That time the Internet sent a SWAT team to my mom's house

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Gamer Asshole culture.


My mom asked what I had said to make people so angry, and what I had done to upset strangers so badly.

Gee, thanks mom.


I’m reminded of when a friend was deported from Mexico when he was observing in Chiapas. People kept asking him “What did you do [to have them deport you]?” and his response was “I didn’t do, I was done to.”

Assuming fire when there has been an accusation of smoke is so deeply ingrained in us. :-(


Meh. I’m sure her mom doesn’t spend time on boing boing or the tech part of the net and couldn’t conceive of such a thing. Because in the real world when you do this shit, you get the stuffing beaten out of you by the victim’s relatives.

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Every tweet I’d ever written about online harassment flashed through my mind as I tried to figure out what in particular I had said to piss someone off enough that they’d target my mother

Gee, take your pick: merely mentioning the word “gamergate” as a woman without adopting a position of cringing obeisance will get you targeted, simply talking about online security or harassment will get you targeted, just being a public figure related in any way to games will get you targeted, all it takes is being a woman on the internet to get you targeted. You’re quintuply damned, really.

The whole swatting phenomenon is difficult for me to entirely grasp. It’s absolutely amazing that people can engage in what is essentially attempted murder without any repercussions if they make the least effort. I’m amazed the police are so sanguine about being put in harms way like this and don’t do anything about it. (I suppose the difficulty of tracking down the perpetrators is enough to stop them from doing anything at all.) I’m guessing someone - probably a police officer - is going to have to die before there’s any effort to change the emergency communication infrastructure to prevent things like this from happening.


On the one hand, it’s terrible that this happened and shitty that people did this.

On the other hand, I kind of feel like the problem is that in addition to people on the internet being crazy anonymous assholes, there are too many SWAT teams in America. “Swatting” shouldn’t be possible.

We should demilitarize our police forces and perhaps try to do some basic evidence gathering before busting down peoples doors.


It’s not tech/gaming/net per se - it’s sociopaths using those techs (and arguably the alienating aspects of those techs not discouraging the antisocial behavior).

People always ask what you did to upset the sociopath, as though existing as a perceived enemy to someone of no conscience and with no boundaries and a sense of sadistic glee… was your free choice.

Because in the real world when you do this shit, you get the stuffing beaten out of you by the victim’s relatives.

SWAT Team… it was the real world.


Yeah, what I mean is that people don’t do this to someone’s face because they’d face immediate consequences.

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“I’m guessing someone - probably a police officer - is going to have to die before there’s any effort to change the emergency communication infrastructure to prevent things like this from happening.”

You nailed it right there.


I’d like to see the SWAT teams be the ones investigating the waste of their resources, although that’s impractical - I suspect a couple guilty parties explicitly getting this same treatment might level out the fun others consider making with it.


There should be new regulations in place with regard to SWATing. Make sure all calls to all police precincts are recorded, make it a federal crime (normally I’m against this, but since much of this crosses state lines I think it’s warranted) and give the feds the budget to go after it.

Or y’know, we can wait for a senator to get killed.


First; please don’t take this as an endorsement of Gamersgate, trolling, swatting, or harassment, nor any form of agreement with people who do these things.

There are a lot of digital “truths” that have been instilled in our society about accessibility and findability, meaning we were taught, as users, that we needed to be trackable, we needed a visible footprint to exist in society, such as credit, a listed address, etc. Being trackable, and being “seen” meant safety. But online harassment has proven otherwise.

This statement confuses me. A lot. I’ve never encountered this “truth”, nor does it ring like a “truth” at all. It actually seems a bit silly to me, but perhaps that is just my age showing. To me, society has very little to do with corporate social media, or being seen and or acknowledged. I don’t see being public as anything more than a personal choice (again, this doesn’t justify harassment, and I’m not saying “they asked for it”, I’m talking a bit broader). I actually find that this belief exists a bit scary, being trackable and accessible as virtues seems dangerous. Being public is something that people really should be forced to think about, it is a burden more often than it is a responsibility.

This view might also cover my other confusion, being surprised that Twitter is extremely public. You’re standing on a soap box in a busy town square every time you tweet. You screaming your views into the aether. Even if, for a time, people don’t crowd around, nothing stops them from doing so. Even if you mumble, on your soap box, a passing stranger can still hear. This isn’t a UX problem, its just how the thing is. Twitter is a bubbling chaos of people on soap boxes pissing into the aether, by design. This is one reason I avoid Twitter like the plague, it isn’t personal, it isn’t supposed to be personal.

The bit about blocking people who genuinely want to discuss things, just because they aren’t in your circle of friends, makes me wonder if you were using the wrong forum for your message. Twitter, again, is public, extremely, terrifyingly so, public. It sounds like the author wanted a private conversation while screaming in a crowded bar full of strangers.

Again, none of this is meant to be taken as a justification of the trolls and criminals. She, quite obviously, wasn’t asking for it, nor was her mother. And there is no excuse or justification for the trolls. The point of this comment is more me genuinely asking what I’m missing here, and pointing out a strange contradiction (expecting intimate communications while squawking loudly in public).


My mom had been swatted and it was my fault.

No. No it wasn’t.


I would really like to hear a reporter go talk to law enforcement about how policing is changing to address the issue of criminal activity on the internet.

Why don’t stories like this lead to a meeting with an internet investigations unit from the state police or something. It’s like cops get an anonymous call and take part in harassment and then are like, “We have no idea how to address this, so sorry.”


That sounds great in theory. If a “madman” holds a bunch of people hostage and starts killing innocent them or even worse children, the backlash would make Gamergate look like child’s play.

Some recent examples where having a social media presence is expected / required:

  • There’s a conference I wanted to go to - only way to register was via Twitter
  • There’s a job I want to apply to - they ask for my Linked-In profile
  • Lots of programming opportunities want to see a Github profile
  • Meeting new people at bars and parties - they often ask to connect on Facebook
  • Dating apps - some require Facebook

Opting out of major social media platforms has the potential to preclude participation in other things one may want to do.


A lot of what you said are things I agree with and I’m only 35. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t better to just unplug and focus on family and each other at a local, personal level.


Geeze if only there was some sort of National Surveillance Agency that LEO could access information to locate the perpetrators of these “prank calls”. To bad sort of system would be way too massive and costly to feasibly deploy.


Only being able to register via Twitter perplexes me. Twitter doesn’t have THAT large of a user base (large, for sure, but not nearly ubiquitous). Perhaps its because I’m strange, and long ago realized that I suck at “managing” my online presence and pretty much gave up (I have Facebook, but pretty much ignore it, and use Google+ for posting photography, and pretty much ignore it).

I’m only 36, but I think we grew up in a strange time. Modern internet culture started happening when we were out of high school, so we grew up in both worlds. We didn’t grow up NEEDING to be online or public (in the global sense), since it really wasn’t possible. To me, being connected meant having my own phone line, and the ability to connect to local BBSes. Global was someone across town. I was ahead of the curve a bit, I was on the “internet” via telnet and gopher/ftp/IRC earlier than most of our generation, and knew about the Web when it was basically a bunch of nerds posting link lists, but none of those really are analogous to what we have now.

When people talk about Twitter, somewhere in the back of my mind, some part of me automatically mutters, “Kids these days!” Which gives me pause, since these kids are in their 20’s or slightly earlier 30’s, and I’m not old yet. Can culture shock really exist in one’s own culture within the span of a handful of years?