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 Long Island SWAT team doing what SWAT teams do, even when they don't need to do it. (courtesy

“Long Island police dispatched helicopters, emergency vehicles and an army of cops to a home where someone called in a bloody rampage on Tuesday,” reports. “They arrived with guns drawn and ready for war — only to find out the call to cops was an act of revenge by a gamer whom the teen who lives inside had just beaten in an online Call of Duty battle.” I like that “ready for war.” You know; in the sense that I so don’t. Anyway, “The prank caller told police over Skype that he was Rafael Castillo, 17, of Long Beach — and that ‘I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people,’ cops said.” I’m not a sworn police officer – I just Monday-morning-quarterback them here – but is that the kind of call that elicits a full-on SWATfest? And I do mean full-on . . .

In the two-hour standoff, authorities scrambled choppers over the house and rushed in more than 60 officers with weapons drawn — including elite members of Nassau County’s special operations unit.

Fire trucks also sped to the home on Laurelton Boulevard near West Fulton Street.

NY SWAT team hard at work (courtesy

When cops got to the home, Castillo’s mother was in the kitchen and Rafael’s brother arrived home from lunch.

“I thought there was a fire at my house. I ran up and saw my mom running out, I didn’t know what was going on,” said the brother, Jose, 21.

“Then one of the police officers said somebody called and said that the mother and brother of somebody in this house was killed. I said, ‘How is that possible if she’s right there and I’m right here?’”

Good question! Here’s another one: what if there’d been a terrorist attack during the two-hours that the SWAT team was busy surrounding Castillo family home?

Cops tried for 20 minutes to call Rafael and get him to come out, but he had headphones on and was still glued to his video game console.

“He didn’t realize anything was going on, he couldn’t hear anything,” his brother said. “I told him that there’s a bunch of cops outside that are looking for you.”

He eventually came outside and the emergency services cops rushed in to make sure there was no reality to the phony call.

Apparently this is nothing new. Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney told CBS it’s “just the latest example of the ‘Swatting’ game. In this…bizarre world of Swatting, you get points for the helicopter, for the police cars, for the SWAT team, for the type of entry. It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very dangerous.”

As dangerous as having an army of cops “ready for war” ready, willing and able to deploy at full strength no matter how flimsy the pretext? This is what happens to an over-armed police, and an under-vigilant populace. As the Brits say, there will be tears before bedtime. [h/t DrVino]

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      • I sent $40 with my grandson for the book fair today. Hey, he’s buying BOOKS! Gotta support that.

        He gave me 4 cents back. I found the receipt: change was $12.04.

        He’s gonna do house work at $2/hour to work it off!

    • “For gods sake give these children cops something better to do, like work walking a beat.”

      Fixed it for you.

      I find it amusing the Post calls it a “two-hour standoff”. In order for it to be a standoff, don’t both parties have to be participating in the standing-off?

      • Excellent point. They stood themselves off. For nothing, while some unsuspecting, pale kid played on.

  1. I used to just walk up, maybe peek in the window, then knock on the door.
    Funny how it always worked.

    • Apparently the kid ID’d himself on the phone, do ya think anybody checked the Caller ID to see whose phone the caller was using? Before spending $20-30,000 and huge quantities of credibility on such a response?

      • CallerID is easily faked.

        Especially since the article said it was Skype. on Skype or other VoIP service, your address & callerID is whatever you tell the computer your address is – as opposed to a Cell phone using GPS or Landline which is tied to a physical address by the phone company database.

        • ^ This x 1000… I can make any IP based (and most digital) phones look like Jenny is calling you…

        • Ahh, it just clicked. I forgot Skype has the landline call feature.

          I was like “What sort of technologically advanced police station takes a video call? My goodness!”

  2. “What if there’d been a terrorist attack during the two-hours that the SWAT team was busy surrounding Castillo family home.”


    • It would be just about the perfect way to rob a couple jewelry stores or something. Get somebody to call in a multi homicide in progress, maybe also start a couple fires on the other side of town. Swat and their mother rush over to play soldier and you knock over every single jewelry store in the other area.

      • Wasn’t this a plot in an episode of Sons of Anarchy? Jax sent the all the cops all the way to the other side of town whilst he did some other funny business without any heat?

        • Who’s to say it hasn’t. Do you think the cops would admit if they were fooled like that?

