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Bungie Executive Swatted: This Shit Needs to Stop

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Around 4AM this morning a Bungie executive, responsible for their recent game, Destiny, found himself rudely awakened by the police. The Sammamish, Washington Police Department received a call saying that the executive, who at this time is unnamed and has not commented, had an assault rifle and had placed explosives in his yard while he was holding the family hostage. According to the police department, the caller “wanted $20,000 to release the family.”

Of course, this is all untrue. Instead, it was the common case of “swatting”, which is unfortunately an all-too-popular trolling tactic in the nerd and gaming scene. Sometimes it’s to make “a point”, but most of the time it’s what some people seem to believe is a prank. Let’s be honest, though, this isn’t a prank. It’s far from harmless. It’s costly to everyone involved, and we’re lucky so far that no one has actually been killed.

Earlier this year, Swatting made the news with multiple streamers and gamers experiencing “swatting”, including Caleb Hart, Kootra, and more. The Vice story below explains not only the practices and costs of swatting, but it also does a good job of explaining the social climate around it. I’d absolutely recommend watching the video.

As it stands, punishment for swatting is pretty low, and the chances of being found are even lower. Those caught face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. So far, to the best of my knowledge, no swatter has yet to be caught and charged, which only fuels the apparent boldness of the criminals. [EDIT: I stand corrected. Thank you Nirmal for the link.]

The fact that the practice seems to be used mostly in gaming and nerd scenes only makes the matter worse for us gamers. It adds fuel to the fire for the media’s already negative impression of gamers, and it increases the level of fear in everyone in the industry. The question asked often isn’t “will I get swatted/doxxed/trolled,” but “when”? Honestly, this shit needs to stop, but right now there is no good solution. Still, this shit needs to stop. As the sherrif’s deputy at the Sammamish Police Department stated, “This is not a game.”

You can read more about this incident here.

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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