Things to do in Denver (and everywhere else) before you’re SWATted

posted at 11:15 am on May 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, Erick Erickson joined the ranks of conservative writers that have become the target of a particularly dangerous hoax: SWATting.  Someone spoofed his phone number and called the police, claiming that Erick’s wife had been shot in order to provoke an armed confrontation.  Fortunately, Erick had already taken some precautions:

Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.

Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.

It wasn’t nearly the trauma that Patterico suffered, but I guess the Erickson household is on somebody’s radar.

Luckily it was two sheriffs deputies who knew me and I had already, last week, advised the Sheriff’s Department to be on the look out for something like this.

The Boss Emeritus has a terrific response today, a “blogburst to-do list” that everyone should read.  I’m going to add a few practical thoughts for bloggers concerned that this tactic might be someday aimed at them, for whatever purpose.  I’ll put them in no particular order:

  • Get in contact with your local police department and explain the situation to them.  I spent 20 years in a previous career working with police and fire agencies, and they’re not likely to be shocked to hear this.  In fact, my local police department reminded me that perpetrators occasionally do this to divert police response to another location while they conduct large-scale robberies.  Most will add notes to their system where possible to alert responding units to calls at your house of the background, and that will help keep temperatures cool if the situation does arise.
  • Get to know your police department anyway.  Chances are you’ll find them to be friendly and professional, and opening a relationship proactively with them will help.
  • Speaking of which, while getting SWATted has to be a very frightening experience, remember that most police officers responding to these kinds of calls are trained to remain calm and professional through it.  If you can keep from doing anything foolish, the fright should be the worst that happens.
  • Review the security at your home to see if you need to address any potential vulnerabilities.
  • If possible, de-list yourself from openly-accessible directories.  Certainly get your address out of the public domain.

After finding out about a threat against me in 2010, I’ve already taken several of these steps, but I’ll repeat them on occasion as necessary.   I’d add that while it’s natural to focus on potential threats to the point of obsession — I certainly did for a few months — in the end, it’s counterproductive.  The point of terror tactics like hit lists and SWATting is to distract you from whatever it is your antagonist(s) want to stop you from doing.  In the end, I found it more practical to rely on my faith and my sensible precautions and not think about it too much otherwise.  Now that we know about this tactic, thanks to Patterico and Erick, it will be easier to plan for it.

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New response tactics are being devised that emphasize quick action and decision making by the first responders

And that is going to get lots of good people killed.

It already has a few times, and I foresee lots, lots more in the future, with the tactics in this thread, and as distrust of the government spreads.

LegendHasIt on May 28, 2012 at 7:12 PM

How bout we be proactive and take out the SWATers

Yeah, then you give 0bama and the other fascists the excuse to do what they want. They’d love nothing more than to give their brownshirts open season on conservatives. All in the name of ‘preserving order’ of course.

LegendHasIt on May 28, 2012 at 7:41 PM

They clearly have the proggies at Wikipedia on their side: Wikipedia Erased

slickwillie2001 on May 28, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Oh and never give your true identity away to anyone online, ESPECIALLY other bloggers. You wouldn’t want to put them in the position where they are forced to disclose your identity in discovery as they are currently trying to do to Ace (of Spades HQ fame).

WeekendAtBernankes on May 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Who is doing this to Ace, and are they looking for Ace’s identity, or someone else’s?

cptacek on May 28, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Now I understand better why Allahpundit is a pseudonym.

ted c on May 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Heh: Flashback to the thread of just a few days ago on net anonymity and one of the HA commentators called us cowards for not using our real names, and told the world which city telephone book he could be found in under the user name he uses here.

I wonder if he still feels that way.

LegendHasIt on May 28, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Stop using primary phone numbers and email address for everything online. NEVER use your landline phone number online, ever.

Capitalist Hog on May 28, 2012 at 9:32 PM

How bout we be proactive and take out the SWATers

The Notorious G.O.P on May 28, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Wow. That’s pretty stupid language to be using.

Aside from that you seem to have missed the fact that these people cannot be ID’d due to ip/phone/mobile spoofing and voip proxies. You’re no different than them once you start calling to “take out” your political adversaries.

Capitalist Hog on May 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

http://patterico.com/

his SWATter (?) called into his radio show and he has it up on his site.

***

ted c on May 28, 2012 at 9:39 PM

er.. SWATter called into Lee Stranahan’s show.

ted c on May 28, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Ed. just sent it to tips, but the caller to Stranahans show referenced both the Patterico SWAT and Marizela, Michelle Malkin’s cousin. Certainly something worth looking into further.

ted c on May 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Who is doing this to Ace, and are they looking for Ace’s identity, or someone else’s?

cptacek on May 28, 2012 at 8:16 PM

The “not BK blog” posted a lot of personal info supposedly about Ace. BU targeted Ace before blogaboutBKday.

Capitalist Hog on May 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM

FINALLY!

Gawker is the uber-cool donk site for hipsters. This is their real news.

First comes the mocking. Soon they will be forced to account for one of their own.

Capitalist Hog on May 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Great job turning it into a police bashing thread.

hawkdriver on May 28, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I am not a libertarian or a police basher. I’ve lived in some places where the local police force are professionals of the highest quality and some places where they are corrupt bullies. To be aware of what is going on in your local area and acknowledge the situation does not make one a police basher, it makes you smart and will probably save you a lot of grief. Police officers are just government employees and imperfect human beings as well. Look, I know it’s a tough job and I do respect the institution but I really don’t understand the mentality that assumes they can do no wrong or that they are above reproach just by virtue of wearing the uniform, that just seems naive to me.

kg598301 on May 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Someone spoofed his phone number and called the police, claiming that Erick’s wife had been shot in order to provoke an armed confrontation.

