30 votes

18-year-old member of online harassment group sentenced to five years in prison after "swatting" the owner of a desirable Twitter handle, resulting in a fatal heart attack

23 comments

  1. [7]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    I find it interesting that we've had quite a few high profile murders via swatting and yet no one seems to be interested in fixing the system that allows this in the first place. Why should a...

    I find it interesting that we've had quite a few high profile murders via swatting and yet no one seems to be interested in fixing the system that allows this in the first place. Why should a phone call from a citizen be enough to send SWAT or any large group of policemen anywhere? Even if they think they'll be approaching a dangerous situation, at most a single car of regular policemen should be enough to investigate a claim.

    23 votes
    1. Octofox
      Link Parent
      In this case it seems like the police responded appropriately and it was just extremely bad luck. They receive a call saying someone had been shot, so they have to go investigate. They find...

      In this case it seems like the police responded appropriately and it was just extremely bad luck. They receive a call saying someone had been shot, so they have to go investigate. They find someone outside holding a gun. The police didn’t shoot him and the situation was then resolved. He later died of a heart attack.

      Which part do you think could have been changed. Should police not respond to calls about active shooters?

      7 votes
    2. [5]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      I'm not sure if that's true in a country where anyone could have a hoard of 100 high powered fully automatic weapons.

      at most a single car of regular policemen should be enough to investigate a claim.

      I'm not sure if that's true in a country where anyone could have a hoard of 100 high powered fully automatic weapons.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        nukeman
        Link Parent
        I hate to be “that guy”, but the only people with that many full auto firearms would be the very wealthy. Since 1986, production of new full auto firearms (legally called “machine guns”) has been...

        I hate to be “that guy”, but the only people with that many full auto firearms would be the very wealthy. Since 1986, production of new full auto firearms (legally called “machine guns”) has been prohibited, meaning grandfathered weapons (a total of around 180,000, I believe) have skyrocketed in price (e.g., a standard submachine gun such as an Uzi would go for $5-10,000). The AR-15 you can pick up at Cabela’s, Academy, or your local gun store is not capable of full auto fire.

        18 votes
        1. [2]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          I'll take your word for it. But I have to imagine the response from the police is proportional to their imagined threat. Don't you think they're preparing themselves for that worst case scenario?

          I'll take your word for it. But I have to imagine the response from the police is proportional to their imagined threat. Don't you think they're preparing themselves for that worst case scenario?

          3 votes
          1. AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            With the militarization of police their imagination has grown by leaps and bounds, while the reality doesn't seem to have kept up. @nukeman is correct, even "entry level" full auto M11 (cheapest...

            proportional to their imagined threat.

            With the militarization of police their imagination has grown by leaps and bounds, while the reality doesn't seem to have kept up.

            @nukeman is correct, even "entry level" full auto M11 (cheapest full automatic firearm you can find) is going to set you back something in the neighborhood of $5k on a normal day (normal hasn't existed since COVID hit, so expect $8k minimum these days) along with a yearlong wait as you go through a very thorough background check. After one or two full auto guns you're no longer buying them to shoot, you're likely buying them to invest. And when it comes down to it even if some nutjob with a hundred fully automatic weapons gets swatted he's still only have two hands and a gun that's empty after a few seconds.

            24 votes
      2. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        and you're going to trust a random person on a phone over the person who lives at the property? You are going to bust down their door with millions of dollars of equipment and manpower because a...

        and you're going to trust a random person on a phone over the person who lives at the property? You are going to bust down their door with millions of dollars of equipment and manpower because a single random caller said so?

        16 votes
  2. drannex
    Link
    The man who died, Mark "Sparky" Herring, is the creator of the QWK file format in 1987, that was popular for forums and BBS's in the 90s that are still in usage.

    The man who died, Mark "Sparky" Herring, is the creator of the QWK file format in 1987, that was popular for forums and BBS's in the 90s that are still in usage.

    14 votes
  3. [8]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Not his first time harassing people for social media handles. Clearly doesn't care about the consequences as he did it again while awaiting sentencing, bragged about it, and then attempted to...

    Not his first time harassing people for social media handles.
    Clearly doesn't care about the consequences as he did it again while awaiting sentencing, bragged about it, and then attempted to destroy evidence of doing so.
    Conspired to commit the crimes with others.
    Ultimately his actions led to involuntary manslaughter.

    Get's a slap on the wrist.

    It would seem that the willful violation of terms of release and destruction of evidence be enough to bring up a new set of charges since the current charge is already at its maximum.

    8 votes
    1. [7]
      LukeZaz
      Link Parent
      I'm not sure I'd call five years of prison time a slap on the wrist. Sure, he might've deserved more, I don't know. But I think it's hard to call losing 5 years of your life a 'slap on the wrist,'...

      I'm not sure I'd call five years of prison time a slap on the wrist. Sure, he might've deserved more, I don't know. But I think it's hard to call losing 5 years of your life a 'slap on the wrist,' regardless of what the crime is.

