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Shootings, Swatting, & Stupidity:
Dangerous? Yes. Prank? No!

Seriously Stupid:
Swatting a School Shooting Survivor

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A quick note for the olds: Swatting is when emergency services (like 911) are called by someone who hides their identity and falsely claims an incident that requires an immediate and armed response from law enforcement is taking place at an address.  Swatting is a way to harass – and possibly harm – an intended victim by fraudulently provoking a police raid at their location.

During Spring 2018 in Parkland, Florida, local police responded to a call that claimed Parkland shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg was being held hostage.  The caller claimed Hogg and his family were being held hostage by someone armed with an AR-15. Police showed up to his house “prepared for a shootout with an armed menace”.  Shortly after arriving at the scene, the responding officers discovered that not only had the caller been lying, but that Hogg was actually out of town at the time.

On social media Hogg downplayed the incident, describing it a poorly-thought-out prank.  Hogg had a reason for playing it cool though – after surviving the slaughter at his school on Valentine’s Day in 2018, he’s been a target for harassment from gun rights activist and conspiracy theorists.  By downplaying the swatting incident and acting like it’s no big deal, Hogg was communicating to swatters that they are wasting their time trying to provoke fear or anguish in him.

Despite how Hogg reacted to the incident publically, swatting is an extremely dangerous act that needs to be taken seriously.  It wastes police resources that might be needed somewhere where a real emergency is taking place, and the so-called prank can even result in death.

In December 2017, a 28 year old was killed by police that were responding to an emergency call.  In a call to 911, a swatter claimed that a man had killed his father and was holding the rest of his family hostage in their home.   When a young man opened the door at the house that was being ‘swatted’, police shot him thinking he was the gunman that had been reported.  He died shortly after that.  Given that the December 2017 swatting death was national news at the time, the person who attempted to swat David Hogg just a few month later knew there was a chance Hogg (or a member of his family) could have been inadvertently shot or injured by police.

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Questions:

1) Though the specific definition changes by jurisdiction, generally speaking ‘attempted murder’ is when someone has intent to carry out a murder or takes a substantial step towards committing a murder.  Considering the circumstances of the attempted swatting of David Hogg, do you believe the swatter – if he or she were ever identified – could be convicted of attempted murder?  Why or why not?  What other charges might a person face if they were identified as being a person behind a swatting call to police?

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here::
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/05/us/hogg-family-home-swatting-incident-trnd/index.html

Contributed by- J. Plummer




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My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

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