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“Swatting” prank leads to death, and is not a game

As a gamer, you understand how easy it can be to get caught up in the excitement of the game and sometimes forget that there are real people on the other end of your screen. If something goes wrong during your game, if someone makes a rude comment or if you and your team get ganged up on by rival gamers, you might want to get back at them. This is where the line between reality and gaming can sometimes get blurred. Many gamers in Michigan and elsewhere might not realize how much of an effect their words or actions can have in the online world.

It is not a new trend for people to make threats via social media, text message, gaming forums and other platforms. Some have escalated a conflict and harassed or personally sought out those who upset them online. When it comes to a specific type of prank called “swatting,” online harassment is taken to a higher level.

What is swatting?

You might have heard of swatting, which is making a false call to draw SWAT teams or police to an unsuspecting person’s place. Swatting is far from a joke, and may land you in serious trouble with law enforcement.

Recently, reported CNN, a gamer in Los Angeles called police in Wichita, Kansas, making a false report that a man had killed his father and was holding other family members hostage. When officers showed up at the Kansas man’s house, they shot him when he answered the door, thinking that he was going for a weapon when he moved his hands near his waist. Tragically, the man was killed. The man who had made the fake call was arrested, and anonymous reports by others who had conversed with him online suggested that an online argument prompted the swatting prank.

Serious criminal charges

Making a false report to law enforcement can lead to criminal charges. If a prank leads to someone’s injury or death, the charges can be more severe. You may avoid these complications by refusing to take part in online pranks, but you also have the right to defend yourself in court if you are accused of a crime.