Editorial: Creepy Clown Hype in Perspective
Oy vey! For weeks now, with increasing forward momentum, we've seen the proliferation of "creepy clowns" across the US. It started in North Carolina with some kids claiming clowns tried to get them to come in the woods, offering money. Apparently the kids didn't need the dough, and they passed, and the police were never able to apprehend anyone or corroborate the story. Did it even happen? Who knows. Those meddling kids! ;)
The news story and headline was an attention grabber, especially with the Halloween season around the corner. The report was so hyped, my theory is, copycats decided to join in the fun. I say the fun, yes, because I'm confident the chain of sightings, are almost 100% harmless pranksters looking to scare people. It's frustrating, because largely due to the media hype, it does have an affect on everyone enjoying good clean Halloween fun. I was saddened to see that the the Throop Haunted Trail even changed their theme this year because of the hysteria of clown-pranksters being taken so seriously. If you need to really ask yourself "what kind of weirdo would do that", Haunted Attractions are packed full of people every season who, although they collect a paycheck, find the screams are every bit as valuable. Is that crazy? Maybe you haven't seen my front porch on Halloween night. Scaring people is fun! And oh yeah, there's a national Holiday built around it!
I'd concede that, the case on Syracuse, NY's north-side where a kid was chased before school is a bit unnerving at face value... But we need to keep it in perspective. Do you really think a "gang" of clowns was out hunting children? This was in all probability, a bunch of teenagers getting their jollies scaring a younger kid. Oh the humanity! Let's not lose our common sense. It was brought to a head yesterday, when it came to my attention a local police department decided to weigh-in on the issue in a way that I'm not at all comfortable with.
Enter the Phoenix, NY Police Dept.
In a recent post on the official Facebook page of the Village of Phoenix Police , the department officially commented on the recent clown "sitings" [sic]. Their post helped to spread what they admit are rumors, pointed to anecdotal accounts with zero corroboration, and included a
veiled THREAT OF ARREST for anyone who wears a clown costume with the intent to cause fear.