For the past couple of days, I've spent a lot of my free time checking out live streams of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout beta on YouTube. There have been a variety of opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the game, but it's been a lot of fun to see it in action.
A streamer who has recently caught my attention is Guy Beahm, commonly known by his online character, Dr DisRespect. From what little I know of Dr DisRespect, he seems to have gained a following through his live streams of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Nonetheless, he's been one of many YouTubers to check out the Blackout beta over the last few days.
I woke up this morning and logged on to YouTube to see if any further videos had been uploaded about the game by content creators. To my shock, I was greeted with a video of an event that occurred yesterday evening. During a live stream of Blackout, actual gunshots were fired at Dr DisRespect's home, breaking an upstairs window in the process, where he lives with his wife and child.
At first I thought this must be a prank, but it appears that gunshots were also fired at the home on the previous evening, suggesting that this is a targeted attack. I'd like to be able to say that I'm surprised, but this isn't anything out of the ordinary in what is increasingly becoming a toxic part of the gaming world.
Most recently, David Kats, a gamer from Baltimore decided that it would be a good idea to shoot people at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville. This terrible attack left three people (including Kats) dead, and another 10 people injured from gunshot wounds.
Trolling Ends in Tragedy
But this isn't the only kind of toxic behaviour that has been seen within the gaming community recently. Over the last few years, it has become increasingly popular to 'swat' gamers who are live streaming.
Swatting is the act of falsely reporting a serious crime taking place at another person's address so emergency services will be sent out to deal with it. Examples include the false reporting of hostage situations, bomb threats, and murders.
Victims of swatting are often caught on camera dropping to the ground as swat teams smash down their door and come bundling through the house with weapons raised and loaded.
Swatting is now considered to be an act of terrorism due to its use of intimidation against the victim and the high risk of injury or even death. A prime example of the tragic stupidity of swatting occurred on December 28th, 2017 when Tyler Barriss falsely informed the police that a murder and hostage situation was taking place at a location he believed to be the home address of Shane Gaskill.
Gaskill had been playing Call of Duty: WW2 with a man called Casey Viner. There was an argument between the men due to friendly fire within the game that had caused them to lose the match and $1.50 each in wagers. During the disagreement, Viner threatened to swat Gaskill, at which point Gaskill provided him with a location believed to be a previous address of his family and told him that he would be waiting for him. It was at this point that Viner made contact with Barriss and told him to carry out the swatting.
Police took the call seriously and sent officers out to respond to the situation, not knowing that the address was actually the home of an innocent man called Andrew Finch. Hearing something going on outside, which was actually police officers surrounding his home, Finch opened the front door and was greeted by police screaming at him to put his hands up. Finch started to follow the police orders and momentarily stopped, at which point he was shot dead.
Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
I think it's disgusting that people find this kind of thing funny. Even if the address given to police had actually been the home of Gaskill, swatting him is putting a human life in imminent danger for the sake of a video game argument and $1.50.
The fact that someone is out there firing gunshots into the home of a gamer who is doing nobody any harm is perplexing to me. This kind of thing really needs to stop before more people die.