        • Some bank robbers tried that here in Seminole County, FL. They called in a bomb threat at the county jail, then proceeded to rob a bank in Sanford. Of course, they failed to realize that the Sanford PD wouldn’t go to a call at the county jail in Lake Mary and were promptly caught…

      • It seems I remember a similar episode from my high school days. A fireworks based diversion team deployed on the east side of town while the main team stacked tires to the top of the flagpole at the high school. It was a triumph. Not that I know who did any of this.

  3. Well, the department has spent all that money on tacticool shit. Obviously, cops want to roll up, decked out like solders with plate carriers and ARs so they can feel cool. It’s extremely petty, but I honestly think that’s one of the main causes behind the increase in military-like responses. As a pretty serious airsoft player (before you give me shit, look into it. The gear is rather sophisticated, including the guns), I can attest to how incredibly awesome you feel with all the gear on (Like soldiers, every piece of gear I run has a specific purpose, and useless tacticool shit just adds weight and tires you out faster). Grown men playing Army (different from airsoft in that I’m not pretending to be a soldier), only they’re playing Army with real rifles.

    • I get what your saying, but while I served in the infantry in Iraq, I never felt very cool. I was way too tired, hot, and weighed down with a F***ton of body armor and other gear. I’m not sure about the Army right now, but while I was in, we had to wear so much damn body armor and carry so much gear it was just plain asinine. I was told by my CO that the regular US Soldier/Marine in Iraq carried more in terms of weight than any regular soldier throughout all of human history. The mounted knights of medieval times may have carried more but they were at least on horseback. Some dudes literally carried more than what they weighed. And the I never ever felt “tactical”. I felt huge, encumbered, immobile, and like a target. I do get what your saying though, these cops get to “feel” like soldiers, without actually have to “be” soldiers. They get to carry cool guns and wear some gear, without having to lug around 240s, tripod for a 240, extra 240ammo, extra SAW ammo, extra mortar rounds, skedcos, extra medic bag, extra mre’s, 3day assault pack, ect….

      I think how you said it “looks extremely pretty” hits the nail on the head.

      • Body armor is cool when you can take it off whenever you feel like it because you are not really in danger.

        • And when you get to drive to and from the site in an air-conditioned vic! Not roadmarch 10 miles there, or sweat it out in a Humvee with no AC hahaha. I swear one day I stepped out of a Humvee into 120 heat and it felt like a cool 70s.

      • What is all the gear you carried? I’ll be going into the Marine Corps soon, so I’m curious. I know the basic ruck weighs something like 60 pounds, and that’s obviously on top of the body armor, rifle, etc. Where does all that weight come from?

        • I was in the Army from 2007-2011. Equipment has change a little bit since then, Ive been told by buddies still in that Afghanistan they’ve moved to wearing plate-carriers, not the full fledged IBA or IOTV. Now while I was in, I was light infantry in the 10th mtn DIV and they had a stick up their a** for carrying everything you could possibyl need for 3-7 days, depending on the mission, and distance from the COP. Anyways, typically for a standard patrol I had my IBA around 60+lbs, my m4 with 203 or 240 (was a 240 gunner for awhile) When I had m4 I typically carried 12 30rnd mags, (standard combat load is 7, but I always carried more, most people did) and around 10 40mm rounds, give or take. Anyone with a 203 tried to hoard as many 40mm as they could. So on top of weapon, ammo, and armor, we then had to carry water, which was a 2L camel back. I would also place a few bottles of water in my assault pack. Then we had to have extra socks, t-shirt, and 3 mre’s. Now what sucked was carrying Platoon Equipment. Which meant, we had to take certain items for the platoon and it would by divvied up between squads. This included the big a** tripod for the 240, which one guy would carry on top of what he already had, then another guy would get extra 240 ammo, then another would get the skedco (a rolled up stretcher), then another would get an extra aid bag for the medic, then another would get extra ammo for our SAW gunners, someone else, extra rounds for the mortars if we happened to have the mortars with us. oh yeah, they made us wearing freaking kneed pads all the g**d**ned time which everyone hated hahaha. all together it could be from 100-120 lbs maybe more. One thing people forget about body armor is its not just a Kevlar vest with front and back plates, we also had to have Side Plates (yes, plates that sit on your sides) and additional Kevlar inserts for the sides. Sometimes they’d make us wear DAPS, a big piece of floppy Kevlar that goes around your arm, but that was typically only if in the gunners seat of a hummvee. But yeah, that about sums it up. In the Iraqi heat. That’s NOT always a dry heat, at least where I was by the Tigris river it got just as humid as it does here in GA.

