‘Swatting’ And Gamer Culture: Life Imitates Art.

‘Swatting’ And Gamer Culture: Life Imitates Art.

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The moment of desperation...

The moment of desperation…

The online gaming world is no place for the easily rattled. Recently, a strange phenomenon known as “swatting” has begun to emerge. In essence, players are targeted by fellow gamers who provide the police with false details of a crime allegedly being carried out in the victim’s home. Within a short period of time, the SWAT team is called in to the residence, resulting in embarrassment and lost game play.

The recent case involving twenty seven year old US Air Force veteran has highlighted the danger and mean-spirited nature of “swatting” your online rivals. Mr. Peters was playing the games Clash of Clans and Runescape (before almost sixty thousand Twitch followers) when ten armed SWAT police raided his house. Online viewers were aware of the police presence, but it seems the young gamer was unaware of their presence.

After fifteen minutes of radio silence, Mr. Peters returned to the online gaming audience, describing the fearsome event. “I see you posting my address. I had police point a gun at my little brothers because of you. They could have been shot, they could have died. Because you chose to swat my stream. I don’t give a shit about what you have against me, or what I did to you. For that I am at a loss for words. Your gripe is with me. But do not involve my family in this. They don’t deserve it.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Mr. Peters said the attack was unexpected and seemingly unmotivated. “There’s no possible persons who I can think would do something like this to me … I’ve seen this happen to other streamers, I just never thought I would be the one to get randomly targeted. Never. My channel’s not crazy big, like some of these other mainstream streamers. I just didn’t expect that. I was going upstairs, and before I knew it, my face was on a tile on the ground, hands wide open and a bunch of police officers with assault rifles.”

According to official sources, an anonymous caller reported a violent incident to the St Cloud Police Department in Minnesota. The caller alleged that Mr. Peters “had shot their roommate and now they were pointing their gun at them”, before falsifying two gun shots and ending the call. Eventually, the SWAT team decided to raid the premises.

“When we were all laying down, I spoke out,” Mr. Peters explained. “I said ‘I stream on Twich.TV, I’m being Swatted, and someone probably prank-called this’. And then the tone shifted as soon as I said ‘I’m streaming on Twitch.TV.” But the ordeal didn’t end there. Hours later, the caller tried again, insinuating that Mr. Peter’s was despondent, dangerous and suicidal. By then, the Police Force had cottoned onto the ruse.

The returned veteran remained philosophical about the event, but it was clear that the “swatting” had left its mark on him. “There’s not a lot of things that can get me emotional in this world … but it’s been a process getting back in my feet… And this is way worse than anything else I’ve had to overcome. It was like … gosh, let’s go back to the other areas I had to deal with, they were much more manageable. I’m the oldest of four brothers, and to know that a gun was pointed at my little brother? That hits home for me.”

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