Monday, September 15, 2014

"Swatting" Becoming A Noticable Trend To Gamers

This is about as bad as calling to have your fast food order corrected by calling 911. Why is "swatting" a thing?

For those who don't know, "swatting" is calling in a fake report to emergency services to an extreme level that bomb squads and swat teams are sent out to those who which the caller is taking revenge on. They're all prank calls, and it is a felony in some states to do this because you are wasting valuable emergency resources and time that could be spent saving a life in need. PSA: Don't be a dumbass. Don't swat your friends or enemies.

Lately it's been attracting the gaming crowd, with incidents happening to Alexander Wachs, alias DayZ, 3 times in one month with the most recent episode happening while he was gaming on Twitch (so the whole experience was live streamed). And Jordan Mathewson, alias Kootra, with swat team brandishing their weapons and degrading him at his office for a fake call that he took a hostage. Again, it's not funny. Okay scaring the crap out of someone can be funny around Halloween when you pop out of the ground dressed as a zombie. But when you're abusing emergency services and wasting other people's money and time, instead of allowing police and fire to do the job they are trained to do, it's annoying.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, the FBI has only noted an average of 400 cases annually for each incident dating back roughly a decade. So it's not enough to cause a national outcry, even if it does cost a city a few tens of thousands of dollars for every time this happens. And the original callers are rarely caught: emergency responders at the phone banks are not trained to weed out the real from the fake calls and texts. They see someone writing "there's a bomb at xx place," they are going to respond to it as a real threat to the safety of their city and will act upon it. By then, the burner phone is gone and the original caller is nowhere to be found.

Gamers, it's just not funny. So stop it. I don't understand why it's hilarious to see someone get freaked out when the police break down your door? You would be too, if you were playing a game, reading a book, watching tv, whatever and then BAM! There's a real gun in your face and officers are telling you to get on the ground. I know I would. I don't get the appeal...I really don't. And as hard as I tried to look up comments on forums of people approving the act, there are none to be found. We all condemn it. It's a dumb prank.

And if you're trying to freak out the pro gamer that you don't like, maybe cause his 'street cred' to drop, you're having the opposite effect. Wachs has had an increase of viewers to his YouTube and Twitch channels, and thousands of people have pledged funds to help combat the cause and return those funds back to his local police department. Your joke is failing people. Quit it.

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