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#gamergate 8chan empathy deficit

Randi Harper, GamerGate critic and anti-online-harassment activist, was SWATted last night

So, this happened:

Last night, around 10:20 PM, I received a knock at my front door. I live in a secured building, and it’s rare that I have visitors, so it wasn’t any huge surprise to me when I opened the front door and 6 officers from the Oakland Police were standing outside.

Randi Harper, who posted the above on her blog today, was the victim of an attempted SWATting late last night. That is, one of her online enemies contacted the police, pretending that they were in her apartment holding someone hostage, in hopes of literally sending a SWAT team to bust down her door. Luckily for her, she had herself contacted the police some months earlier and warned them that someone might do this.

Had she not warned the cops in advance, more than six police officers would have shown up. In all likelihood, a literal SWAT team would have shown up, guns drawn, at her door. Instead, her encounter with the police, while nerve-wracking, was peaceful. (I’ve bolded some of what follows.)

Leo, my golden retriever, followed me to the door, so I only opened the door partially and was blocking him with my body to keep him from rushing out to make friends. One of the officers asked me if I was OK. I told him I was fine, and I immediately followed that up by asking if a SWAT threat had been called in. They confirmed this, and I told them I had a police report filed documenting that people were threatening to call in fraudulent reports.

I told them my dog was friendly, and I asked if I could give them this report. They said yes, and they asked if they could come inside and make sure everything was OK. I agreed. Four of the police stayed outside, and two came in. I was asked if anyone else was here, if I was living alone, why someone would call in a false report, and other various pertinent questions by one of the officers while the other took a look around my apartment.

After they had asked all of their questions and were sure that no one was being held against their will, I was informed that someone had called the police “from an iPad” stating that there was a ransom situation at my address, and they wanted $10,000. When I had opened the door, all guns were holstered. I was told that had I not filed a report back in January documenting these threats, that would not have been the case.

What usually happens when someone gets SWATted? Well, take a look at the video below, which Harper posted on her blog, featuring actual footage of a number of gamers being SWATted while in the middle of streaming video events. That is, they were playing games online, others were watching them playing, and some of those watching decided it would be hilarious to send a SWAT team to visit them while they were playing.

So, yeah, that’s what whoever called the hoax in was hoping would happen to her.

For more details, some documentation, and advice on how to approach the police if you are worried that someone will try to do this to you, see her post.

We still don’t know who called in the fake report. Given that she’s been repeatedly targeted (and doxxed) by the not-so-good folks on the baphomet board on 8chan, a lot of people think that’s who it was.

Of course, there are many GamerGaters who think her story is a hoax, and complain that she hasn’t posted an official police incident report detailing what went down. According to Harper, the police told her she wouldn’t be able to get hold of one for at least two weeks.

I believe her. But I guess we’ll know for sure in a couple of weeks, huh?

In the meantime, Leo the dog is hunkering down in the bathtub.

And Leo’s owner is just glad she was wearing pants during the whole ordeal.

 

 

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Delphi Ote
Delphi Ote
5 years ago

“Perhaps now there could be some benefit to the NSA’s electronic surveillance and back trace those responsible.”

Paramilitary SWAT teams on a hair trigger kicking in doors is why this tactic is so terrifying. Adding a military intelligence agency to the mix isn’t going to improve the situation.

Myriad
Myriad
5 years ago

Good gravy! My heart goes out to Randi and Leo. I am so glad they are okay.

If the police know that the call was made from an IPad, I would think they already know who called them and have traced its owner.

@Mitchel

I second what Leah said. Enough already.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Mitchel,
It’s good that you’ve rethought your knee jerk reaction. Now, take the next step and ask yourself why your first impulse is to disbelieve everything women say. Why was your reaction to reporting a crime that it’s hard to say whether it happened? When we’re discussing all the misogyny coming from incels, why do you feel the need to pipe up and say you can’t see it?

Here’s a hint. Google gaslighting. Maybe you don’t realize it, but that’s what you’re doing.

apeculiarpersonage
apeculiarpersonage
5 years ago

This is horrible. I hope Randi is feeling okay. This sort of thing has got to be hard on your ability to sleep. And hopefully Leo the dog gets some hugs and reassuring; poor baby has no idea what was going on.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

All my condolences and empathy feels to Randi, and I’m glad that she was so amazingly clever as to warn police ahead of time that SWAT-ing was a thing and that the people who don’t like her might try it, because her warning probably saved poor Leo.

