About 20 years ago, we used to go out to eat with some friends after church on Sundays. Our kids were little and they had two young daughters.
I don’t recall the name of the restaurant where we went but it was in a shopping center at 21st Street and Sheridan Road.
One Sunday, the restaurant hired a clown to walk around during the lunch hour and blow up balloon animals and generally amuse the patrons, mostly the kids.
But one of the daughters of our friends was terrified of this clown. She could not stop screaming. This was totally out of character for this sweet little girl but she was just frightened out of her wits.
They had to take her out of the restaurant and we never ate there with this family again.
Some people just have an irrational fear of clowns.
So now in America we have rash of sightings of “threatening clowns.”
That’s right. People are dressing up like menacing clowns and confronting people. These are not like Bozo the Clown or like a clown you might see at the circus. These are like evil clowns you might see in a Batman movie.
A man was assaulted in South Tulsa by a clown. A Facebook account done by a clown threatened to kill some middle school students in Tulsa.
Some threatening clown sightings are false reports but apparently there have been incidents in as many as 35 states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana and Colorado.
This is a troubling situation, both for someone confronted by a threatening clown and the clowns themselves.
People are making clown threats on Facebook. There have been arrests of clowns in Alabama because of the implicit threats.
This stuff is all over social media.
One sheriff in Arkansas announced a “zero tolerance” for anyone dressing up like a clown to scare people. An Arkansas school resources officer is in trouble for posing in a clown costume online. Likewise, an Arkansas city police officer was suspended for two days for dressing in a clown suit for a party and then posting the photo on social media.
Clown sightings are being reported all over Denver. These threatening clowns will show up and then stare at people to make them nervous.
A young student saw a clown hiding in some bushes in Kansas City, Missouri. (This could have been a hoax.)
There have been a lot more false reports of threatening clowns than actual sightings.
But some Facebook postings indicate that clowns are going to show up at schools and either kidnap or kill students and teachers. With the dark cloud of terrorism hanging over America, these messages have to be taken seriously.
One woman in the Ozarks in Missouri told police she saw a clown running around with a knife. Another report in Mississippi claimed a clown had a machete.
Apparently, there were a rash of threatening clown reports in Corpus Christi, Texas. A clown posted on social media that he was going to visit 10 campuses. People have seen clowns in Fort Worth and Dallas. Clown threats have surfaced in Austin.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, schools were closed in early October one day after a woman said she was attacked by a man dressed as a clown.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was actually asked about the clown problem in a briefing.
“Obviously, this is a situation that local law enforcement authorities take quite seriously and they should carefully and thoroughly review, you know, perceived threats to the safety of the community and they should do so prudently,” Earnest told reporters.
This could be a real problem on Halloween.
Immature kids, without considering unintended consequences, could really hurt themselves or someone else. They could easily terrify a child or even some adults who harbor a real apprehension about someone dressed as a clown.
Some may think of this as just a joke. But most people have some fears that may not seem that big to the majority of the population but can be disabling to some individuals.
I don’t like heights. I visited the top of the Empire State Building in 2001 (before 9/11) and I frankly couldn’t wait to be back on the ground even though there was absolutely no way to fall off. I drove my family up Pike’s Peak in Colorado and turned around about 1,500 feet from the top because we were on a gravel road with no guardrails.
I don’t think my concern about heights is irrational but some others might. The point is, I don’t want someone to force me to walk to the edge of a 15-story building and look over the side.
And people shouldn’t be dressing up like clowns and threatening others on social media.
What is wrong with people?
Halloween is just an evil holiday. We dress up little kids like zombies and tell them to “trick” someone if they don’t get a “treat.” Perverts have a field day on Halloween.
It’s OK to have fun on Halloween but this year, please don’t dress up like a clown and don’t pretend to be one on Facebook.