How a Family Almost Got Shot and Gassed: a Swatting Story

Karloff

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Oct 19, 2009
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How a Family Almost Got Shot and Gassed: a Swatting Story


'When you have twenty, twenty five guns aimed at you without the safeties on ... you start shaking.'

Swatting [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/136068-SWAT-Raids-Counter-Strike-Player-Live-on-Twitch] has become an all too familiar occurrence. God alone knows who thinks it would be funny to get someone else shot in a police raid; as Maxcuster X points out, you can't have the internet without trolls. Case in point, Maxcuster's own Swatting, in which he, his wife, his children and his infant daughter were all put at risk by some jagoff who thought it would be amusing to re-enact Grand Theft Auto V.

The story's best told in Maxcuster's own words. He said nothing at the time, hoping to deny the troll his jollies. Whoever it was went to great lengths to ensure the cops would want to come in shooting. It's anyone's guess what might have happened next, if Maxcuster and his wife hadn't realized what was going on and made contact with the police.

"What a game, huh?" sighs Maxcuster. "Real funny." There's not much that can be done, he admits, without giving up the internet altogether. Nice or nasty, doesn't matter; the people who do this are looking for a target, and don't care what or who they hit.

Maxcuster X hasn't given up. He wants to keep on doing the thing that he loves. If you want to see more of his stuff, have a look over here at his YouTube [https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCshY1djWJllhSITYblGPgLQ].



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008Zulu_v1legacy

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Sep 6, 2009
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So do these trolls really think they are getting away with it? 911/emergency service numbers in general, automatically logs your number and address you are calling from (the police system bypasses all those blocked number filters) before the first word is uttered. Can't call 911 over Skype, so you can't hide that way either. Do they not think these things through? Need tougher penalties I say.
 

Karloff

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Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
 

Matthi205

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BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
I think that may be part of it. In most other countries, police forces aren't allowed that heavy armament. It may also be that most of the idiots calling the police haven't been caught.
 

List

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Sep 29, 2013
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My question is, how are they doing this?
I doubt they were using payphones, why aren't they punished?
Why do the trolls know the victim's address to begin with?


Swatting becoming common means that those that do it suffer no consequences, which makes it an attractive tool for "trolling" people.
 

AstaresPanda

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Nov 5, 2009
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Whats wrong with America. Ive not heard this anywhere else. I think the guy is broad stroking abit here if it was the gamin community as a whole then this shit would be happening alot more. I just dont get how they think they can get away with it, i mean remember this 16 year old kid recently that got sent down for years for sending SWAT in to some guys CS stream. But i really diagree that this is ALL THE EVIL GAMING COMMUNITY.
 

Floppertje

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Is this thing common on twitch? not just the swatting but the whole harassment, repeatedly coming back after being banned just for the sake of ruining someone's stream? Has anyone actually seen it happen?
 

Cowabungaa

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BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
Not a symptom as such, just idiots abusing that culture 'for the lulz.' The war on drugs & terror really did a number on US police forces.

The fact that people think this is a silly joke is a symptom of the callousness and dehumanization that comes with the anonymity of the digital sphere.
 

Karloff

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BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
It may have more to do with state borders. If I prank call from Alabama, but the target is in Arkansas, the Arkansas state law can't come after me. The Federals can, but then it boils down to whether or not the FBI's going to spend time and resources investigating what amounts to a wasting police time offense. Of course, if ever someone actually gets shot then things will change dramatically.

Whereas if I were doing this in the UK, and prank called Nottingham while living in Leeds, there are no borders to consider, and the cops will probably be more than happy to turn up at my door.
 

shirkbot

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BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
Matthi205 said:
I think that may be part of it. In most other countries, police forces aren't allowed that heavy armament. It may also be that US law simply doesn't permit for persecution of the idiots who called the police in the first place (as far as I can tell, anyway).
There are penalties for filing false reports with the police, and the level of penalty correlates directly to the lie. If we use this video as an example, the caller will face felony charges (highest level of US crime) for lying about a murder.

I would argue that this is not directly connected to the militarization of police since the threats the SWAT teams are supposed to respond to are things like bombs and suspects that are considered to be armed and very dangerous. They have to take the call seriously, even when it turns out to be utter garbage, because there is too much at stake in ignoring it.

OT: Kudos to Maxcustard, and double to his wife. They faced an incredibly volatile situation and came out okay. But seriously, this can only happen so many times before someone really does get killed, and then nobody is going to be happy. The SWAT team is not a joke and it is not a toy. People fucking die in SWAT raids. Whoever thinks this is funny clearly has no idea just how dangerous the situation they are creating actually is.
 

Karloff

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BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
Most countries it isn't easy to do it. You need a large amount of people calling at once. In Australia, they'd be more likely to send a lone police officer to knock on the guys door first.
 

nightmare_gorilla

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Jan 22, 2008
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yeah, this swatting thing is dumb and really dangerous someone is going to get killed, honestly i'm surprised no one has yet. I hope nobody does but I just feel it in my bones that soon someone is going to react the wrong way and get killed. so seriously knock it off.


i'm curious how anyone thinks this is funny anyway? I can wrap my head around the idea of it being funny to call the cops on someone listening to a shoot em up movie too loudly or playing a shooter game yeah I've heard stories but once it comes down to real honest to god no kidding around assault weapons being pointed at people it's not funny it's just scary, for everyone. my question is when someone does get killed in one of these swat raids will there be any legal liability for the caller? I hope so.
 

castlewise

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Jul 18, 2010
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Its crap like this why stopped bringing my hobby to work with me. I can't be openly part of a community which supports things like swatting.


