Swatting involving injury or death will soon be a felony in WA

Swatting is a worrisome practice that lawmakers in WA are looking to attach more serious criminal punishments too.


Swatting can be a dangerous act that innocent people have to deal with as the result of online trolling - and it can have deadly results.

Fortunately, after a string of incidents in Seattle where bystanders found themselves affected by some swatting incidents, lawmakers in Washington state are looking to make some changes to swatting to give it more of a criminal offense. It's about time some extra protections are given to those being affected by others' actions in this way. 

There's a bill that was previously unanimously approved by the Senate awaiting Governor Jay Inlee's signature in Seattle that's meant to curb the potentially dangerous consequences of being caught up in swatting by making the action a felony when a victim is injured or killed as a result of thee swatting incident.

Additionally, the bill, if signed into law, would allow for potential victims to sue, with law enforcement and the city to also be able to seek damages for any problems caused as a result of the individual's actions.

Swatting has been a predominant issue based in the video game and streaming community, with users calling in fake threats on streamers and watching the events play out live on camera.

There have been several deaths over the past couple of years from trolls looking for a few laughs at streamers' expense, whether because they've done something "wrong" in the eyes of the fans or to just make light of the tactic.

"Many people who are using swatting as a weapon are focusing on people they consider othered,” said Monisha Harrell, chair of Equal Rights Washington, on the situation. "It’s about taking people’s safety away from them. It’s about taking away their safe spaces, without picking up a weapon."

Hopefully, with the impending possible law coming into play, swatting becomes an action with much more serious consequences for the offenders to act as a deterrent for future abuse. 

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

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  • reply
    March 5, 2020 5:00 PM

    Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Swatting involving injury or death will soon be a felony in WA

    • reply
      March 5, 2020 7:02 PM

      Way past due

    • reply
      March 5, 2020 8:02 PM

      Shouldn't this be a felony even if nobody gets shot?

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        March 5, 2020 8:05 PM

        Reminds me of the Bruce Lee bit in once upon a time in Hollywood

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        March 5, 2020 8:27 PM

        Should be considered attempted murder

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          March 6, 2020 8:30 AM

          as well as filing a false report

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          March 6, 2020 8:31 AM

          well, if the facts can prove up attempted murder then there's no reason a prosecutor can't just charge it that way instead of a fancy new "swatting offense"

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        March 6, 2020 8:26 AM


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      March 6, 2020 8:15 AM

      Regardless of whether there's injury or death, it should be a felony. And not just Washington either - ALL 50 states should make it a felony.

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      March 6, 2020 8:33 AM

      I'm on the other side of the fence as you people. There are already laws on the books that can handle these cases, the problem is actually finding who made the reports, getting a hold of them, and bringing them in

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        March 6, 2020 8:42 AM

        I get that, but having a clear rule isn't necessarily about prosecution but about prevention - making it abundantly clear to people what they're in for if they do it.

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      March 6, 2020 9:44 AM

      what’s the penalty for the police when they barge in and kill someone based solely on an anonymous phone call?

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        March 6, 2020 10:07 AM

        the fear they felt for their lives is penalty enough

    • reply
      March 6, 2020 10:25 AM


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