Clown Craze Spreads Panic

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Stuart Schaenen

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Clown Craze Spreads Panic

A clown's threatening and gramatically-flawed Facebook post

A clown's threatening and gramatically-flawed Facebook post

A clown's threatening and gramatically-flawed Facebook post

A clown's threatening and gramatically-flawed Facebook post

The past few weeks have been filled with widespread sightings of creepy and potentially threatening clowns. This phenomenon began in South Carolina in late August, when reports were given of clowns trying to lure children into the woods. Since that incident, there have been reports of clown sightings from 37 states across the country. This topic has exploded on social media with viral videos of people encountering these clowns in public areas. In these videos we see people being chased by clowns, some of whom appear to be carrying knives or other weapons. The authenticity of some of these videos is still in question, and there have been many hoaxes. The New York Times stated that 12 people are facing charges for creating false reports. In addition to these videos, there are also social media pages posting frightening clown images and threats. A Facebook message posted by a clown account stated:

 

“We will be at all high schools this friday to either kidnapp students or kill teachers going to they cars… #WeNotClowningAround”

 

Schools everywhere were troubled by this, as the post did not say any specific high school would be targeted. Thankfully, there have been no instances of anyone being killed or seriously injured by a clown. Nonetheless, this clown craze has put people into a state of paranoia and fear- specifically children and teenagers. On September 16th, an 11-year-old student in Georgia was caught with a knife in school. She claimed to officials that she had heard stories of clowns attacking kids, so she brought a knife to protect herself and her family. Penn State University also recently participated in a clown run on Tuesday, after a clown was allegedly reported to be on campus. Hundreds of students clustered in mobs and set out to search for the clowns. At the end of the night, no clowns were found.

 

Police are trying to calm the public down given the absurd nature of this situation, but are still being cautious. Police say that there is no credible clown threat, and in the majority of these cases, the clowns are just trying to scare people. For the most part, police cannot make arrests on clowns if they are not doing anything, no matter how creepy they may look. However, an arrest was made on a clown in Kentucky for disorderly conduct, because it is illegal to conceal one’s identity with a mask in public in that state.

 

Even with the police on watch, many people are still unsettled by these clowns, mainly due to all the hype from social media. And now these “creepy” clowns are actually affecting the professions of actual clowns. Jordan Jones works part-time as the character “Snuggles the Clown” in a Haunted House. He said people now see him as a clown that is trying to hurt them. And with clown hunting becoming popular, Jones said he fears he will be attacked. Jones has recently put up the “Clown Lives Matter” movement on his facebook page, in an attempt to have people recognize that there are normal working clowns.
For some people with coulrophobia (fear of clowns) the past few weeks have been like a living nightmare. This clown craze sounds like something straight out of a horror movie. The situation has escalated to a serious problem, and if pranksters think it is funny to dress up as clowns, they should be more scared than their “victims”, because people have begun to attack threatening clowns. Halloween is only about three weeks away, so we will likely see the number of clown sightings increase. It will be interesting to see how the public will react. Regardless, I would suggest if you are going trick or treating for Halloween, dressing up as a clown would not be the best costume choice.

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