A 15 year old Gamer got 25 year in jail as a domestic terrorist for “Swatting”.
15 Year Old Boy Who “Swatted” Gamer Convicted of Domestic Terrorism; 25 to life In Federal Prison.
The message doing rounds on social media, especially on Twitter and elsewhere states that a 15 year old boy was sentenced 25 years in federal prison as a domestic terrorist for ‘Swatting‘ a fellow gamer. No, it is not a fact.
The story originated from an article on website NationalReport.net published on 30 Aug. 2014. The article reported that the teenage gamer Paul Horner called in multiple false threats against rival online gamers, which made the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team raid their residence. It is said that Horner is the first person in history to be charged with swatting, and that he did it after getting upset over repeatedly losing at Battlefield 4 with a fellow gamer.
There are no reports of any such swatting incident in news outlets. Although the news-like report seemed ‘believable’ and was widely shared online, not many realized National Report is a satirical website that publishes many false stories, like the ones listed in related stories section below. In past, the website even had a disclaimer saying the views expressed by their writers are personal and are not to be considered as professional. To ‘validate’ their story, a video is also posted along with the article. Shown as a news piece from National Report, the video was in fact uploaded to YouTube in ‘Entertainment’ category by Ashley Downes-Cox, a staff writer at National Report. The story became popular on Twitter and was also mentioned by couple of other websites.
Apart from the fact that the story is a hoax, one thing suggested in the article is true – Swatting is no game; it wastes valuable resources and places innocent people in harm’s way.
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