      7 votes
      1. [6]
        AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        Five years for actions that culminated in the death of someone else is most certainly a slap on the wrist in my opinion.

        Five years for actions that culminated in the death of someone else is most certainly a slap on the wrist in my opinion.

        4 votes
        1. [5]
          LukeZaz
          Link Parent
          We'll have to agree to disagree, then. I can understand it being considered a light punishment relative to the crime in question, but when I think "slap on the wrist," I think "easily ignored...

          We'll have to agree to disagree, then. I can understand it being considered a light punishment relative to the crime in question, but when I think "slap on the wrist," I think "easily ignored punishment with no noteworthy impact," and I can't consider 5 years prison time to ever fit that description for anyone.

          6 votes
          1. [4]
            AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            Which is what it's in reference to, as all punishment is relative to the crime in question and I'm not sure what speaking about it in any other way accomplishes.

            I can understand it being considered a light punishment relative to the crime in question

            Which is what it's in reference to, as all punishment is relative to the crime in question and I'm not sure what speaking about it in any other way accomplishes.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              wervenyt
              Link Parent
              Calling a punishment a slap on the wrist has an absolute definition regardless of its value relative to the crime though. It implies that to the recipient, there's no real harm done, like fining a...

              Calling a punishment a slap on the wrist has an absolute definition regardless of its value relative to the crime though. It implies that to the recipient, there's no real harm done, like fining a multinational corporation a percentage of daily profits. There's no prison system in the world in which 5 years of incarceration is that low stakes.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                I disagree. The perceived severity of a punishment is always in relative to the crime committed, it's why all crime has a range of allowable punishment. If someone pleads guilty to a crime and...

                I disagree. The perceived severity of a punishment is always in relative to the crime committed, it's why all crime has a range of allowable punishment. If someone pleads guilty to a crime and then someone is asked to sentence them without any context or insight into what they did you'd have people with speeding tickets spending life in prison and mass murders out on 6 months probation.

                No one is saying that 5 years in prison is easy and anyone that sees the statement that way is looking at it literally, which is disingenuous pedantry. The punishment is a slap on the wrist in context to the outcome of his actions; which was the death of someone.

                1. wervenyt
                  Link Parent
                  In my mind, and I'm sure in others', calling a punishment a slap on the wrist carries the implication that it's practically nothing, not that it pales in comparison to the crime. Sorry if that...

                  In my mind, and I'm sure in others', calling a punishment a slap on the wrist carries the implication that it's practically nothing, not that it pales in comparison to the crime. Sorry if that difference of perspective comes across as a matter of bad faith.

                  1 vote
  4. tomf
    Link
    all of this OG stuff is so stupid. Tennessee isn't even a great handle for twitter. If you'd like to know a little about the OG scene, Darknet Diaries has an okay episode and ReplyAll has a great one.

    all of this OG stuff is so stupid. Tennessee isn't even a great handle for twitter.

    If you'd like to know a little about the OG scene, Darknet Diaries has an okay episode and ReplyAll has a great one.

    7 votes
  5. [6]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I don't know if five years is enough. In my opinion a death by swatting should be charged as 1st degree murder.

    I don't know if five years is enough. In my opinion a death by swatting should be charged as 1st degree murder.

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      For murder you'd have to prove intent to kill.

      For murder you'd have to prove intent to kill.

      10 votes
      1. [4]
        vord
        Link Parent
        True, but they were intending to falsely send a highly militarized police unit against a non-threat. Sending in misinformed armed men to an unsuspecting target is certainly attempted murder in my...

        True, but they were intending to falsely send a highly militarized police unit against a non-threat.

        Sending in misinformed armed men to an unsuspecting target is certainly attempted murder in my book.

        7 votes
        1. [3]
          AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          Attempted murder isn't murder in the first degree.

          Attempted murder isn't murder in the first degree.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            vord
            Link Parent
            Yea, but when someone dies in the course of an attempted murder? Sending someone to kill someone is still murder in the first degree.

            Yea, but when someone dies in the course of an attempted murder?

            Sending someone to kill someone is still murder in the first degree.

            1 vote
            1. AugustusFerdinand
              Link Parent
              First you'd have to prove that it was an attempted murder. Swatting someone isn't attempted murder, it's easily argued that most people that SWAT raids don't die, so no prosecutor is going to try...

              First you'd have to prove that it was an attempted murder. Swatting someone isn't attempted murder, it's easily argued that most people that SWAT raids don't die, so no prosecutor is going to try that as murder and no jury is going to buy it.
              Sending someone to kill someone would be solicitation/conspiracy to commit murder depending on how it was carried out.
              If the person you sent actually kills the target then it would murder.
              Since they didn't send SWAT to kill them, just to scare/harass them, and SWAT doesn't kill their targets as a course of normal procedures, they didn't commit murder and you'd be hard pressed to prove that they sent SWAT to kill someone.

              What they did likely commit is involuntary manslaughter as they performed an intentional act (the swatting) that had an unintended result (heart attack); however the individual that actually did the swatting is a UK minor and therefore cannot be identified or extradited to the US.

              6 votes