There's a new "game" that on-line gamers are playing, using the mindless trigger-reflexes of police organizations which respond to calls with swat teams. On the face, it seems mostly harmless, though a major abuse of the system. But maybe swatting lifts a corner off the veil of a possibly far darker possibility, that swatting is used for murder by police, or could be.
Many on-line games include a view of the players, using their computer's camera. A whole entertainment industry has evolved where some online gamers use the camera to "broadcast" their playing on youtube and sites like MLG.tv and Twitch.tv.
Twitch.tv claims to have 45 million visitors a month, and Alexa.com ranks it one of the top 100 websites in the USA. We're talking about a major internet culture and phenomenon here.
Other players will "swat" a player, possibly one being viewed by many others, by calling the police and reporting some kind of a crime. That puts a swat team in motion and the target player is "swatted."
gives a more detailed, encyclopedic description of swatting.
"Swatting is the act of tricking an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing a 9-1-1 dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response based on the false report of an ongoing critical incident. Episodes range from large to small -- from the deployment of bomb squads, SWAT units and other police units and the concurrent evacuations of schools and businesses, to a single fabricated police report meant to discredit an individual as a prank or personal vendetta. While it is a misdemeanor or a felony in the U.S. in and of itself to report any untruth to law enforcement, swatting can cause massive disruption to the civil order and the public peace by the hoaxed deployment of police and other civic resources such as ambulances and fire departments. The term derives from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), a highly specialized type of police unit.
Here's a screen grab from a youtube video of a player being "swatted. The Youtube this was grabbed from is at the bottom of the article. Note the police swat team image in the bottom left corner of the screen grab.
The New York Times gives an example,
""With the live-streaming platforms, it amplifies the entire situation," said James Clayton Eubanks, 22, who says he has been swatted about a half-dozen times while he streamed his Call of Duty sessions. "Not only do they get to do this and cause this misery, they get to watch it unfold in front of thousands of people."
Mr. Eubanks was terrified the first time police officers showed up at his front door in West Virginia pointing assault rifles at his face. It was late 2013, and the officers were responding to an anonymous 911 call. The caller said someone at Mr. Eubanks's home in Morgantown had a bomb and was holding hostages. But the call -- like the ones that occurred over the next few months -- was a prank.
The only violence, Mr. Eubanks told officers when they arrived, was taking place in the Call of Duty video game he was playing online."
The wikipedia article reports:
"In 2009, phreaker Matthew Weigman pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy including "involvement in a swatting conspiracy" and attempting to retaliate against a witness. He was sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison.
In 2013, a number of U.S. celebrities became the victims of swatting pranks, including Sean Combs. In the past, there have been swatting incidents at the homes of Ashton Kutcher, Tom Cruise, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Clint Eastwood. A law in the state of California will make it possible for authorities to require pranksters to bear the "full cost" of the response which can range up to $10,000; the author of the bill, state senator Ted Lieu, was himself a swatting victim in April 2011
There have been a number of incidents where SWAT teams enter the wrong place and innocent victims are killed. Perhaps these episodes are not so innocent. Perhaps, especially with police so willing and able to kill, with the justice system providing impunity, some of these cases are actually murder by swat team.
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
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more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet (more...)