Patterico's Pontifications

5/19/2013

Paris Hilton Victim of Attempted SWATting — Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:35 am



TMZ, as always, has the story first:

Hi, my name is Paris and I’m a two-time victim of … SWATTING.

Welcome Paris.

TMZ has learned Paris Hilton re-joined the celeb swatting club when someone called 911 pretending to be her, and told cops she was trapped in her bedroom with a gun to her head.

Multiple police cars rushed to Paris’ L.A. mansion to search for intruders after the call came in last weekend — but all they found were Paris’ pooches chillin’ by themselves.

The LAPD adopted a strategy of not confirming these SWATtings. If that was a way to keep publicity from encouraging copycats — or (a cynic might say) an attempt to avoid looking ineffectual — it has failed, on both levels. TMZ gets the story every time, and LAPD looks like they can’t stop SWATtings from happening — again and again and again.

My suggestion for a Plan B? Catch the perpetrator.

(Then, when you do, consult California criminal law expert Ted Rall regarding what crimes to charge.)

By the way, there is an interesting detail on the Miley Cyrus SWATting from Friday night: the caller was reportedly a woman.

According to our sources, cops received a 911 call at around 8:55 PM last night from a female claiming to be calling from her closet and reporting shots fired in her home.

The roll call of the SWATted: Paris Hilton (again); Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Paris Hilton; Brian Krebs; Clint Eastwood; Chris Brown; the Jenners and Kardashians; Tom Cruise; Simon Cowell; Justin Bieber; Ashton Kutcher; Miley Cyrus; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

I can think of a couple dozen people who need to be on high alert for something like this happening to them again.

UPDATE: I updated the roll call list to add Mike Rogers, whom I had been omitting. I also placed the celebrity SWATtings in reverse chronological order.

5/17/2013

Ted Rall Appears in Comments to Explain His Pointless Anti-SWATting Bill Cartoon

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am



Ted Rall is in the comments of this post, where he tries to explain his recent cartoon opposing an anti-SWATting bill.

Commenter #21 is correct. This cartoon is conservative libertarian in orientation. Why do we need a new law here? Anyone who pulls such a boneheaded stunt is guilty of several crimes, including filing a false report and harassment. If anyone gets hurt, it’s reckless endangerment. If there are property damages, you can sue.

I thought conservatives opposed showboating, redundant, unnecessary laws?

I sort of figured the cartoon was rooted in cluelessness. Now it’s confirmed.

I have asked Rall to plumb the vast depths of his knowledge of California criminal law and provide me the Penal Code sections for the applicable statutes, the penalties that apply, and why those penalties are sufficient in his view. He can start by providing the California Penal Code section for the crime which he calls “reckless endangerment.”

This ought to be good.

P.S. Rall adds:

Also: the above characterization of my lawsuit is so willfully wrong as to be actionable.

I sued a guy for impersonating me online – and then, when I demanded that he quit, continuing to do so. It’s called identity theft, and every judge who has seen the case has said that my case is airtight. Sadly, the miscreant defendant has abused a screwed-up legal system by delaying the case for 14 years, denying me justice.

Patterico would sue anyone who did the same thing to him; so would anyone.

Well, I’m not much for suing folks, but I will make this observation. The post Rall calls “actionable” links this post, which reads as follows:

In a comment to this Winds of Change post, I learned something new about Ted Rall’s lawsuit against Danny Hellman. (Rall sued Hellman after Hellman sent a joke e-mail to some people, pretending to be Rall.)

Apparently, Rall claimed damages in part because Hellman’s e-mail “made [Rall] appear as a rude, petty, self-absorbed writer/cartoonist . . .”

I thought truth was a defense.

I mean, this is like Kirstie Alley suing her pants for making her butt look big.

Seems to me that Rall was indeed claiming damages from Hellman, in part, because Hellman “made [Rall] appear as a rude, petty, self-absorbed writer/cartoonist . . .”

. . . and?

5/16/2013

Ted Rall’s Cartoon in Opposition (I Guess) to anti-SWATting Legislation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am



Ted Rall compared U.S. soldiers to suicide bombers; mocked widows of terror victims; profited from Pat Tillman’s death; assumed the voice of Iraqi soldiers talking about killing American soldiers; made leftist political hay out of the Nick Berg beheading; lied about lefty blogger vitriol; and sued a guy for making him appear to be a “rude, petty, self-absorbed writer/cartoonist” (which is what he is).