Also, can I just say how absolutely awful it is that she had to warn police months in advance? Because if she hadn’t, people with guns would have burst through her doors, startling her dog, and probably getting him shot and possibly getting shot, herself?

What the hell, GGers?

EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE NOT YOUR HIT SQUAD!

michael_the_rabbit
michael_the_rabbit
5 years ago

What worries me more than this particular action of some MRA asshat is that’s even possible. Really, any moron out there can do such a thing with no effort? What happened to “Land of the Free”?

bluecat
bluecat
5 years ago

Well, lucky it went so well – there are so many worse ways that could have turned out. What a vile trick to play.

Is there any legal offence in the US comparable to UK’s “Wasting police time”? You can get jail time for it here – up to 6 months – and here it’s not usually a matter of sending heavily armed folk with hair trigger reflexes to someone’s door.

sn0rkmaiden
5 years ago

@Mitchell

my first thought was also of Cernovich and his desperate truth mangling attempts to convince people that he is similarly a victim of attempted swatting. I expect he’ll be one of the first to accuse Randi Harper of lying, even after she provides solid evidence via the police report.

I’m glad Harper and her dog are safe.

I wonder if there is some way police can trace where these hoax calls actually come from? If it’s possible to reroute a signal so it looks like it came from the victim’s home, it ought to be possible to trace its true source.

sn0rkmaiden
5 years ago

@bluecat. Not only wasting police time but wasting a LOT of public money, those SWAT teams cost a fortune to send out. The there’s potential civil suits if anyone gets hurt.

It would be less dangerous to send a wrecking ball crew to someone’s home.

M.
M.
5 years ago

SWATing is very illegal; this SWATter got five years and this one is facing the same. I don’t think we have to worry about this attempted murderer (let’s call him what he is) getting away with it.

Unless the investigating cop/prosecutor/judge is an MRA, I mean.

M.
M.
5 years ago

*SWATting, even. Bloody hell those words look awkward.

Mitchel
5 years ago

I admit that I didn’t entirely read this whole article/her account of things before writing my original comment. As “sn0rkmaiden” said, I just initially thought of Cernovich. I 100% believe it happened now after looking into it.

I agree with Lea that sending anxious officers could result in something deadly.

I can assure you that I am not misogynistic AT ALL. I mean, sure, I make a lot of smug comments about PUA’s/manosphere douches on my site, but I will not be making any misogynistic, racist, or homophobic comments. That’s for sure!

Orion
5 years ago

Bluecat,

As far as I can tell, “wasting police time” isn’t an offense in the US. “Obstruction of Justice” is, and wasting police time could be obstruction of justice, but strictly speaking obstruction of justice is interference with investigation or prosecution of a crime, which this isn’t.

Apparently a number of states have gone after swatters with property crimes. Basically, we can hold people responsible for the consequences of their actions even if they get someone else to carry out the harm, so if the cops kick in someone’s door, the caller is on the hook for destruction of property. If, heaven forbid, someone was shot in a swatting, the caller would probably be looking at felony murder.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Mitchel,
It’s not enough to say you’re not a misogynist. Your words have to reflect. This is not the first time your comments have raised red flags with people.

I don’t think you’re a bad person, but I do think you need to examine your compulsion to gaslight. This is not a social justice 101 site and you’re not going to be able to get away with soft sexism here.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Filing a false police report is likely a crime in every state.

I think swatting should be a federal offense too. Maybe I’ll email my congress people.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years ago

How many SWATs is that? I haven’t been following this that closely in the last few months – I had to stop reading goobergate related news because my migraines were coming in fast and furious and reading about this jackassery wasn’t helping – but the last time I checked there had been three confirmed SWATs, all of which were against goobergate-related targets.

They should absolutely be able to trace the people who are making these calls. Anonymity can still be protected for people who are making legitimate tips or whatever, but hoax calls should be prosecuted. They need to come down on these people HARD. The fact that they’ve been permitted to go this far with it in the first place is ridiculous.

