crime is committed. Matthews made the outlandish suggestion Monday night as he was discussing the tragic "Dark Knight" shooting in Aurora, Colo. where 12 people were killed and 50 injured.
Talking directly to Dr. Michael Brannon, a forensic psychologist and director at the Institute for Behavioral Sciences and the Law, the "Hardball" host fantasized about a world where people were arrested before they could commit such atrocities.
"You know, I've seen -- I'm a movie buff, like everybody knows," Matthews said. "I hope everybody remains a movie buff, to be quite blunt about this, because I love them, the experience of going to a theater."
Matthews continued: "But here's the question. I saw a movie called 'Minority Report.' Tom Cruise was in it, sci-fi movie that said you can catch people ahead of time. You can find their projection into the future. I know that's the sci-fi part. Is there any way in real life to figure out a guy like this ahead of time?"
Seemingly surprised by the odd question, Dr. Brannon eventually humored Matthews and answered the question.
"Chris, prediction is very difficult because not a lot of people do these kinds behaviors. In psychology, we talk about the base rate being real low," Brannon said.
"So we don't know a lot about these kinds of people. We know in general what increases risk potential and causes people to be more dangerous, but we don't know specifically what causes someone to do this kind of behavior."
The doctor also explained that only a small percentage of mentally ill individuals commit attacks as horrifying as the shooter did in Colorado.
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What may be even more disturbing is that real-life "Minority Report" technology is actually being developed by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) program, which has moved onto stage two of testing, uses a computer program that analyzes a person's physiological indicators, such as heart rate, and then uses the information to determine whether that individual has "malintent," the intent to cause harm.