What happens when you combine trigger happy law enforcers and pranksters who are either oblivious to the consequences of involving law enforcers or simply don’t care? The phenomenon known as swatting:
Here’s what seems to have gone down. Two individuals were playing Call of Duty and got into an argument online over a game with a $1.50 wager. One of them, a person with the Twitter handle @SWauTistic, threatened to swat user @7aLeNT. The latter then provided an address that wasn’t actually their own in response to the threat. Shortly thereafter, @SWauTistic allegedly called in the false report, which led to a police response at the provided address. Andrew Finch, who lived at the address, reportedly went to the front door in response to the commotion and was shot. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon,” said Livingston. The police haven’t said whether Finch had a weapon at the time, but his family has said there were no guns in the house. The officer who fired the shot is a seven-year department veteran who will be put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
The individual who called in the false report was arrested but I’m betting that the trigger happy officer will be found innocent of any wrongdoing because he has a magic badge.
Swatting isn’t new but this story received more attention than most because somebody ended up dead. Sadly this was a question of when, not if. Law enforcers in this country kill a lot of people, oftentimes under very questionable circumstances. With a few very rare exceptions, officers who kill people are found innocent of wrongdoing. The lack of consequences certainly isn’t helping make law enforcers less dangerous. In addition to being trigger happy law enforcers in this country also like to respond with shock and awe. If you call in a hostage situation, there’s a good chance that a SWAT team will be kicking in a door instead of trying to make contact with the reported hostage taker in order to open negotiations. Of course, if they tried to make contact with the hostage taker instead, they would discover that the report was false and not have to go in guns blazing.
What this story ultimately illustrates is that if you want somebody dead, the government will happily do it for you.