Protect journalists and activists with anti-swatting laws

On Wednesday morning, NYT bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo, who lives in Seattle, posted on Twitter that her home had been targeted for "swatting," while her seventeen-year-old child was home alone. Because of Oluo's quick thinking and preparation, her family was, thankfully, not harmed. But they could have been. Swatting is the practice of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person's address. The practice has been described as a domestic terrorism threat, and could have resulted in harm to Oluo's family, including the possible death of her child.

Oluo had alerted the King County Sheriff's office of the risk of her being swatted several weeks ago, and the Sheriff's office called her before responding to the faked threat with potentially lethal force. It's not clear if the person or people behind Oluo's swatting will be caught, but it is in the interest of the community to ensure that this dangerous, criminal behavior is treated appropriately, and not as a childish prank.

Today's action: Call on your legislators at every level to protect the community from swatting

Today we want you to make a phone call to your Representative, and either email or call your city council members and the mayor.

Call your Representative

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal: DC – 202-225-3106; Seattle: 206-674-0040

  • Rep. Adam Smith: DC – 202-225-8901; Renton – 425-793-5180

Sample Script:

Hi, my name is {NAME}, and I'm calling from {CITY, ZIP}. I heard that Seattle author Ijeoma Oluo was swatted on Wednesday morning, and her son could have been killed. Congressman Engel introduced H.R. 156 - the Anti-Swatting Act of 2019 in March, which would strengthen penalties on the perpetrators, but it hasn't been taken up by the Judiciary Committee yet. Will {REPRESENTATIVE} take action to help protect our community from this kind of terrorist act?

Contact your Councilmembers and Mayor

Mayor Jenny Durkan: 206-684-4000 or jenny.durkan@seattle.gov

Citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: 206-684-8806 or teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov

Citywide Councilmember Lorena González: 206-684-8802 or lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov

Your district Councilmember can be found here: https://www.seattle.gov/council/meet-the-council/find-your-district-and-councilmembers

Sample script (for email):

Hi, I read that Seattle author Ijeoma Oluo was targeted in a swatting incident on Wednesday morning. Thankfully, she had contacted the King County Sheriff about the possibility of this recently, and so her family was never put in harm's way by the perpetrator of this crime. I'm happy to see that Seattle has the country's first anti-swatting registry (https://www.seattle.gov/police/need-help/swatting), but I'd like to see the city really take the lead on this issue. Specifically, I would like to see Seattle's government help protect people at risk of being swatted, and stiffen penalties for those perpetrating these acts.

You can read more about Ijeoma Oluo's experience here: https://twitter.com/IjeomaOluo/status/1161628201329856512

Thank you for your time on this important matter.

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