What I want to know is, what are the police doing about that and who was responsible for that illegal act?

Certainly the police must know where that call origionated from.

DannoJyd on May 29, 2012 at 12:21 AM

If you’re REALLY worried: construct a hidden room – as bulletproof as you can make it – and/or an escape tunnel.

MelonCollie on May 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Oh hell no! Better to know your local law enforcement officials than calling in a construction crew to begin a Manhattan styled project.

They all know me as I am THAT big of a S.O.B. :o)

DannoJyd on May 29, 2012 at 12:25 AM

If I were building a house now, I’d certainly design it with a “safe room” that is both bulletproof and has it’s own self contained ventilation and power for this and other reasons (storm shelter, etc). It wouldn’t be that expensive to do if it were done in new construction.

wildcat72 on May 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM

You sound like a consultant for criminals.

Police officers are just government employees and imperfect human beings as well. Look, I know it’s a tough job and I do respect the institution but I really don’t understand the mentality that assumes they can do no wrong or that they are above reproach just by virtue of wearing the uniform, that just seems naive to me.

kg598301 on May 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

A uniform and haircut go a long way.

Military training does make better people. Law enforcement and its crucial role compel cops to try and be better than the rest of us….most of the time.

Yes they are human. But humans can be trained and compelled to excellence.

Capitalist Hog on May 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM

Certainly the police must know where that call origionated from.

DannoJyd on May 29, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Why so certain?

There are numerous ways to avoid being caught when dialing 911. While requiring more time, spoofing an address to 911 is also pretty easy to do.

Capitalist Hog on May 29, 2012 at 12:32 AM

You sound like a consultant for criminals.

lol oh yeah, that’s the first thing I thought of what when I saw what wildcat72 said, too.

Somali charged over attack on Danish cartoonist

Safe location

The shaken cartoonist told Danish news agency Ritzau: “I locked myself in our safe room and alerted the police. He tried to smash the entrance door with an axe, but he didn’t manage.”

Looks like that dangerous cartoonist must have been one of wildcat72′s criminal clients! Seriously, your comment was really weird…

A uniform and haircut go a long way.

Military training does make better people. Law enforcement and its crucial role compel cops to try and be better than the rest of us….most of the time.

Yes they are human. But humans can be trained and compelled to excellence.

Capitalist Hog on May 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM

Your commentary completely undermines kg598301′s point, and you’ve caused me to now believe that there are no corrupt policepersons anywhere in the US, just as I also now believe that there are no people with military backgrounds locked up in Leavenworth! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on May 29, 2012 at 1:19 AM

kg598301 on May 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

I don’t understand where you got the impression I said they could do no wrong.

But it’s exactly the extreme Ron Paul meme that you’ll only be better with no cops I baulk at. Read above about what this discussion was turned into.

hawkdriver on May 29, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Hole up in your “safe room” and see how long it takes before you have a tank on your front lawn.

creeper on May 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM

What is the Constitutionality of a SWAT team’s existence and/or activities?
Hmmm?
Has anyone once wondered this?
Mayhap they’re the same people who have never wondered about the Constitutional violations by agencies like the IRS & Homeland Security and Child Protective Services & the like.
Let your freedoms get whittled away bit by bit.

I don’t count on police to protect me. Neither should any of you. The police show up AFTER the crime has been committed.

wildcat72 on May 28, 2012 at 12:07 PM

I will NEVER depend upon someone else to take care of me.
That is for the weak & stupid.

Badger40 on May 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Now that we know about this tactic, thanks to Patterico and Erick, it will be easier to plan for it.

And the less effective it will be.

Bob's Kid on May 29, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Actually we have a ‘live by the sword moment’. If you use the tactic then you have no complaint when you fall to it.

Another issue, being a Denver native, the pranksters have serious antagonized the police by making them look very bad. They will keep track of who is doing it, can better be unavailable when they make demands: crying wolf is the idea.

I know the ground, and I think the left is opening a door which other will use to their pain and sorrow.

Denver Bob on May 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

I am not a libertarian or a police basher. I’ve lived in some places where the local police force are professionals of the highest quality and some places where they are corrupt bullies. To be aware of what is going on in your local area and acknowledge the situation does not make one a police basher, it makes you smart and will probably save you a lot of grief. Police officers are just government employees and imperfect human beings as well. Look, I know it’s a tough job and I do respect the institution but I really don’t understand the mentality that assumes they can do no wrong or that they are above reproach just by virtue of wearing the uniform, that just seems naive to me.

kg598301 on May 28, 2012 at 11:23 PM

While I completely understand your point, as a former police officer, I will never understand why some people think that front-line police personnel have an inordinate amount of control in any situation they face.

In particular, folks who argue that the line officer is wrong and is violating one’s rights (etc…etc…ad nauseum) might actually be right…..but arguing or confronting the officer is NOT they way to correct the problem. It only makes it worse.

I have always instructed people (including my own child) to NOT ARGUE with the man in blue who has a gun. Verify the officers identity absolutely…but then Comply. Show deference. Your best avenue to correct whatever the officer does wrong is the courts. Speaking ‘truth to power’ in a one-on-one with Johnny Law can result in disaster for you AND the officer.

Just sayin’…

Anti_anti on May 29, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Aaron Walker was arrested today after his peace hearing vs. the Speedway Bomber. The more I dig, the messier the story gets on all sides.

Valiant on May 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Aaron Walker was arrested today after his peace hearing vs. the Speedway Bomber. The more I dig, the messier the story gets on all sides.

Valiant on May 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Do you have a link for this?

cptacek on May 29, 2012 at 2:08 PM

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