Friday, September 30, 2016

"Creepy Clowns"

This is "Gags", the Green Bay, Wisconsin creepy clown first spotted back on August 1st of this year.  "Gags" seems to be the starting point for the "Creepy Clown" sightings that have swept through much of the United States.

North Carolina had a cluster of sightings, then South Carolina.  Sightings then began to pop up in California, Washington and Oregon.  Then we started to get them here in the Tri-State area.  (For readers not from this part of the world, the Tri-State area where Cincinnati is located is formed by the Southwest corner of Ohio, the Southeast corner of Indiana, and the northwest top corner of Kentucky).

First we started to have some random sightings out in the eastern side (which is suburbs but still a lot of farmland) and the northern suburbs.  Then sightings started about two weeks ago in Kentucky.  Given the time of year, it was easy to dismiss this as some kind of stupid fad going around.  Then things got interesting….

"We are coming to a town near you :) be one with us or be against us your choice not ours. Ohio, USA."--that is the byline on the "Clown Clan" twitter account that was opened just last week.  Local sheriffs and police departments have taken the threats seriously.  Then this morning we got this headline…

"Report of Reading woman attacked by clown closes schools" So now we have gone from amusing, albeit creepy, to now attacks and disruption to people's lives.  Simultaneous to the increase in "creepy clowns" the Tri-State area has seen a spike in threats being called in to local elementary and high schools.  Two weeks ago, one high school football game was cancelled due to a bomb threat.  All three of the local high schools out in Clinton county have been evacuated at least once over the past few weeks due to threats.

What is going on?  One clue may be that despite the rash of sightings of "creepy clowns", none of them have been run over, shot, stabbed or punched out.  It would indicate that there may not be as many "creepy clowns" in reality as the headlines may make us think.  People may be mistaken in what they see or simply panic when some stranger is following them.

None of the bomb threats have proven to be anything other than hoaxes so far.  The perpetrators of both the "creepy clowns" and making threats are looking for ways to be noticed and these two news stories are providing them great ways to get noticed.  

Paranoia combined with some mild hysteria in the 21st Century results in shutdowns.  It doesn't mean there isn't a threat, we just have to remain vigilant. One of these times, the "creepy clown" or school threat won't be a hoax.

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