Ktoryx
Ktoryx
5 years ago

It amazes me how these people can be like, “Well, you’re just some random girl who is literally ONLY in the public eye because of her anti-GG stance, GG’ers have threatened you on their boards, your twitter is swarming with obvious attacks from people with GG avatars, there are posts on GG boards planning different ways to get you, but no, there is NO WAY GG had anything to do with it.

Oh, and all those other girls? The ones that nobody had heard of before GG targetted them? Yeah, they clearly must be targetted by “third party trolls” because nobody in GG has ever done anything bad.

idledillettante
5 years ago

@Michel

Why else do you think Cernovich harps about it so god-damn much?

I’m the girl who told people to call LA Crimestoppers when Cernovich started doxing Zoe Quinn for something I did – posting a picture of his official attorney contact address, which is also his house. I wasn’t expecting the office tower from Suits, but Cernovich Law (inasmuch as it exists) is run out of a rental residence in Venice.

I think Cernovich knows in his grinchy heart that repeatedly accusing me or Zoe Quinn of trying to get him SWATed is easily disproveable. I think he knows that his accusations of attempted murder / conspiracy to commit murder are shaky and debunked by anyone with five minutes and the will to fact-check it. And I think his droogs know that too. But it works out nicely for them because muddies the waters, spreads this uncertainty around. Now you’re doubting Randi Harper over something Mike Cernovich did.

It’s great for #Gamergate, too. After all, if I doxed Mike Cernovich and sent a SWAT team to his house (which is what they agree to believe), what’s to stop some other SJW from going rogue and turning on Harper? Indeed that’s the narrative they’re pushing on 8chan ~right now!~

@Sarah

Randi makes 5 since Jan 1 2015, that I know of. The other four are Izzy Galvez, Ashley Lynch, an unnamed young woman, and Grace Lynn’s old house.

@weirwoodtreehugger

Consider writing Ted Lieu. He was SWATed in 2013, for drafting anti-SWATing legislation in the wake of a bunch of high-profile celebrity SWAT attacks. IDK if the legislation passed or not.

https://lieu.house.gov/

Binjabreel
5 years ago

So Randi said some dumb shit on twitter that made a lot of her allies angry this Monday or Tuesday, I wouldn’t be surprised if GG chose now to do it specifically so they could go “I bet one of the sjw’s did it! False flag both sides arglebargle!!”

Mitchel
5 years ago

@idledillettante

I should clarify that I wasn’t overly familiar with Randi Harper until I read more today. I knew of Zoe Quinn. I just heard of Cernovich’s swatting before and that was the first thing that came to mind when I initially read this article.

Cernovich is a huge douche for sure. He’s loving the attention from gamergate. I don’t think he’s much of a lawyer. There’s little evidence of him ever practicing.

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

I’ve been reading Cracked too. It’s mildly amusing to read the comments on some of the ‘SJW’* stories – there are some Cracked readers who are VERY MUCH NOT HAPPY about the changes. Curious how they keep commenting on stories they insist they do not want to read.

*That is, stories that promote healthy and responsible attitudes and behaviors.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Ffs Mitchel, the first rule of holes is to stop digging. I don’t why you think Mike Cernavich coming to mind is a viable excuse. What does a misogynist rape apologist troll have to do with Randi Harper? Precisely nothing.

Multiple commenters have expressed an issue with your tendency to take up for the misogynist in question and then backpedal. So just apologize and quit doing it. Just because something comes to mind, doesn’t mean you have to post it.

Everyone else, am I alone in getting fed up with the series of non-apologies? It’s really dead around here so kind of hard to tell.

Falconer
5 years ago

Well, Cracked’s not all awesome. They recently published an article on the New Who Companions (just the women, not Mickey or Jack or Rory) that basically evaluated each of them on how fuckable they were. Even most of the Moffat haters on Tumblr thought that it was an awful article.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

Everyone else, am I alone in getting fed up with the series of non-apologies? It’s really dead around here so kind of hard to tell.

Not to mention the insincerity, the constant use of false equivalency, the complete (perhaps purposeful) misunderstanding of what free speech and censorship is, the abysmal lack of reading comprehension, and a number of other things that just make conversing on the internet a fucking chore.

It gets exhausting to get involved in discussions with people who, quite honestly, don’t want to have a discussion. They want to participate and express themselves – but they don’t want to bother actually talking to anyone else. They want a compliant audience who’ll nod their head at everything they proclaim, yet get flustered and become cry-babies when others point out their shit and have to deal with thorough observations.

