Gamer Geeks Try Out Swatting

Are you lonely, bored or just looking for something to do? Try stamp collecting or bird watching. The last thing you want to do for excitement is commit a federal crime and land in jail.

Not a difficult concept, but some people have to learn it the hard way. One of those thick-headed guys is a young Connecticut man who made a habit of sending SWAT teams on wild goose chases.

He and his pals, most of them Microsoft X-Box gamers who called themselves Team Crucifix or Die, used the Skype communication service to report bogus bomb threats, hostage situations, murders and weapons violations.

Campus on lock down

In one instance, the 22-year-old in question was involved in a hoax bomb call to the University of Connecticut admissions department. As a result, the campus was locked down for three hours and there was a mobilization of a SWAT team, local and state police departments, and an emergency services unit.

Very funny. The gamer was involved in at least six similar incidents. The targets included the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston University, and high schools in New Jersey and Texas.

The Connecticut gamer was arrested as a result of the University of Connecticut incident. He pleaded guilty to “conspiring to engage in the malicious conveying of false information.” That means he made a fake bomb threat.

He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and three years of supervised release. The judge also gave him some community service.

In the United Kingdom

Other members of his crew are on law enforcement’s radar screen. Some of them live in the United Kingdom. They are also known to the authorities.

Swatting is not a harmless prank. It diverts precious manpower and other resources away from situations where they are badly needed. The people who get a charge out of such juvenile behavior deserve a felony conviction on their records.

This sort of idiotic behavior ranks right up there with shining a laser pointer at flying aircraft. There is no excuse for it other than sheer stupidity. Harsh punishment is definitely called for.

It makes you wonder about the quality of the X-Box games. Aren’t they entertaining enough to hold the attention of a gang of dimwitted schoolboys?

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