As with other books, the plot for Bombshell was triggered by an item I saw on the internet. The article talked about the growing number of swatters and swatting incidents, and how the FBI believe it is a growing menace in the USA.
Swatters are people who form groups, usually cyber groups, to make pranks calls regarding bomb threats, hostage situations, terrorist threats, and active shooters. The object is to get the maximum number of emergency response personnel called out. Their particular aim is the get the SWAT team to respond, hence the name Swatters. Once they’ve done it, they get online and brag about the response they got, trying to outdo each other.
It sounds harmless. After all, the incidents aren’t real. The main problem is that it stops emergency responders from attending other events that may be occurring. The fake emergencies take up time and has the potential to put innocent people at risk of harm. In one particular incident, a man went outside one night armed with a knife as he thought he’d heard someone creeping around. He was confronted by a SWAT team, their assault rifles all aimed at him. The SWAT team were responding to a call from a person (a swatter) who claimed they’d just murdered someone. The potential for disaster is obvious! Luckily the incident was resolved without anyone getting hurt.
No one is really sure why all swatters do what they do. What if not all swatters are in it for the fun? What if instead of being a swatter group trying to outdo another, they are terrorists planning an attack? There is no better way for them to study the response procedures of emergency personnel than to call out the SWAT team to a false event. This is what concerns law enforcement the most, and why they are putting so much effort into catching these people.
While swatters only get a small mention in Bombshell, it was the article and the linked information about the FBI Critical Response Group and the SWAT team that furthered the story idea. A classic case of one idea leading to another, and another, and the full story for a book emerges.
Bombshell will launch on December 8th, 2017.
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