Just when you thought internet trolls couldn't get anymore stupid, someone comes up with the most ridiculous and dangerous craze yet.
It's called 'Swatting' and its a new internet prank which has been associated with online streamers who frequent the increasingly popular gaming broadcasting website Twitch.
The recent arrest of a gamer by the name of Kootra in Littleton, Colorado is the latest example of just how plain dumb this craze is. In the video, which appeared on major news outlets such as BBC and ABC News, we see Kootra (real name Jordan Mathewson) at his workplace minding his own business and streaming a game of Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Within moments, the door to his office is burst open and several heavily armed police flood the room and immediately force him to the ground. Later in the video we see Mathewson attempt to explain what he was doing, and the new craze of swatting, to some rather confused (and understandable fired up) cops. Check out the video below:
Mathewson was later released without charge.
'Swatting' refers to a relatively new craze of anonymous internet users calling in hoax threats and then directing SWAT teams to the locations of unwitting individuals - many of which are streaming live at the time.
Mathewson isn't the only gamer to be targeted, and the craze isn't necessarily unique to gaming, however the success of streaming site Twitch has increased its visibility and frequency. As you can see in the video above, the fact Mathewson knows he's being 'swatted' before the police even enter the room just goes to show how much of an issue this craze has become for the gaming community and the police in general.
Concerning the above incident, the Littleton Police Department said in a statement:
The caller claimed to have shot two co-workers, held others hostage, and threatened to shoot them. He stated that if the officers entered he would shoot them as well. There were no victims or any evidence that a shooting had taken place. If the investigation determines that today's incident was a hoax, those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Fortunately there were no injuries today. But a massive law enforcement response wastes resources and greatly increases the chances of innocent people being injured or killed.
Of course, these hoaxes are massive waste of the police's time and resources, but there is also another major issue here. These guys storming the building are under the impression there is an 'active shooter' on the loose, all it takes is for the target of the prank to make some wrong move and the whole thing could easily end in bloodshed. It's not like the US needs any more reminders that cops do occasionally shoot the wrong people. You can hear Mathewson explain there is a room which contains prop guns, imagine what could have happened if one of those prop guns was near Mathewson at the time?
Now, I don't want to sound like a knee-jerk pessimist, but if this craze continues, I imagine it really is a matter of time before someone is injured, if not killed.
What do you think of SWATTING?
Source: BBC News