      • A knights armour, even late period full plate, does not weight as much as you might think.

        • Yeah I can see that, never really messed around with it myself but metal would seem much less weight and dense than plates and Kevlar, and they had horses, and servants to carry their stuff for them too.

    • Yep. They have just enough gear to feel cool. Since what they are needed for is (hopefully) over in a few hours, they don’t need to carry enough gear for days or for miles of marching. Just the basics. Plate carrier, body armor, rifle, sidearm, and spare mags for each. Not what you’d want to wear for days on end under the lidless gaze of the desert sun, but for something that’ll last a few hours, it’s not enough weight or bulk to REALLY feel encumbered.

    • I think you’re right on the money, although I have no interest in Airsoft, or paintball, or any of that stuff.

      • I haven’t played paintball in a while, but simunitions with real holsters and a standard magazine capacity definitely has value.

  4. Another reason to avoid COD besides the hackers, cheats and 6 year olds. I used to game a lot, my 360 gets used for a DVD player.

    • Not sure how much it did cost but it should cost $0 because the little twerp who made the fake call should get a bill. Yeah I know he won’t but that’s what should happen.

  5. It’s why I play World of Warcraft. I looked at these Call of Duty type games and found them horrendous. I am of the opinion that kids like Adam Lanza get their ideas from these games.

      • First person shooters + SSRI mindbending drugs = exactly what has happened at Colombine, Sandy Hook, etc. etc.

    • Yes, lets blame the video games for the actions of the video gamers. You do realize this is the same rationalzation behind anti-gun advocates right?

      • NO. I don’t recognize that at all. You and the other two gamers who responded to my -opinion- are perfect examples. “Someone doesn’t like my game so let’s blast his -opinion-.” Sad.

        • of course u assuming that these games make kids that way is as idiotic as u assuming the other 2 responses were from gamers as well. way to live up to the OFWG syndrome

        • Well, there isn’t anything wrong with blasting your opinion. No one who responded to you attacked you personally, which is exactly what reasonable discord is: attacking the opinions of other people to further your own argument in an attempt to prove that your thoughts are more organized and make more sense than theirs. You took an ad hominem attack against people who play violent video games, without listing any type of source, study, or statistic backing up what you have to say. That does sound quite a bit like the argument of an anti-gunner. The first reply sums it up: people who play candyland don’t get any fatter. People who watch porn aren’t serial rapists. Violent video games don’t make people violent. That’s a hop skip and a jump away from saying that a ‘violent’ hobby, like shooting, make people violent and should be banned.

          If you don’t want your opinion trashed by people who are making more sense than you are, keep it to yourself.

        • Please go crawl back in your lame ass raiding hole.

          Nobody with any self respect kept playing WoW after Burning Crusade.

          Your remarks about FPSs while being an MMORPG gamer are like when FUDDs speak negatively about the 3 gun people.

        • Ah, this again. “I have a right to my opinion, and therefore, you aren’t allowed to tell me I’m wrong, or I’ll cry about how you’re attacking me!”. Nice. No one said anything about not liking WoW, but you’re wrong about kids like Lanza getting ideas from shooters. Sure, you have a right to your opinion. But others have the exact same right to tell you that your opinion is wrong. Having an opinion does not make put it on the same level of legitimacy of others. I can have the opinion that gun control works, based on nothing more than a gut-level fear of guns. That doesn’t mean my opinion has the same level of legitimacy of those of people like John Lott, who have done tons of research and have an informed opinion.

          Not to mention that your “anti-shooter” remarks came off as you being in favor of regulating/restricting them, based on nothing more valid than a gut-level reaction. Identical to what the antis do. When you’ve matured enough to understand what I said about opinions, we’ll talk. For now, get off TTaG and do your coloring homework. You mommy’s gonna be mad if you don’t.

        • I feel great knowing that you and your entire conservative movement are in a very tiny minority that is growing old very fast.

          Soon you’ll be so entrenched in your values that you’ll be in the ground and your guns will be sold off for a fraction of their inflated “Old gun collector price” to young able bodied men who might actually have to use such weapons, instead of hoarding them and patting each other on the back at the local gun show.

          And America will be better for it.

    • Put on your fire retardant suit, you just literally summed up ALL FPS gamers everywhere into the same boat with a criminal. Funny how some congress critter 2000 miles away wants to do the same thing to me as people on TTAG, compare me to some crazy fvck bag because of a coincidence that we both grew up in the digital age and play “violent games”.

