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Long Beach 'swatting' prank stupid -- and criminal

About 60 police officers and emergency responders swarmed

About 60 police officers and emergency responders swarmed around a Long Beach home on April 22, 2014, girded for a multiple shooting, hostage and barricade crisis -- except it turned out to be a revenge hoax against a video game fan, authorities said. Credit: Jim Staubitser

Some people are just idiots.

I can give you a dozen other explanations -- the adrenaline of hard competition, the numbing isolation of video games, the emasculating heartbreak of unexpected defeat. Those things may all have played a role in last week's Long Beach "swatting" incident. But some people are idiots just the same.

There is nothing new about adolescent pranks, of course. They've been a part of growing up since the days of ring-and-run and pizza orders to unsuspecting families. But when the gag involves calling the local police, claiming you've shot two people and plan on shooting others -- when you identify yourself as the person who just beat you in an especially spirited "Call of Duty" marathon -- I'm sorry. The best psychologists and sociologists have nothing to add.

Bad things happen. We seek explanation. This is a worthy instinct in the main. How will we ever avoid future calamities unless we understand them?

But if someone alert enough to hold his own at "Call of Duty" doesn't grasp why he shouldn't Skype 70 emergency responders to a phony hostage drama at a quiet suburban home, there is nothing to be done but arrest the joker and prosecute him hard.

"We do have some leads," Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney told me. "The FBI has been kind enough to join the investigation. We are optimistic we're gonna track the person down, and he's gonna be prosecuted. If someone else tries it, we'll find them, too."

Clear enough, idiot?


1. Grand Theft Maturity

2. Call of Dopey

3. Stupid Mario Brothers

4. Tettwit

5. Half-Brain 2

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: When teenage party-busers get loaded, it's all the driver's fault? Not the bus company's? Not the parents'? Not the kids'? Can't you sympathize with driver (and child-endangerment defendant) Luis Guevara-Henriquz? . . . Is $22 million the true cost of a built-from-scratch justice court and police station in Riverhead? Or is that figure just designed to make an $11 million Route 58 Armory renovation seem cheap? . . . Why won't Island Trees schools Superintendent Charles Murphy name the developer who wants to turn the Karopczyc and Gallow schools into oldster housing? Did he forget those are public buildings? . . . In Amagansett, have Bill and Hillary chosen the perfect August vacation spot? Lovely, low-key and lousy with Democratic-leaning 1-percenters like Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Jessica Parker. . . . Are hunt-loving grown-ups able to restrain themselves at this weekend's Suffolk Youth Turkey Hunt? Only 12-to-15-year-olds are supposed to shoot. . . . Hey, Ed Mangano: What's the upbeat spin on "one of the most onerous leases in the worst building in the league"? That's NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on the Islanders' Coliseum lease. . . . Did you get a car loan from Condor Capital Corp. of Hauppauge? State Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky has just Dodd-Frank'ed them. "Simply put, Condor cannot be trusted to service its customers' loans," a state suit says.

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Stranded on a primate planet: NOFX's "The Idiots Are Taking Over," /


How could you not like an all-girl robotics team? That's a trick question. The answer: If you had to compete with them for best in the world. Nine high school juniors and seniors, the Icebreakers 4183 rep the Girl Scouts of Nassau County in this male-heavy science-and-tech field. They were 6-0 going into this weekend's 2014 FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship in St. Louis. You go, Brianna Kitchener, Danielle Abrahams, Katharine Conroy, Lauren Conroy, Caeley Looney, Dessie DiMino, Natalie Bloniarz, Sandi Peters and Samantha Adelberg. In a nod to inter-gender understanding, they named their robot Steve.

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