No matter the zaniness and often goofy behavior of actor and Scientologist, Tom Cruise, someone in Hollywood found it even more ridiculously humorous to activate the police dispatch system, engaging a full-fledged SWAT team from the Los Angeles Police Department to the estate of Cruise. The joke or prank, whatever you wish to call it, is known in Hollywood as "swatting", a spinoff from the acronymous "SWAT" icon (Special Weapons And Tactics) devised decades ago as an elite special operations unit of most police departments across America.
A much more sensible mind may call it perilous!
"Swatting" is already contained and defined among Wikipedia content pages, if one were to solicit its definition and/or information regarding the word/concept.
Ashton Kutcher is another Hollywood personality who has become the subject of a "swatting" incident, one in which cost the city of Los Angeles a reported-$10,000 regarding police SWAT response costs, including police helicopter. Mind you, these are taxpayer dollars doled out! Hardly satisfactory is the notion that these culprits who engage in these crazy "swatting" incidents are essentially paying for it via tax dollars. However, the cost of such childish games is nowhere near worthy of the equation of potential loss of life, the vastly ever-present, real nature of such pranks.
Additionally, Justin Beiber has been a "swatting" victim, as well as other celebrity victims of the prank to include Charlie Sheen, Miley Cyrus, and Simon Cowell. The Kardashian/Jenner family have also had the misfortune to experience such ridiculousness, and they were home to be confronted by police officials en masse!
Inasmuch as the joke may provide some silly banter, if in fact the "swatting" results in its end-goal of embarrassing the recipient with amply-equipped, highly-trained, significantly-armed, and serious-minded SWAT personnel, the sheer danger inherent in such a response is foolishly negated. Albeit acutely-trained in its mission, whatever warrants a SWAT team response, it exhausts resources beyond comprehension.
In myriad ways does such a gimmicky joke result in wasted resources (compensated by taxpayer dollars) and danger imposed upon the public with regards to the emergency-mode police vehicles en route to such reported events as they speedily advance among other motorists and pedestrians utilizing the streets. The potentially-authentic other calls-for-service requiring SWAT response may be delayed by needlessly and falsely using resources for the self-purpose of a joke is quite real. Most imperatively, the absolute danger imposed upon each SWAT team member aboard SWAT vehicles while expediently en route to the supposed high-conflict situation (crazed gunman, threats at our schools, hostage situations, riotous crowds, etc.) has far-reaching ramifications and consequences.
Although not often readily considered, yet at its most extreme, the peril to SWAT personnel exists as soon as they are readied for such a response. Physiologically, each SWAT member is taxed with emotional sway inherent in such a challenging and dangerous responsibility. Apprehensions and professional mindsets arise to levels of extreme consideration; while en route to the location for which they are readying to deploy, SWAT officers are challenged further. Considerations of what details are known from a police dispatch center--and those ponderous moments as to what is unknown--inadvertantly shackle the SWAT team's strategies by way of an incomplete picture of what each team member is about to confront, head onThis fact does not bode well as to relatively ensuring the most optimal situation for tactical deployment and strategy.
However sworn to duty, each avowed oath-contained tenet is essentially second to one's own life. A non-critically-thinking giddy caller who finds such a false report a prankish whim is categorically an anonymous, hence cowardice, player in a chess board game of SWAT roulette. These SWAT members, from agencies large and small, are rightly revered for their eliteness, their highly-trained skill sets, their absolute nature in readiness to respond and handle the most-complexly evolved dangerous situations. However, let us not ignore the fact there are human bodies within the heavy wrappings of uniforms on which are cradled and slung adornments of varied weaponry and safety-based tools. To get there, to the scene at-hand, whether real...or imagined--thanks to a prankster--is the most important aspect of any police member: Getting there in one piece is paramount, otherwise our law enforcement community is rendered useless and sometimes contributive to a casualty-count registry.
Emergency vehicles involved in traffic crashes are a real possibility in our society. At significantly-higher velocity do our public safety vehicles traverse our city streets. With that said, the potential always exists for a traffic crash to occur. Not all public motorists out-and-about are paying utmost attention. One need only look at traffic accident data and peruse reports which typically indicate a theory or fact as to causation of a crash.
With the advent of telecommunications devices, primarily cell phones, motorists are often easily swayed from the purpose at-hand--safely and concentratedly operating a motor vehicle--by the use of a cell phone. Whether conversing or texting via cell phone while driving, the primary area of concentration (operating said automobile) is negated by distractionary devices. Some states have legislated laws pertaining to such behavior, outlawing the utilization of cell phones while operating any motor vehicle. Other states have similar legislation on the floors of their respective state capitals, to be considered and possibly written into law.
Nevertheless, each motor vehicle operator can use common sense, no matter the respective state laws, and ensure safety is relegated as thee primary ingredient while behind the wheel.
Albeit highly trained and deeply devoted to what its mission entails, SWAT members inherently face the hypervigilence necessary to receive the call for service, respond in emergency mode from their homes, leaving behind their respective families, sacrificing everything to fill its mission of serving the public in situations considered rife by peril thus requiring special police training and utilization of survival skills. Nonetheless, when viewed in a humanistic perspective, these same SWAT professionals are people first, not pawns to be utilized for the sheer dastardliness of some distant player ignorant enough to ill-consider their actions before placing that call to a law enforcement dispatch center.
SWAT members all across our nation, as is stratified training criteria among law enforcement officers nationwide, are highly and thoroughly trained in EVOC: Emergency Vehicle Operations Course. As it implies, the EVOC coursework is designed to train police personnel--as well is the case for Fire and EMS personnel--in the enhanced operation inherently necessary in operating emergency vehicles among public roadways. However, no training anywhere, whereby responding public safety personnel can adequately predict and/or control others' operations, is possible. Defensive driving is credible yet not foolproof.
Without digressing too far into other areas and leaning away from the basic focus of this article, I assume readers will relate to the far-reaching and omnipresent perils in "swatting", placing innocent SWAT personnel and countless members of the public in harms way...simply for the mere joy of a silly joke enacted by a limitedly-utilized mind. Be not influenced by the portrayal by Hollywood of "how it's done". Most SWAT members emerge from small-to-mid-size departments and thus respond from their respective homes when the call arrives--usually via a pager system-- responding in a mode within constraints of public safety.
It is the larger, metropolitan police departments which typically have a SWAT team readied and able to respond 24/7 from the confines of police headquarters. Either way, it can not be expressed enough how much danger exists when these elite and specially-trained teams are activated.
To those SWAT personnel who have trained and competed feverishly to gain rite-of-passage on a SWAT team in your respective jurisdiction, thank you for taking-up the role of elite police service with the mindset that you are settling a severely-based conflict... avowedly offering your own life to save those of others, likely strangers in relation to your existence. Know that the demands placed upon you are recognized and validly so, given the imminent threat to life, including your own.
"Swatting", a prankish skit orchestrated by a faceless individual (until the arrest and conviction) remains a shameful method by which to achieve fun. Even if you are the acquiescent party to another's cajoling whim, dissent and be the better person. Highly suggestively, please consider optional games, at no risk to anyone.
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