I swear to God, if I have to hear another person fault me for quoting them directly and responding in kind – I’m going to explode. It’s like the only thing they can comprehend are unsubstantial talking points and shut down at doing anything more extensive.

Jarnsaxa
Jarnsaxa
5 years ago

I don’t feel that way, but I may just be overly sensitive now to the massive tendency to vote absolutely everyone off the island this place has evolved, and be unable to tell when someone actually should be booted.

Shalimar
Shalimar
5 years ago

Mitchel | April 4, 2015 at 5:35 am
I certainly apologize if my comment came off as rude or uncaring. It certainly wasn’t my intentions. I looked into it more, and do believe it really happened. As was already said, there’s no reason for her to make this up.

How is that still digging? Uncaring isn’t the best word, but I assume he’s saying he shouldn’t have implied so casually that Harper might be the type of person to lie about this. He says repeatedly that he didn’t know anything about her when he first commented but he read more and agrees with everyone else that there isn’t any reason to think she would lie.

If he’s trolling, then he is damned good at it. Posting gut reactions and then re-evaluating when people point out the faulty cultural assumptions they’re based on sounds like a normal way good-intentioned people respond to ideas they haven’t considered before.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I never actually asked for a banning. I’m just expressing annoyance at a pattern I’ve noticed across multiple threads. It’s starting to look more like JAQing off than anything. If he doesn’t do it again, I’m cool. But the more I see it, the more cross I’m getting.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

I don’t feel that way, but I may just be overly sensitive now to the massive tendency to vote absolutely everyone off the island this place has evolved, and be unable to tell when someone actually should be booted.

If there’s a reason for that, it’s because this blog has a history of people – usually as first-time posters – coming here under the guise of civility only to then waste everyone’s time and energy. I understand that sentiment because the phenomenon exists elsewhere and, sometimes, I just want to go somewhere that has a zero-tolerance policy than suffering fools endlessly under the notion it is “open-minded.”

Maybe Mitchel is being genuine – but I can’t really know. The internet doesn’t allow you to read someone’s body language or tone of voice, which would make it easier to determine such, but all we have to go off of is text and it’s far easier to be utterly dishonest and fool others.

It doesn’t help his first response is to be disbelieving of Harper because of Mike Cernovich, then admitting he knew nothing about her but nonetheless assumed she was making it up. Given the false equivalence and the usual attitude from GamerGaters/MRAs/etc. is that victims of harassment just “make it up”, even without knowing all the facts – it’s a pretty bad first impression and those are hard to get past.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

But the more I see it, the more cross I’m getting.

It’s difficult not to be. Especially when it’s the same conversation over and over, again and again.

It gets more frustrating when it’s with a different person each time – yet, per usual, repeat the same exact arguments from before. Under the delusion they, more than anyone else, are being more profound or clever about it and arrogant enough to demand validation for just expressing their opinion…as if no one else is capable of doing the same.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

In this particular case, I don’t think Mitchel is trolling. If it turns out he is I won’t hesitate to ban.

And that’s totally fair. I probably should’ve clarified my comments were not really geared at Mitchel than at others’ feeling exhausted by that kind of thing. Having dealt with numerous people over the recent Batgirl cover as well as Erik Larson deciding it was a good idea to have an interview with Reaxxxion – it’s made me a bit bitter about discourse online.

Fitz
Fitz
5 years ago

I can’t imagine ‘swatting’ even being a thing unless your police are entirely fucked. Why would you send several heavily armed officers into a situation at an address you know nothing about?

Orion
5 years ago

Fitz, I imagine you don’t like in the US?

M.
M.
5 years ago

I don’t feel that way, but I may just be overly sensitive now to the massive tendency to vote absolutely everyone off the island this place has evolved, and be unable to tell when someone actually should be booted.

People keep saying that, but I’m yet to see a case of a totally innocent person being shunned. I mean, it may have happened, but I haven’t seen it or even seen reference to it. =/ In Mitchel’s case specifically, we’re side-eyeing him because of what he said in another thread:

Can you explain something to me? Aside from the name “sluthate”, why do you consider it a bad site? I too admit the name sounds TERRILBE, but I personally LOVE “bash the scene”. What are your thoughts on “bash the scene?”