      Guess some folks just gotta blame it on something on than parenting, I guess Ill just thank WLP for continuing to perpetrate it inside the gun community.

      EDIT: So you are entirely entitled to your “opinion” but there is always that old adage about opinions and a certain body part. I dont mean to blast you, but actually engage in some kind of productive conversation in hopes that it will be reciprocated.

      and as it turns out mike you also live in dfw 🙂

      • I honestly think if you hadnt mentioned you play WoW, it probably would have been less severe. But after thinking about it for a few minutes, some gamers throwing other gamers in the grinder reminds me quite a bit of our current state of the 2A so hmmm ThinkingCapEngage()

        • On the contrary, I really want to talk to people like that. IF you’re like minded enough to be posting on TTAG, I feel that we have at least enough in common as freedom loving Americans that we should be able to discuss this without name calling etc. Specifically, because it seems that we berate the antis for similar behavior while we try to remain calm and polite but we are happily more volatile towards the people on our on board.

    • Huh. I’ve been playing “violent” games since I was old enough to sit up straight in front of a Commodore 64. Oddly, I’ve never had an urge to shoot up an elementary school.

    • What about the 20 million kids that don’t go spree killing after playing the game? Maybe it’s just that the game is popular and he was more likely to play this game than a less popular game? Correlation != causation.

    • Huh, I’ve played WoW and a lot of the shooters, along with a huge variety of other types of games. Never got the urge to kill anyone over any of them; just swore a lot at WoW because of max level guys camping the lower level conflict zones and the zones where you had to deal with the murlocs.

      Now, those Sims players, on the other hand…those are the ones you have to watch out for. That’s straight up a serial murderer simulator, what with the ability to invite people over, and then pause and build walls around them and keep them in there until they starve. The people will also shower onscreen and procreate. Won’t someone think of the children and ban this horrible, violent, porn game that’s giving our kids the idea that it’s okay to stop time and build their neighbors into a wall while watching their family use the head, through walls, from a floating 3/4 isometric view? /sarc

      It’s fine for you to enjoy a type of game, or not; that’s completely up to you and your personal tastes. It’s the same way with what guns you buy and what you legally do with them. But don’t go assuming that one of the most popular franchises, in one of the most popular entertainment mediums of the day is THE source of ideas for these types; it’s statistically probable that a mass shooter would play FPS, given the entertainment markets and the age range of who tends to do mass shootings. Given the demographics and markets, you might as well blame Spongebob if you watched it once and thought it was nuts and stupid. Before FPS (and games overall), it was rap, metal, cartoons (BIG hate-on for Wile E. Coyote & Roadrunner and Tom & Jerry), comic books, action movies, rock-‘n-roll, Dungeons & Dragons*, Sci-fi and fantasy books… People overall just tend to seek out violent media, including those with mass-shooter kinds of issues.

      “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately” comes to mind on games/media and guns.

      • As a grandfather, I find Sponge Bob’s silly feyness okay; who would want to be like anyone on that?

        What I find magnificent is ADVENTURE TIME, which takes place in a not-to-distant apocalyptic age, where magic has been restored in the world. Most of the characters are “bad” in one mild way or another, like the Ice King.

        It’s very clever and cool, and not manipulative at all.

      • You’ve nailed it. The way of the FUDD has always been to blame the music, clothing, hairstyles, form of dance, games, TV and anything else they could think of, but do you know why? Because the only other possible answers were too disturbing; 1. That there may just be evil people who will unpredictably do evil things 2. That simple bad parenting may result in ill behaved and even dangerous ‘children’ and 3. That the ways and mores that were important and appropriate in ‘your’ time might not be popular or even useful in the current time. If only more people could remember this as they got older they might actually be able to reach and assist young people from a position of respect and maturity.

        At 37 I have to stop myself sometimes and remember what it was once like to be 15, or 18, or 20 and then reanalyze what someone who is that age now is doing in light of what I was thinking at their age. If I tried to hold them to my standards I’d simple drive myself to distraction, alienate them, and join the ranks of the FUDD. They may seem ridiculous and look stupid, but their just trying out different identities to see what fits and that’s a good thing.

