Swatting was first popularized as a weapon for messing with online gamers, then to harass video game critics during Gamergate, and now to do the same to gun control advocates. Identifying the fringe groups behind all these acts isn't a complicated case to crack. All the lines on the board connect to a single center like an asterisk -- or more appropriately, an a*****e. But while swatting may have started out as a malicious, sociopathic prank by internet trolls, it has become something much more sinister.
Today, there seem to be more news stories about unnecessarily brutal police interventions than those on cute animals at the zoo. People are getting shot by cops just for making the wrong hand movement or walking down the street. Police encounters are all slowly devolving into Dirty Harry scenes in which your survival is as much dependent on your lawfulness as it is on you feeling lucky, punk.
Swatting has already killed someone just like that. Andrew Finch, a random 28-year-old, is now dead over a $1.50 dollar bet made during a Call Of Duty game. While being mistakenly revenge-swatted, he confusedly reached in his pocket, and just in case he was pulling out a pocket-sized laser gun able to pierce their inch-thick body armor, a highly trained fighter with a readied weapon opened fire without flinching. Finch was killed, but the police officer was not arrested or even fired -- he was just performing as advertised. But if SWAT doesn't kill people, who does? Gosh, if only the NRA had a handy slogan to allocate responsibility for that.