Of all the sites he could have defended, he picked the one that is most well known for literally spawning a mass murderer and, oh yeah, is called SlutHate. I’m not yet ready to call him a sealion – he may be genuinely clueless, you never know – but he only has one more strike from me before he’s out.

mitchel
5 years ago

This is my last comment on this subject. I was in no way trying to troll. I too can see now why people were upset with me. If I do post again, I’ll be more cautious about things I’m not entirely up to speed on.

I’ve been looking into Cernovich more the last couple weeks ago and am shocked by him. I did read a bit into his “swatting”, so that was the fist thing that came to mind about Randi. Mike may even be WORSE than Roosh(if that’s even possible?). I fully plan on writing a piece on him. He has ZERO legal angle whatsoever against legit criticism. I fully expect him to “fear monger” me with stuff like, “I’ll sue you for defamation, blah, blah, blah.” There’s one thing I’ve been digging my hardest to find on him, and if I find it, some of the “mindless bros” who worship him may be not overly impressed with him anymore 😉

friday jones
friday jones
5 years ago

“This is, IMO, the most insidious part of these online harassment campaigns. If the same bullshit gets disseminated far enough and fast enough, it doesn’t even matter what the truth is. The lie just keeps self-replicating.”

As Twain said, lie can get halfway around the world before the truth even gets its boots on.

zarathustratheserpent
5 years ago

We still don’t know who called in the fake report. Given that she’s been repeatedly targeted (and doxxed) by the not-so-good folks on the baphomet board on 8chan, a lot of people think that’s who it was.

Of course, there are many GamerGaters who think her story is a hoax, and complain that she hasn’t posted an official police incident report detailing what went down. According to Harper, the police told her she wouldn’t be able to get hold of one for at least two weeks.

Can we finally call these 8chan fuckers criminals already? That’s exactly what they are, and they’re using the anonymity of the internet to get away with it.

I’m hoping and praying that this sort of bs behavior doesn’t crash headlong into a pit of racism and get some random PoC killed. I’m dreading the day this happens.

I dread it as well. That would be especially heinous, as if what is happening right now is not heinous enough.

zarathustratheserpent
5 years ago

Can someone explain this to me? I just don’t understand how online reactionaries work. I don’t mean in an intellectual sense… but, I just can’t wrap my mind around why people in general would do such things.

I’m not sure how all these guys originated. Are they just some “grassroots” people on the Internet or are there some very sinister people in background who orchestrate these kind of things? I apologize if I sound like a kind of conspiracy theorist, but sometimes I just think that this level of hatred is unnatural to be spontaneous.

At the moment I think it’s “grassroots”. Some people are hateful miscreants and meet in the Internet because they can find other people to reaffirm their beliefs (like any other Internet subculture), and so they can get away with things they can’t in real life. Some of these people are either more intelligent, criminal, or hateful than the rest, so they become demagogues (Paul Elam, Sargon of Akkad, Roosh etc.) They drum up insane rhetoric and make scapegoats, making their followers every more fearful and hateful. As long as the “hate train” keeps running or accelerates, they keep their power.

I’m sorry if you guys find my theory above bad in some way. But… It’s my attempt to try to understand these people. I just can’t… wrap my head around them. What kind of people are so deeply resentful and vengeful that they would do such crazy things? What kind of people are so glib, callous, and superficial that they would jeopardize innocent people’s lives because they see a scapegoat? What kind of people just follow people’s orders, and become bullies and cowards?

In the name of the city of Dis, what kind of fucking people SWAT their political “enemies”?

I just can’t comprehend this kind of behavior. It’s thoroughly disgusting. The more I try to understand it, the more twisted my brain gets.

footnotegirl
footnotegirl
5 years ago
footnotegirl
footnotegirl
5 years ago

And I’m not sure if this got posted, but it is the lovely:
http://sorenbowie.tumblr.com/post/95355917126/so-why-does-cracked-constantly-push-feminist

mildlymagnificent
5 years ago

In the name of the city of Dis, what kind of fucking people SWAT their political “enemies”?

I’d think they’re much the same as those terrible people who urge complete strangers to Jump! when they see some poor distraught soul on a bridge or the top of a building.

There’s no reasoning, no thinking, no justification. It’s pure, uncontrolled worst instincts.