The loser in a game of Call of Duty makes a prank call to a SWAT team, who in turn makes an appearance at the house of the winner. Granted that anger and frustration are nothing new in the world of video games to the people who play them. Every video game enthusiast has his or her own way of expressing their malice and contempt for one or more parts of a game or the persons that they are playing the game with. Some yell, some talk trash to one another and others can allow their tempers to bring them to use violence. However, the actions of this individual border on the line of mental instability.
Imagine a gamer on spring break from Long Beach High School. They get online to play a few matches of Call of Duty with some people who they most likely do not know personally, but they assume others will conduct their wins and losses with grace and civility. This is how things started out for 17-year-old Rafael Castillo, a resident in the city of Long Beach, New York. Upon starting a match in the game, he encounters and soundly defeats another player. Any normal game enthusiast would simply take what they learned from their loss and apply it so that it would not happen again in another match. What would happen next seems like it would come straight out a television show. No one would expect a prank call to SWAT for being the loser in a game of Call of Duty.
The player that Castillo beat proceeded to get on the Skype messaging system and makes a prank call to the Long Island Police Department. When the police dispatcher answered the call the next thing they heard was the unknown player identifying himself as Castillo, “I just killed my mother and, I might shoot other people.” This prompted the Long Island Police Department to send out a large SWAT team, several emergency vehicles, and two helicopters. Upon arrival at the teenager’s house law enforcement noticed that Castillo’s mother was in the kitchen and she was not harmed in any way at all, but she and her older son are both questioning the presence of the large squad of tactically dressed officers on their property. The officers explained that they had received a call from someone claiming to be her son and said that he had killed her. The boy’s brother, 21-year-old Jose Castillo, explained that his younger brother was in his room and that he obviously did not kill their mom since she is standing right in front of them. The police tried to get Rafael to come out of his room for 20 minutes, but they were unaware of the fact that the young man was wearing a headset and was still playing his game of Call of Duty as if all was still normal. Since Rafael was completely unaware of everything that was going on outside his door, his older brother had to step in to help get his attention. Jose told Rafael to come out of his room. Police explained to the teenager and his family that whoever he was playing against acquired his IP address and traced him back to his home. Even though Rafael was completely innocent in this matter, police still took his computer as evidence. The estimated cost for this waste of time, resources and tax payer’s money is said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000. No game is worth that especially not the latest version of Call of Duty.
This phenomenon is known as “Swatting.” Once a player has obtained their opponent’s IP address, they put in a prank call to the authorities and have them send a unit to the other player’s place of residence. Apparently this foolish act is kept track of and is scored by other gamers who have also taken part at one point or another. The person who calls the law enforcement agency gets points if helicopters are sent, how many officers are on the scene and the type of entrance that the officers used to enter the residence. The prankster behind this hoax is still at large, but if the culprit is caught they will be jailed and fined for the amount of money that was wasted in the process of this myopic endeavor and hopefully they will be an example to other potential Swatters out there. There are other ways to handle loss in Call of Duty.
By Mike White