Home » Maine Law » Swatting: Another Sign of Free-Floating Societal Madness.

Swatting: Another Sign of Free-Floating Societal Madness.

Swatting: Another Sign of Free-Floating Societal Madness.

Posted by Ed Folsom, January 3, 2024.

This past week has been a big one for the “swatting” of public officials. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) reports that she was the victim of swatting on December 29 when someone called police and reported a fake burglary at her home. These calls are extremely dangerous. They cause police to respond anticipating a strong potential for armed violence at the target’s home. That can easily lead to a guns-drawn confrontation between police and the homeowner. Someone could get seriously hurt or killed.

As reported recently by CBS News, at least three members of the U.S. Congress were swatted last week. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, was swatted on Christmas Day, reportedly for the eighth time. Also on Christmas Day, Representative Brandon Williams, Republican of New York, was swatted. Two days later, Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, was swatted when someone reported to police that a man had shot a woman 3 times while she slept at Scott’s address.

A story in Time.com reports that Boston Mayor Michelle Wu (D) was also swatted on Christmas Day. And Fox News reports that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxon (R) was swatted on New Year’s Day.

Back here in Maine, it looks like a drug bust over the weekend might have originated with swatting. According to WGME news, police responded to a “tip” that a person was being held against the person’s will at a particular residence, in China, Maine. Responding police discovered that no such thing was happening, but there was an illegal marijuana growing operation there. This led to the arrest of 3 people and the seizure of 970 marijuana plants.

There has been some reporting over the past several months of a huge number of illegal marijuana growing operations in Maine, run by Chinese nationals (as in People’s Republic of, not as in China, Maine), with not much apparently being done about it. The growing operation in China, Maine, bears significant markers that it was part of that phenomenon. It also looks like someone who objected to it might have used swatting as the means to focus law enforcement’s immediate attention on it.

This is crazy stuff — another aspect of the free-floating madness that grips our society, furthered by technology that helps turn crazy into the norm. These days, it’s relatively easy for any wingnut tittering and tee-heeing up its sleeve in mom’s basement to make a call that appears to originate from the target’s number. And when lots of sick freaks do it and produce the intended results, we find ourselves confronting one more community of sick twisted freaks, nourished by the wing-nuttery of each other inside the lunatic community in which they are the norm.

In Maine, there is a law against this stuff called False Public Report or Alarm. It is a Class D crime to falsely report a crime knowing that the report is false and intending to make law enforcement believe the crime happened. False public report is punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail, unless it results in “the evacuation, shutdown or lockdown of a building, school, public square or park, place of assembly or public transportation facility,” in which case it is a Class C Crime, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. But that might not matter to anyone who thinks our entire criminal justice system is just a manifestation of structural oppression in need of dismantling, and it definitely won’t matter to anyone who believes he won’t get caught.

Even if we maintain the current voguish insistence that reality is just a construct, what might be done to make it real?