        As for the whole gaming thing in particular: If WOW doesn’t lead to ax/sword attacks then there is no reason to suspect COD leads to shootings. Also, school aged spree killers all most likely drank soda, surfed the internet, ate breakfast cereal, shopped at malls and did a whole host of other things in common besides play ‘violent’ video games since they were all part of the same demographic and these are all common activities.

        I’m reminded of the report that found that marijuana was a gate way drug which lead to ‘hard’ drug use with a very high correlation based on the fact that most heroin users started with pot. Even being only a teen ager when the report came out I couldn’t help but think that most of the heroin users started on caffeine, then tobacco then alcohol, then pot then eventually to heroin. The vast majority had probably also drank milk regularly as children and probably also Kool-Aid. Which of these was the first ‘gateway’? Given that a vanishingly small percentage of any generation ever regularly uses heroin, and even among pot smokers heroin use is a statistically extremely low, heroin use could only be seen as an anomaly, few were willing to try it and fewer were willing to stick with it long enough to become addicts.

        Translate the same to video game players verses spree killers and the numbers become laughable. Millions of gamers, not even a dozen spree killers. To put it delicately you’d have to be remarkably stupid to see even a correlation, let alone causation.

        Mass murderers are an anomaly and an aberration. Everything they have in common they share with millions who don’t commit murder. One could say the only defining characteristic is a propensity for murder-suicide. Trying to draw other comparisons is like the pot to heroin connection, tenuous in the later case, and absurd in the former.

        • “That the ways and mores that were important and appropriate in ‘your’ time might not be popular or even useful in the current time.”

          I respectfully disagree, at least on one point: I don’t think “don’t hit people and don’t take their stuff” has a use-by date.

    • Person in the video game industry, gun owner and hunter here: saying that violent video game players are more prone to violence or “swatting” other people is like saying people with hair are more likely to be violent or “swat” people. How many people that are responsible for shootings or “swatting” have hair of some sort? All of them. Does that mean people with hair are more prone to violence? Of course not. Do you know how many people play video games? If it was a small number of people, then the video game industry wouldn’t be more profitable than the NFL. What are the most successful video games? “Violent” video games. Literally more people than you can imagine play “violent” video games. Just like for violent movies, violent video games are rated and stores are not supposed to sell them to people under a certain age. It works like theaters not allowing those under 17 to buy tickets for R-rated movies.

      Violent video games are treated under the First Amendment. Our friend, California senator Lee, pushed a violent video game law that would make it illegal to sell “violent” video games to minors. The Supreme Court struck it down under the First Amendment. Basically, the industry is self-regulated under the ESRB, just like movies are self-regulated.

      As a reader of TTAG, is this really the path you want to take? How many times do gun owners have to defend themselves against attacks on the Second Amendment because some yahoo killed people with a gun and the answer is an infringement on everyone else’s rights? Deflecting or blaming the attention on to something else, especially activity protected under another right, is counterproductive and bankrupt, both morally and intellectually.

      • I believe that video games can actually provide an outlet for that aggression. Your adrenal glands can’t tell if that “Ha! Got ‘im!” signal comes from reality or a game – from the POV of the gut, it’s a nerve signal. When you vanquish a foe, the sense of satisfaction doesn’t care if it’s a real or imaginary foe – it just knows, “I Won! Ahhhhh!”

        Same with porno and sex, but you’d never get a Puritan to admit that in a billion years.

  6. What find especially ironic is how police will completely ignore urgent, legitimate emergency calls for help, then bring a full battalion down on the victim of a prank call.

  7. I am not a cop. I have no idea how these things are suppose to work. Instead, I will use common sense and logic.

    Please, tell me, instead of sending 60 officers, helicopters, SWAT, fire trucks and who knows what, why would they not send say, two patrol cars and 4 officers and have one, idk, call the house from outside, walk around the house and peek in some windows, knock on the door? Given the fact they know this already happens, per the comment in the post, why would you not use some simple judgment before calling in all the troops?

    Worst case, if it is legit, your telling me 4 officers cannot hold off until backup arrives?

    • Damn right they are. Played Arkham City for too long, leg completely asleep, had to get up to take a leak….severe ankle sprain.

    • I got stuck on particular level/scenario on Half Life 2 and was so frustrated I stood up and kicked the wall. Damn near broke my toe.

      • There is the frustration level… this day my saved game on Mario ’64 only has 119 stars…

        • I’m stuck on Aereo Level 27. That hop to a moving platform gets me every time. $*@)@$!!!

