January 15, 2024

‘Swatting’ Down Political Enemies

This political weapon is a growing menace, but it’s also a symptom of the larger political unrest felt by the American people.

“Swatting” is the act of an unknown hoaxer in which they call the police and warn of a phantom menace that leads to the deployment of a SWAT team. In recent years, this practice has been used as a political weapon.

It has recently been employed against politicians from both sides of the political aisle. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows was swatted on December 29 when someone dialed 911 to report an active burglary at her home. The likely motivation for this false summoning of law enforcement’s elite protectors was retribution for her arbitrarily taking former President Donald Trump’s name off the state’s presidential primary ballot.

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has been swatted eight times. The latest attempt was on Christmas Day. Thankfully, that one was thwarted. Authorities were able to discern that the caller on a Georgia suicide hotline was actually calling from New York State. The suicide hotline also recognized that the address was the congresswoman’s house. Local police then contacted her security detail, who confirmed that there was no emergency. It was just a hoaxer trying to ruin Greene’s family Christmas.

Swatting is incredibly dangerous for all except the coward who calls. Faking an emergency and sending heavily armed police to the scene of a nonemergency is a recipe for a potential accident. Really, it can be interpreted as attempted murder, using the police as a weapon. It also diverts the police from their duties and takes away from actual emergencies. Wasting law enforcement’s time is a crime, and so is harassment — which is how “swatting” is currently classified.

According to Time magazine: “A man was shot and killed by an officer in 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, when police responded to what turned out to be a swatting incident. Police in Maryland in 2015 responded to reports of a fake hostage situation and ended up shooting a man in the face with rubber bullets.”

Swatting isn’t limited to politicians. Celebrities and everyday Americans have endured these scares as well. However, it takes on a more sinister tenure when a politician is the target. As National Review’s Dan McLaughlin points out, the political stakes have never been higher. He writes: “There’s another worrisome trend: the tendency to use warnings of violence as an implicit constraint on legal and political decision-making. That’s not how our system is supposed to operate — indeed, it’s a significant part of why we have a federal capital city.”

There is significant cultural and political unrest, and the American people are frustrated with the lack of justice and the delegitimizing of our institutions and laws. They see a president who has allowed millions of illegal immigrants to cross the border, a political party that is actively trying to boot the opposing party’s frontrunner off the ballot, an infiltration of activist judges and lawyers who refuse to uphold the law, and the implicit knowledge that if you are a rioter with a particular political leaning, you’ll get away with mayhem.

Swatting is yet another symptom of a greater problem: people taking political retribution into their own hands because they no longer trust the federal government to play fairly.

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