The past handful of days have been a whirlwind for Peter "Rolly Ranchers" Varady. In that time, the 12-year-old has gone from being just another kid trying his hand at YouTube, to someone with nearly 100,000 subscribers, to a swatting victim.
It all began last week with a chance meeting. While streaming Fortnite on YouTube, Varady was paired with popular YouTuber Cizzorz in a duos match. Despite posting videos fairly consistently for a year, Varady didn't even have 1000 subscribers at the time. After the pair played together for a while, Cizzorz encouraged his viewers to join Varady's stream. His numbers skyrocketed.
"I don't deserve it," Varady said, repeatedly, through tears.
"Yeah you do," Cizzorz replied. "You put in the hours. You grind. Before and after school. You gotta keep it up, man."
As the stream progressed, viewers donated hundreds of dollars to Varady, who up to that point had hardly received any money for streaming at all.
In the span of just 24 hours, Varady's subscriber count skyrocketed to over 80,000. In subsequent streams, Varady couldn't stop expressing how surprised and grateful he was.
On Monday, however, things took an ugly turn. Police showed up at Varady's home after somebody called 911 during his stream, claiming that Varady and his mother were going to hang themselves. Speaking to his viewers in the aftermath, Varady found himself in tears for the second time in just a few days, albeit for an entirely different reason. "Why you guys gotta do this?" he asked. "I'm not sure I can even go on with YouTube any more."
Cizzorz caught wind of the incident and was, as you'd expect, outraged. "In 24 hours, we helped a kid go from 400 subscribers on YouTube to over 87,000," he tweeted. "I was just told that someone swatted him tonight on his livestream. I feel so awful. There are some terrible people in this world. The kid is only 12 years old. I hope whoever did it rots in a cell."
Late last year, a 28-year-old man was shot and killed by a Wichita police officer after being swatted. Despite alarmingly apparent dangers, however, arseholes continue to take advantage of a militarised police force and swat people.
In a follow-up interview with ABC America, Varady called the experience "the scariest moment of my life", adding that he was aware of swatting, but never thought it could happen to him. "I saw comments of people saying, 'You're getting swatted,'" he said. "I ignored them because I thought they were joking. I didn't know they were actually going to do it until I come out and see cops and LAFD everywhere."
In spite of all that, though, Varady's decided to continue streaming.
"If somebody swats my house again, I don't care," he said at the start of his first stream after the swatting. "I will keep going on with this channel."