          That and Stinger Table Hockey are the only vid apps I play. Four time Cup winner, about to win it a fifth time. 75-1!!!!!!!!

  8. I dunno RF–someone calls and says he just killed his own mother, that sounds likely either sociopathic or psycho, at least possibly so. And then says he might start shooting “other people”, sounds like another possible indiscriminate shooting spree in the offing. Called ahead of time, possibly prepared for police to come? Maybe not entirely inappropriate to send in a SWAT team first. How it turned into a two-hour “standoff” (with a guy playing on a game console??) with hovering helicopters, however, does strike me as, let’s say, problematic…

    • Well, tried to edit but something happened. I was going to add, the idea that this kind of police response has become so common that people are making a “game” of it is pretty disconcerting, to say the least.

    • I got feelings on both sides of the “standoff” question. The article explained that the kid had headphones on and so didn’t hear the threatening PA blasts, unjustified as they were. OK. Wait, wait, what would happen if the kid WAS NOT HOME? An APB, with other SWAT teams all over the city with orders to shoot on sight or something? The response should cost someone his/her job.

    • Why not call the home first? Is that so effing hard to do? The “slain” mom would have answered the phone.

      Problem solved. Big expense and laughingstock averted.

  9. ” In this…bizarre world of Swatting, you get points for the helicopter…”

    No. Here we have someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on muddying the waters. This is not a ‘game,’ it’s not GTA VI, it’s just hoaxing. Much like how the knockout “game” was grossly confused by the media, it’s going to happen here too if people take a simple behavior and try to make it out to be like a ‘fight club’.

  10. So what kind of fine Is the “SWATer” going to pay? And what kind of time is he going to do?

    • He’ll get a medal as thanks for helping law enforcement demonstrate how tough they are. Because everyone knows an insane show of force over nothing (one that also demonstrates gross incompetence, tying up resources and failing to follow common sense) makes criminals shit themselves.

  11. Why are they not training to figure this crap out better? You’d think the sheer cost of this crap alone would make that worth it. SMH

    • I suppose. OTOH, you could, realistically, write it off to training, assuming you can see your way clear to cancel other planned training in response.

    • Because they are trained to REACT, not think. If they were allowed to think they might ask themselves why the Hell they were swatting a suburban housewife and her kids in the first place.

  12. They respond like this because they need to justify the budget for all the tactical and tacticool stuff they have. There are two problems with the excessive militarization of America’s law enforcement:

    1) SWAT are supposed to be highly-trained teams designed to respond to really specialized situations that are beyond regular law enforcement’s ability to handle. But now every podunk police department in the country it seems has a SWAT team and thus a lot of them really are not trained in the way that they should be because there are so many of them.

    2) To justify the budget for a SWAT team, you have to use it, and thus we have these teams being used for all manner of things that they shouldn’t be.

    It thus creates a lethal combination of sub-par trained teams being used for all manner of wrong uses. Also I am not saying all teams are not well-trained, but there are many that aren’t trained to the level that they should be.

    • I hadn’t considered the training aspect of the widespread adoption of SWAT teams. That’s a good point, thank you.

    • “They respond like this because they need to justify the budget for all the tactical and tacticool stuff they have.”

      BINGO. Except only cops and FOP, and mindless cop-supporters see it that way.

  13. Swatting has been used to attack political enemies also. [This apparently happened to Patterico of Patterico’s Pontifications – and he is an ADA]. It is fortunate that so far nobody has been killed in these attacks by proxy.

    Finally, there may be some relief on the way. The Sixth Circuit just ruled that a 21-year-old is liable for the half-million dollar cost of a search-and-rescue mission he triggered with a deliberately false report. If this type of action is taken in more cases, they will end very quickly.

    Of course, criminal prosecution would also help. And even more obviously, since this is New York, it all depends on the political connections of the perp.

    • It happened to Ashton Kutcher. Which, if it had to happen to someone, it couldn’t have been a better choice.

      • The episode of “That 70’s Show” where Kelso smoked too much weed and called the White House comes to mind.

  14. What was Mr. Rafael Castillo, 17, of Long Beach doing home playing video games at noon on a Tuesday? Perhaps my inner old man is showing, but shouldn’t he be in school or something?

    Edit: RTFA Dan! “Rafael, known as Rafi, is a junior at Long Beach High School and was at home playing video games because it was spring break.”

    On another interesting note: “Even though it was a prank, police still took Castillo’s computer.” See, it’s not just the second amendment they trample, they trample the fourth too.