He’s also unfunny — except for the time he called me a “generic warblogger,” which was pretty funny.

I guess what I’m saying is, he’s the perfect cartoonist for the L.A. Times.

Now Rall is (as best as I can discern) mocking an anti-SWATting bill in his typically unfunny and pointless manner:

I don’t get the point, to be honest. Unless the point is that Ted Rall is worried about being outlawed.

5/10/2013

California Senate Approves Anti-SWATting Bill

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:05 am



To me, this merits a big shrug of the shoulders. They’re barely catching anyone — but if they do, that slap on the wrist is going to be so hard now!

SWATting isn’t just for celebrities, by the way, as shown by this story of a SWATting in Des Moines. The name of the victim has not been released. Thanks to Russ from Winterset for that one.

5/7/2013

Anderson Cooper Victim of Attempted SWATting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:02 am



I almost reported this last night, but the only source was a Patch.com article that was very tentative in its conclusions. I see it being reported by multiple sources now, however, including the New York Post, which I will quote for the entertainment value of how wrong their facts are:

Anderson Cooper has become the latest victim of the “celebrity swatting” pranking craze — after a flurry of cops descended on his Hamptons home over a bogus report of a shooting.

It was the first time the hoax — in which pranksters create false reports of violence to trigger SWAT-like responses at celebs’ homes — had been pulled off outside Los Angeles.

That is so far from true as to be laughable.

A 911 caller last month told Southampton Town cops a man had just shot his wife at the CNN anchor’s home in Quiogue. Cops from four departments flooded the streets but found no signs of a shooting, sources said.

Interesting fact about this one that I’ll keep under wraps for now.

Here is the (partial) roll call of the SWATted: Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

4/28/2013

Wolf Blitzer Victim of Attempted SWATting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 pm



WaPo:

Montgomery County police received an urgent message at about 6:25 p.m. Saturday saying someone had been shot at Wolf Blitzer’s home in Bethesda. Officers streamed toward the CNN host’s residence near Congressional Country Club. They set up a perimeter.

But a dispatch supervisor was immediately skeptical, and a call to CNN confirmed it: The message was a fraud. Blitzer was fine — was, in fact, out of town. The authorities were dealing with another case of “SWATing,” in which someone jolts police into action with a fake distress call and technological trickery.

There was another SWATting last night, of Michigan congressman Mike Rogers. That SWATting merits another post, for reasons that will become readily apparent. It may or may not be a coincidence that Blitzer spoke to Rogers two days before the SWATtings on Blitzer’s show. The SWATting of Rogers is very, very, very interesting . . . for reasons that will be apparent in my next post.

But for now, let’s do the traditional roll call of the SWATted: Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

4/19/2013

State Senator Sponsoring Bill to Fight SWATting . . . Well, Just Guess What Happened to Him

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:26 pm



A California state senator who has been pushing a bill to (marginally) increase penalties for SWATting . . . you guessed it: has been SWATted:

Senator Ted Lieu was swatted earlier today … police responded to a 911 call claiming he had shot his wife inside their Torrance, Calif., home … law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

Lieu tells TMZ … he was out of town, his wife was home sick and the kids were at school. He vows he’s more determined than ever to squash the swatters.

Here’s a list of people SWATted: Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

4/12/2013

SWATting Roundup

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:19 pm



The Los Angeles Police Department has announced that they will no longer publicize cases where celebrities have been SWATted. The idea behind this decision is that the publicity surrounding these SWATting cases is encouraging the perpetrators to continue and even intensify their illegal activities. A cynical person might also observe that the lack of publicity will take the spotlight off of what has been an embarrassing failure on the part of LAPD to arrest a perpetrator or perpetrators of the latest round of SWATtings. Fortunately for LAPD, I am not a cynical person and will make no such observation.

It will be interesting to see whether the LAPD news blackout will result in swotting’s of celebrities going unreported. I’m not sure that TMZ gets its early reports of the celebrities SWATings from LAPD press releases.

One potential consequence of LAPD’s decision is that the person or people behind the celebrity SWATtings will find other ways to get into the news. They might, for example, change jurisdictions and do something so public that it can’t be ignored by the news media.

