I only first read about the Jacksonville shooting last last night.
Early this morning I started to see the Tweets about it.
This one caught my eye.
We Can’t Even Play Madden In Peace🙏🏾💔 #AnotherFLShooting
— NBK Fetti😈 (@NBKFetti) August 26, 2018
The one thing I haven’t seen anybody mention is swatting.
Swatting started in online video game culture. It was a way for a sore loser or disgruntled gamer to hurt another play in real life.
In Ventura, California, an online spat between two players on the game Call of Duty escalated over Twitter to threats of SWATing, a popular form of online harassment that involves calling in a fake hostage situation, bomb threat, or shooting to authorities who then deploy a SWAT team to the home of an unsuspecting victim.
Swatting has longstanding roots in the online gaming community
Live video-gamers, especially those with large virtual audiences, have become increasingly susceptible to swatting attempts since the term was first coined by the FBI in 2008. As mentioned in a report by The New York Times, “Those cameras have made them irresistible targets for swatting, as the prank is called, allowing mischief makers to indulge their voyeurism by watching the tense and confusing moments of a police raid.” Twitch, the streaming app of choice for gamers, even changed their terms of service to include a zero-tolerance policy on swatting, carrying indefinite suspension. Regardless, swatting videos litter the web, some accruing more than millions of views.
Earlier this year, a man in Kansas was killed in a swatting incident he wasn’t even a player in.
There is something terribly wrong in the hardcore gamer culture
that makes it acceptable to kill, or try to kill, other players* that swatting has particularly associated with.
*Based upon a comment, I agree that “acceptable” was the wrong choice of words. The NFL is often referred to as the National Felon League. There is a uniquely high incident rate of crime associated with football players that isn’t found in Hockey or Tennis or Golf. At the high school and college level, football stars are encouraged to cheat to keep good players in the game despite poor scholastic performance. There is an argument to be made that the culture of bending the rules for football players in school is what makes them think that they can get away with anything in the NFL.
So even though swatting is a crime and is looked down upon by players and the public alike, what is it about the gamer community that has made swatting a thing? It’s not like spelling bee kids are swatting each other.
Why would a young man bring a gun to a video game tournament? Does it have something do to with this culture of swatting?
Of course the internet is screaming for more gun control, like that will actually do anything.
Last weekend I spent Saturday running around with an AR-15, shooting a carbine match. The weekend before I was shooting USPSA. Two Saturdays in a row I was shooting silhouette shaped cardboard targets as quickly and accurately as I could. I didn’t do particularly well (in my defense, I’ve only been shooting USPSA for less than a year) but at no time did I think “if I don’t win, I’m going to shoot everyone else here.”
There is no culture of swatting in USPSA. Despite the fact that everyone is walking around with guns, dragging wagons full of ammo, I’ve never heard of a mass shooting at a USPSA event.
Clearly, this has nothing to do with guns. Unfortunately, it’s going to be us gun owners that pay the price.