  15. Random idea, don’t give out your name and location when doing things online. None of you can swat me because well my name irl is not Lurker_of_lurkiness (yes I know shocker), well unless you are some awesome hacker type….. (not meant as a challenge)

    • Don’t worry. The boys and girls in the Fusion Center know your name, address, phone number, SSAN, and what you had for lunch.

  16. It’s not just gamers getting swat-ed, bloggers and celebrities have been swat-ed too. Someone innocent is going to get killed one of these times.

    • Going to?

      Overuse of paramilitarized police force is already out of control:

      Select for “Death of an Innocent” to select that category.

      Those are just cases where they made a MISTAKE (wrong house, bad info, etc). It can only get worse from there if we start adding willful hoaxes to the mix (which could come under the category of bad info from CI’s).

  17. So all a would-be major mischief maker in Long Beach would need to do is to call in some bogus massacre, and the bulk of the town’s on shift force would respond, distracting them and leaving him free to execute and escape from whatever illicit activities he’s planned for himself? Way to tip your hand, L.B.P.D.

    • I was thinking the same thing.

      Let’s run down a scenario that would yield a ripe environment to allow a leisurely take-down of a bank.

      Two kids are employed to make calls about a) first kid says “my brother” is shooting up their family (include enough gory details and histrionic sobbing to sell it) and then b) a short time later, the other kid makes a call about a guy with a gun (hell, set up a scarecrow with an umbrella – cops won’t know the diff) on a rooftop somewhere overlooking a playground or something.

      Wait 20 to 30 minutes, choose your bank across town and go to work.

      You can bet that criminals who really think about how to plan a robbery are going to think of this pretty soon.

      • The removal or near removal of lawful concealed or open carry makes factors even worse. The perp would be far less likely to encounter a CCW permit holder in places like CA, NYC, or Illinois.

  18. How many cops does it take to shoot at one guy? Are they such piss poor marksmen they can’t keep somebody pinned down with less than twenty cops? God, I’m surprised they didn’t call for artillery support…

  19. What? No “No charges were filed against Castillo” to show the cops are being understanding good guys?

  20. It’s New York metro for Chrysler sakes, New York metro cops have cops permanently stationed in Europe and other countries. This is all stuff they are implementing as SOP. Wait until other cities/ States get the same Counter terrorism money shot in the arm like these guys did with 9/11.

    • I look forward to taking my vest off every day, particularly in the summer. Especially since my IIIA vest has now seen almost 8 years of duty use. I’m fully aware that the ballistic capabilities are reduced. The new one is on order – at government speed. ETA: 6-8 weeks.

  21. With yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, an anonymous phone call provides sufficient grounds for the police to break in to someone’s house, detain you, and search the premises. They don’t even need a no-knock warrant. Skip the judge and go right to the now-legal search and seizure.

    • There you are, our unrestricted police state is here. Not even the KGB relied on “anonimkii”; Comrade Ivan had to identify himself before denouncing his neighbor as an enemy of the people.

      Now the neighbor you have a beef with just dials 911; the neighbor who doesn’t like your bumper sticker or sees you unloading a cased gun from your car just whistles up the po-po & they’re on your throat in full battle rattle with bells on their boots.

      Pleasant dreams, citizen…….

  22. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- instead of tying up so many resources into SWAT, just give all road units run of the mill AR-15s. There’s not really much that couldn’t solve.

  23. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t set the house on fire to smoke the “dangerous” perp out!

  24. This crap is a symptom and side effect of the militarization of police. An unsubstantiated “tip” can get the goon squad to descend upon your home, ruin your life and threaten your family without so much as a background check to see if the person being reported even has a record. The scumbag who made the call deserves to spend a few years in prison, getting friendly with Bubba as a FELON.

  25. And we thought we were bad ass having a dozen pizzas sent to a guy’s house. Ah, kids these days.

  26. Police departments respond in that manner because of liability concerns. I recall many years back, a teenage boy did exactly the same thing; he said called, laughing, and said he killed his parents. The PD (I think it was LAPD) responded by sending a patrol car, and it turned out the kid was telling the truth. He had killed his parents, and he shot the young female officer driving the patrol car with a high-powered rifle. He killed himself as more officers responded. No, that doesn’t mean police should respond to every “I just killed my parents” call like police did in the gamer case, but it shows that a) those calls CAN be real, and real dangerous, and b) if a PD provides a lesser (i.e. “reasonable”) response, and an innocent person is killed, the PD will be sued and probably lose on the grounds that “you knew it could have been real and you didn’t send enough force to deal with the threat”.

