Add U.S. Sen. Rick Scott to the list of conservative Republicans targeted for “swatting” by left-wing radicals.
Florida’s junior GOP senator indicated on social media that the attempt to draw an armed police response to his home occurred on Wednesday night.
“Last night, while at dinner with my wife, cowards ‘swatted’ my home in Naples,” Scott posted on X. “These criminals wasted the time & resources of our law enforcement in a sick attempt to terrorize my family.”
“Ann & I want to thank @NaplesPolice & @CollierSheriff for all they do to keep us safe.”
Scott became the latest in a series of “swatting” incidents targeting GOP lawmakers.
The Anti-Defamation League on its website defines swatting as a “deliberate and malicious act of reporting a false crime or emergency to evoke an aggressive response (often a SWAT team) from a law enforcement agency to a target’s residence or place of work to harass and intimidate them.”
Frequently, the liars who make these calls tell police someone at the site is armed and is threatening a violent crime or already committed one.
Besides Scott this week, Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Brandon Williams of New York were victims of swatting calls on Christmas Day. Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Burt Jones was swatted on Wednesday.
Greene noted that the call was the eighth time she has been victimized by the act.
Politicians are not the only ones targeted, though. The parents of conservative commentator Jack Posobiec were also swatted on Christmas Day, while, as the Tampa Free Press reported last month, heavily armed North Florida sheriff’s deputies descended on the home of Adam Guillette, president of the conservative nonprofit group Accuracy in Media, after he dispatched mobile digital billboards with the names and faces of the pro-Hamas activists at Ivy League campuses.
Swatting incidents are not new, although they are growing in frequency in recent months, especially targeting conservative politicians and activists.
The FBI called swatting a “new phenomenon” in a February 2008 press release.
“Needless to say, these calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims. The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off. The community is placed in danger as responders rush to the scene, taking them away from real emergencies. And the officers are placed in danger as unsuspecting residents may try to defend themselves,” the FBI noted at the time.
“Law enforcement agencies at all levels are currently working with telecommunications providers around the country to help them address swatting activity,” the agency added, as it requested swatting victims to contact FBI agents with reports of such activity.
But apparently those efforts went nowhere, as shown by the explosion of recent cases.
On social media in recent days, conservatives have called for swatting suspects to be charged with attempted murder because of the risk of someone dying.
That happened in 2017, when a Los Angeles man, Tyler Barriss, made a swatting call about a rival gamer in Kansas.
Unsuspecting police believed the man had killed a family member and was holding others hostage. They killed him as he stood on his porch when he did not comply with their demands to keep his hands up.
In 2019, Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count each of making a false report resulting in a death, one count of cyberstalking and one count of conspiracy.
Greene has vowed to file legislation to address swatting when Congress reconvenes.
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