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STAHN: When schools get 'swatted'

April 24, 2015 - 8:26 AM

Prank calls are not new; how many people don’t remember calling up a neighbour and asking if their refrigerator was running? Or asking a business to page Amanda Huginkiss?

Harmless pranks, probably funnier when you think back on it now. But today's prank calls aren't what they used to be.

You were likely introduced to the word 'swatting’ recently: A caller makes a threat, usually to do with bombs or guns, that results in police showing up en masse to deal with a potential serious situation.

Within a week it happened at two schools in Kamloops, and in Coquitlam, and Duncan, and Arizona, and Massachusetts, and likely many, many more places.

In Kamloops, young students faced lockdowns and police patrolled the school grounds with guns drawn. Not only is it maddening, as a taxpayer and a concerned citizen, to see police resources wasted in such a manner, but it evokes some terrible image of Sandy Hook and Columbine. Who is cavalier about that? Who finds that funny?

Police have better things to do with, gang issues, vehicle collisions and missing people files to be dealt with. Yet our officers are kept busy by a bunch of people who think a clever prank is to have police swarm a school.

Yet calling these pranks sort of take away from the seriousness of the event. Pranking should be harmless. Implying a threat against a person, or an entire school, is not exactly harmless. Having police swarm in with guns is not exactly harmless.

So let’s call this what it is. These people are not just pranksters. They are not simply ‘swatting.’ They are making threats and causing fear in people and they should be held accountable for their actions. Which means be punished to the full extent of the law.

To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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