    I agree that too many of us cops are acting like the military. But in this case, it’s not the officers on the street making the call to send the cavalry. It’s police administration, thinking in terms of liability.

    • Liability for what?

      When have law enforcement organizations paid out for anything other than excessive force on their part? The SCOTUS has now pretty much ruled that no one can sue LEO’s for failure to respond, failure to show up, failure to stop an attack, etc.

      • I’ve been threatened thousands of times, but I have not personally been sued. Only 1 false complaint was filed against me, which was exonerated after a length investigation.

        My department, however, has been sued quite a bit. Successfully. Most of our lawsuits are for failure to provide service, and failure to properly address a special relationship. A special relationship occurs when an officer on duty makes an explicit promise to provide service or places an individual at risk due to a service or enforcement contact. Some of the lawsuits were frivolous, and some had merit.

        Several lawsuits have occurred when officers arrested drunk females. Instead of taking them to jail, the officers took them home and had sex with them. The arrested women took the used condoms with them and had a slam dunk case. Stupid. The officers were fired and the women and their lawyers got a big pay off. Police misconduct continues to be a huge taxpayer burden.

        I may be sued out of a traffic collision that elicited several testimonies in civil court. Looking back, there wasn’t much that I could have done better and I was able to testify to that effect. Still, lawyers tend to take money wherever they can get.

        • “which was exonerated after a length investigation.”

          Same kind of “discussion” that makes people recant their testimony against other gang members/gangsters? Classy.

    • That’s my county! I can believe it, too. Two years ago, the cops shot a 15-years old skateboarder in my complex. He was having a fight with his mom, and she called the police. They shot him because he “came towards them”. With a suppressed skateboard, I guess.

      Henrico county (Hen-RYE-co) is more populous than the City of Richmond. My complex is a mini-Third World, with Brazilians, Africans, Slavs, Pakistanis and what I think are Kosovans (whatever that demonym is). Not much crime, other than noise. Because it has one entrance/exit, so there’s no through traffic at all.

      One police shooting, one stabbing, since I’ve been here. I lock the doors late nights, that’s it. Hey, I’m an insomniac!

        • Thanks! I am not sure if they’re Albanians of Kosovars. Not much difference, anyway. They have the southern Slavic looks and language, but I’ve only heard them speak a little. Their kids’ names they hold up on a sheet in picking them up led me to believe as I do.

    • What really got me was how she nonchalantly mentioned that she thought they were just breaking in to rob her. Like it happened to her every other day. DANG…

  27. Hmm… I wonder if you also get points for each year you spend in prison for playing this ‘swatting game’. Do you get fewer points if you plead down to an aggravated misdemeanor or should you just take it to trial and score the felony rap?

  28. It seems to me that if the call comes in via Skype, perhaps they should be a bit suspicious. I hope they arrest the one responsible. The FBI should go after him, that whole ‘inter-state’ thing and all that.

  29. @New Continental Army
    April 23, 2014
    “I swear one day I stepped out of a Humvee into 120 heat and it felt like a cool 70s.”

    Thats exactly what its like driving a tank with the hatch closed. 8-12 hours of that. As soon as you get back on FOB, you crack the hatch an inch and its like youre back in Hoenfels during Winter. Good times!

    • That sh*t is insane. Put an AC in the thing!

      Can you IMAGINE the slow death of the Soviet tankers in Afhanistan, when the Taliban lured them into valleys with one way in/out, and they blocked the exit? The Taliban would sit and wait until the crew inevitably had to get out of that Oven Bake situation? And what they did with them when they did?

  30. Soooo……Wayne Lapierre was right that video games are a dangerous influence on the nation’s youth? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    Then again, I live in a city where a wheelchair bound man can club his two nursing home roommates to death with the armrest of said wheelchair following an altercation over God only knows what inconsequential B.S. So who knows what’s going to set a given lunatic off? The proper response is to pick your roomies and gaming buds better, not go around banning rifles, wheelchairs or up-armoring the local constabulary.

  31. Where’s the sense of proportion? Everything requires a SWAT team nowadays. It’s ridiculous.

  32. I read “elite Nassau SWAT team” and thought…are we redefining the word elite to mean traffic cops who get cool toys and train with them 5 days per year?

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