This morning a SWAT team was called to the family home of David Hogg, the Parkland shooting survivor and anti-gun activist. Fortunately, Hogg and his mother were in Washington, D.C., but this David Hogg swatting attempt is the latest in a disturbing trend of attempting to silence critics of gun reform.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call alerting them to a hostage situation at the Hogg home. But when the Coral Springs Fire Rescue team arrived, they discovered the call was a hoax. But that wasn’t until a SWAT team was dispatched, along with multiple police crews and a helicopter.
Hogg wasn’t home at the time. Instead, he was accepting the RFK Human Rights award. He only found out about the swatting afterward from a friend who called. Hogg said the swatting was “really a distraction from what we’re trying to fix here, which is the massive gun violence epidemic in this country.”
“Swatting” refers to a third party calling the police, claiming a high-risk crime is happening at an address. In the case of this David Hogg swatting, the caller claimed a hostage situation was happening at the Hogg home.
Though swatting is often referred to as a “prank,” most pranks don’t have a high potential to kill their victims. Similarly, most pranks don’t carry a felony charge. Even if no one is killed, swatting often leads to property damage as police break into what they think is a dangerous situation, and the killing of pets.
The danger of swatting is also tied in with the militarization of police forces — meaning that local police have military-grade weaponry, including grenade launchers and anti-landmine vehicles.
Hogg held a “die-in” at a Publix last week to protest the company’s support of a far-right, pro-gun gubernatorial candidate. The protest was successful and Publix pledged to stop all political contributions as it “re-evaluates its giving processes.”