The SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick is a crime of violence

Following the SWATTING of the Parkland students Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick I was expecting to read about lots of democratic politicians condemning the SWATTING and pointing out that these are not “pranks” or “hoaxes” but dangerous acts that have led to deaths and need to be addressed as such.

What I found out, and what most people don’t know, is that SWATTING is a misdemeanor in many states.

I don’t know if the SWATTING of Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick, fits under 7026, the new Florida school safety law, but if it does, then it’s a class 2 felony. See section 1362 below. The problem is that these cases might turn on how prosecutors interpret the act of SWATTING combined with the intent of the callers, and that might not be known until after suspects are arrested.

I think that SWATTING needs to be taken much more seriously, especially following the case of Tyler Barriss, the man behind the  fatal Wichita swatting case.

Read what the government called the act in a brief from the government’s case against another SWATTer, Mir Islam

“Swatting is, in fact, a crime of violence. It is an assault with a deadly weapon in which the police are used as proxies to commit the assault.

By definition, the crime entails an armed police response. When the responding officers are threatened in the fake 9-1-l communication with physical harm or death if they respond, the officers invariably arrive at the premises in force, with guns drawn and trained on the premises and its occupants. The prospect for injuries or fatalities in the police response is manifest.”

I want to point out these specific SWATTING actions happened after the MSD School Safety act passed, which made making threats felonies. The good news is that one of the Florida politicians I’ve talked to has been looking into this and sees the need to develop a specific bill for this crime. However, if the case comes up under current SWATTING law the perpetrator might only be charged with a misdemeanor, which would send a message that protecting gun control activists isn’t important.

Back in 2012 there was a major case of SWATTING where conservative media were targeted. Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss asked the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder to look into the SWATTING of Conservatives. At the time Saxby said.

“Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety.”
The money-losing conservative publication Washington Times wrote about how Florida Republican Sandy Adams drafted a letter to Eric Holder asking him to act.  Here is a link to that letter. It had 85 signatories. The Republicans elevated the SWATTING of conservative media to a national issue and news story. Why hasn’t this happened in this case?

Rep. Katherine M. Clark’s [D-MA-5] introduced a federal bill, H.R.3067 – Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017 a few years ago. It made SWATTING a felony on a federal level. But to date there are only seven co-sponsor, 5 Republicans 2 Democrats. None from Florida.

Rep. Brooks, Susan W. [R-IN-5]* 06/27/2017
Rep. Meehan, Patrick [R-PA-7]* 06/27/2017
Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2] 07/19/2017
Rep. Woodall, Rob [R-GA-7] 07/26/2017
Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17] 09/05/2017
Rep. Messer, Luke [R-IN-6] 01/10/2018
Rep. Kustoff, David [R-TN-8] 03/14/2018

Here is an article about that bill following the SWATTTING of Parkland students from HuffPost that provices some history ‘Swatting’ Is Endangering Lives, Aided In Part By A Legal Loophole

Many stories mentioned H.R.3067 – Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017, but without a vocal group of people, it might never get to a vote. But there should be huge conservative support for a SWATTING bill.

Tyler Barriss, confessed to SWATTING which led to the death of Andrews Finch

The story of conservatives being SWATTING is long and convoluted, but it might be useful to understand why there should be conservative support for a SWATTING bill. The history of conservative SWATTING was detailed in this story by David Weigel in the Daily Beast.  At that time politicians rallied around the conservatives who were being targeted. I’m hoping that Democrats and progressive politicians will do the same when gun control activists are targeted. 

BTW, the case of Tyler Barriss, the California man whose swatting lead to the death of Andrew Finch, has an interesting Florida connection that illustrates the need for more resources. The Panama City Beach Police Department wasn’t able to confirm the identity of Tyler Barriss, the man who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in a fatal Wichita swatting case. If his earlier case of SWATTING had been solved, the Wichita death might not have happened.

Based on previous cases, I think that the police already have a suspect, but haven’t announced, possibly because the suspect(s) are on other states or are minors. (Several major SWATTING cases involved minors and people located in other states or countries)

I hope that the person(s) who SWATTED Hogg, Kasky and Chadwick and the people who sent them death threats earlier are all brought to justice. If they are tried and found guilty of a felony they will lose the right to own guns. That would be enforcing laws already on the books.

SECTION OF 7026 of MSD School Safety Act dealing with threats

Section 17. Section 836.10, Florida Statutes, is amended to
1364 read:
1365 836.10 Written threats to kill, or do bodily injury, or
1366 conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism; punishment.—Any
1367 person who writes or composes and also sends or procures the
1368 sending of any letter, inscribed communication, or electronic
1369 communication, whether such letter or communication be signed or
1370 anonymous, to any person, containing a threat to kill or to do
1371 bodily injury to the person to whom such letter or communication
1372 is sent, or a threat to kill or do bodily injury to any member
1373 of the family of the person to whom such letter or communication
1374 is sent, or any person who makes, posts, or transmits a threat
1375 in a writing or other record, including an electronic record, to
1376 conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism, in any manner
1377 that would allow another person to view the threat, commits a
1378 felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.
1379 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

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