Oh, hey, there are reports that there has been a very public SWATting at a restaurant in Waikiki, Hawaii.

The thing is, it’s not really a SWATting — it’s more like a dangerous prank call. The difference is that the police were not (initially) called; instead, the prank caller called the restaurant and pretended to be the police:

Diners at a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Waikiki, Hawaii, were given a scare after the store’s manager screamed for everyone to get on the ground, the result of what local authorities believe was a “SWATTING” prank.

“The term comes from the pranksters’ desire to have heavily armed special weapons teams dispatched to their calls,” the Associated Press notes. “The calls, sometimes made by children, can tie up resources ranging from dispatchers, patrol officers, detectives helicopters and police dogs.”

“At about 7:15 p.m. Thursday, the restaurant got a call from a person who claimed to be from the Honolulu Police Department,” KHON 2 reports. “The caller told the manager that someone in the restaurant was armed and dangerous.”

The manager reacted on instinct, telling patrons to duck for cover.

I really have no idea whether this incident is related in any way to the things that have been going on in Los Angeles.

In other SWATting news, the latest victim of SWATting, Ryan Seacrest, apparently had a discussion about SWATting with nincompoop Russell Brand on a radio show. Brand had made light of his own SWATting incident, on Seacrest’s radio show:

The 37-year-old ‘Brand X’ host told ‘On Air with Ryan Seacrest’ on Wednesday (04.10.13): “If all swatting attacks are this unnoticeable I’m ready for war because I didn’t even know it had happened, I still don’t know what a swatting attack is!”

“I wasn’t [there] I was out. There’s always some helicopters and police at my house anyway because of my involvement in other activities so I didn’t notice any additional ones.

“Swatting, I don’t like the word very much. Swatting, obviously what you do to insects or a passing bottom.

“I think if I I were a teenager I’d definitely do it, but what would be bad would be if the police were attending a swatting and then an actual crime happened and it took the police too long to get there because they were doing a swatting but other than that it sounds like a laugh.”

Within hours, Seacrest — who had “aggressively challenged” the idiot Brand — was himself SWATted.

4/8/2013

Russell Brand Victim of (Attempted) SWATting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:32 pm



TMZ, which kicks the L.A. Times‘s posterior on these stories every time, reports that Russell Brand is the latest (attempted) SWATting victim:

The swatting epidemic continues … this time, the victim is Russell Brand, TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us … cops raced to Brand’s L.A. home after receiving a call from someone reporting two men with guns approaching the home.

We’re told the caller told police one of the men was black, one white — and they were each sporting body armor.

Brand had left his home half an hour earlier.

The incomplete roll call of SWATting victims: Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

4/6/2013

SWATting on Selena Gomez

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:08 am



In the fourth celebrity SWATting in three days, Selena Gomez was the victim of an (attempted) SWATting yesterday, just after the same thing had happened to Justin Timberlake:

At 3:15 p.m. Friday, officers responded to a call of shots fired at Timberlake’s Hollywood Hills home but found nothing unusual, said LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman.

Less than two hours later, police were sent to Gomez’s home in Sherman Oaks after a caller reported “someone had been killed inside the residence and there was a threat to burn the home down,” said Det. Gus Villanueva. The report was false, Villanueva said.

And now, for the traditional (incomplete) roll call of those SWATted: Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Chris Brown; Tom Cruise; Paris Hilton; Clint Eastwood; Brian Krebs; the Jenners and Kardashians; Justin Bieber; Miley Cyrus; Ashton Kutcher; Simon Cowell; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

Please remember: celebrities are the ones who count. The L.A. Times says:

Law enforcement officials said they are becoming increasingly irritated by the crank calls, which they say divert resources from responding to real crimes.

. . . .

The increasing number of such incidents targeting celebrities has California lawmakers considering implementing harsher penalties for such crimes.

In my case, the call was made at 12:16 a.m. on a weeknight, when I was certain to be home, and police officers pointed guns at me at my front door. In virtually every case involving a celebrity, the “SWATting” happened during the day and the celebrity was not home. Yet those are the cases that get all the attention, because, you know, celebrities.

UPDATE: I read a report somewhere that claimed Gomez was not home, but the Toronto Sun says she and her mom were home. I have corrected the headline and post (by removing the word “attempted”) to reflect that this was a true SWATTing.

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