I don't want to go on too much of a rant, but the Escapist and other videogame news outlets aren't helping by reporting these things. The idiots who do these hoaxes want to be noticed. Letting something they did run amok all over the news sites just makes them feel more powerful.
 

gamegod25

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Jul 10, 2008
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List said:
My question is, how are they doing this?
I doubt they were using payphones, why aren't they punished?
Why do the trolls know the victim's address to begin with?


Swatting becoming common means that those that do it suffer no consequences, which makes it an attractive tool for "trolling" people.
That's what I'm curious about. I mean do they not require the person calling in to give their name and address too? Or at least know their number so they can track them down?

I would think wasting the police's (especially a SWAT team's) valuable time and money on a false alarm would warrant tracking the fucker down and either locking them up or forcing them to pay a large fine. It wouldn't be so funny if the brat was staring down a couple grand in fines or face most of his life in prison.
 

Floppertje

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Karloff said:
BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
It may have more to do with state borders. If I prank call from Alabama, but the target is in Arkansas, the Arkansas state law can't come after me. The Federals can, but then it boils down to whether or not the FBI's going to spend time and resources investigating what amounts to a wasting police time offense. Of course, if ever someone actually gets shot then things will change dramatically.

Whereas if I were doing this in the UK, and prank called Nottingham while living in Leeds, there are no borders to consider, and the cops will probably be more than happy to turn up at my door.
Really? That's how it works? Can't the Arkansas state law just hand it over to the Alabama state law?
Usually I'm all for personal freedom, less government interference and flexibility when it comes to police authority, but if you call a swat team to someone's house, someone who did you no harm and is trying to entertain people, you waste taxpayers' resources and create both emotional trauma and the very real possibility of someone getting killed, all because, at best, you have a misguided sense of humor and want to have a laugh or at worst because you're a gigantic dick and you get some kind of perverted pleasure out of ruining somebody's evening, YOU SHOULD GO TO PRISON!
 

Thaluikhain

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nightmare_gorilla said:
yeah, this swatting thing is dumb and really dangerous someone is going to get killed, honestly i'm surprised no one has yet. I hope nobody does but I just feel it in my bones that soon someone is going to react the wrong way and get killed. so seriously knock it off.
Would we necessarily know if it had happened?

Police raids go wrong ever so often, we might hear that it was "bad intel" or something, but not hear it was a prank.

Personally, I can't think of why anyone would try this unless they were hoping the people were injured or killed. Hell, do this to someone you knew was drunk at the time, or who came from a minority group...
 

tdylan

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I didn't watch the video because the article, I think, explains it well enough. My problem with all of these is that yes "how does it get to this point?" I understand a SWAT team reporting to what they believe to be a legitimate threat, but the "barging in the door, safeties off" does not seem like the best approach to me. I understand that it's not like in the movies, but in those tense situations, do they not worry about shooting the wrong person?

For example, let's say that it is legit, and the criminal has hostages. SWAT barges into the room, the criminal is startled, and a frightened hostage sees this as an opportunity to flee. So they do. SWAT sees the hostage, but only recognizes it as "someone moving quickly," so they shoot first, ask questions after. Now we have a dead innocent person because they didn't bother to gather any intel on the room that they were about to break into. Assume these are real threats: shouldn't they at least try to get an idea of how many people are in the room, and how many of them might be threats BEFORE barging in? And also where they are, so that they don't barge into the room and end up getting shot in the back by someone unaccounted for?

Personally, if I'm sitting at my computer when my door kicks in, I don't think "SWAT team," I think "home invasion. I need to protect my wife and daughter." With that state of mind, I'm not apt to comply just because someone is yelling "get down on the floor." In the panic, for all I know, it's a criminal yelling that at me. Assume they also have lights shining in my eyes so I can't identify them as police, and all they see is a guy running toward them. I get gunned down because "we were responding to a call, breached, and a suspect rushed us." That's what makes these type of situations unsettling to me. Some asshole wants to call the police, fine. They show up? Good. They're being prudent. But if I were to call the fire department saying there was a fire, do they kick in the door with hoses going? Or do they assess the situation first so that they know what they're getting into?
 

Grabehn

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Sep 22, 2012
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tdylan said:
While I'd like to say something else, the short answer for most of the comment is just "no", I remember that one case of an old lady getting shot down because the cops raided the wrong house, and it was pretty much "she had a gun - but you raided the wrong house - Nope nope nope" and it was left in nothing" Or the several "it was the wrong house but the dog barked at me".

While I find it extremely sad that some **** would get off by getting someone else raided by the police, it says a lot when the cops in that scenario will go raid a house and point/yell at people first, instead of actually making sure of what's happening.
 

Scorpid

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I'm glad this dude and his family didn't get hurt, but this is a symptom of militarization of the police. If the police had any sense they might ask some questions. Instead they get one call and strap on the heavy weapons and start kicking doors in. I understand they don't want to be the Police force that allowed something like Columbine or Sandy Hook to happen because they were too cautious but you have to be able to do something find out what you are walking into short of flashbangs and swat teams.
 

Darxide

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BinDipper said:
Question, is "swatting" a thing in anywhere but the U.S.?
I've not heard of any cases outside the U.S.
Is this another symptom of the police-as-military-just-without-the-training culture in the U.S.?
Some French kid was sentenced to 6 months for doing it not long ago. Pretty lenient if you ask me.