Last week, I wrote about an “S” activity that I had recently learned about. It was called salvaging and although it didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, I respected it and admired the people who practiced it as it did benefit the greater society.
However, this week I learned about yet another “S” activity that I am not so keen about. In fact, I am using weak language because “not so keen” doesn’t begin to describe how much I hate it. A few days ago, I learned about the detestable practice of swatting.
Swatting is when someone will call the authorities to report a person for engaging in a crime that necessitates the response of a SWAT team or other highly tactical law enforcement agency. The kicker is that the person being reported, besides perhaps upsetting the fragile ego of the caller, committed no crime. Yes, the caller will spin some outrageous lie usually dealing with a hostage situation and drop the address of whoever they want to “swat.” The trained professionals will dutifully respond with the intent of neutralizing a threat. Confusion abounds.
This practice of swatting is prevalent in gaming culture. A couple of dudes feuding over the outcome of an online video game will escalate their drama to a point where one feels the need to mess with the time, resources, and lives of others to “make a statement.” It is a pathetic, selfish act.
They say each swatting call costs the responding unit approximately $10,000. But even that blatant waste of money is minuscule compared to the loss of life that has resulted because of the abhorrent stunt. I learned about swatting from a new Netflix series called “Web of Make Believe” in which one episode deals exclusively with swatting. In this particular program, a tragic story is told about one swatting incident in which the caller gave the dispatcher a wrong address. When the SWAT team responded, a confused man walked out of the house and was killed.
My dad told me a certain true story more than once growing up. When he was in elementary school, a classmate pulled the fire alarm for the sole reason of causing a disturbance. The responding fire truck got into a collision on the way to the school and one of the fire fighters lost his eye. My dad’s classmate had a tough time living with that guilt.
Now for some reason, I don’t think many of these swatters feel any remorse for their actions. But just like with the fire alarm, high risk stunts have awful ramifications. If these people don’t think twice about putting a whole bunch of others at risk, there must be some type of deterrent or penalty imposed. Sadly, it might just be taking their video games away. Don’t Blink.