The “creepy clown” phenomenon is, for many involved, more irritating than scary.
It’s a fad, a meme, whatever you want to call it. The clowns making headlines are almost universally teenagers. Yet another attempt to go viral and get a million YouTube clicks.
That might mean you’re the clown, supposedly freaking people out who just happen to own dashcams that cut out just before the “attack” occurs.
It might mean you’re the clown attacker, the vigilante roaming the streets who just happens to a) have the dashcam on when b) a creepy clown suddenly looms into view.
The latest “attack” to go viral is an incident, apparently in Parramatta, on the “clown-bashing” side of the trend. A carload of guys – dashcam on, check – sight a clown on the side of the road:
Cue the standard “Dude wtf?” howls before they turn around and head back for the clown. One guy jumps out and the clown muscles up:
We won’t show you the “beating” the clown then took. Just a snap before it happened:
The original video has been taken down, but reposted or tacked onto several “clown-bashing compilation” videos that quickly racked up quarter of a million views.
NSW Police are aware of the video. They say to their knowledge, it’s staged. They haven’t received any witness reports; they haven’t received any complaints from the “victim”.
They are, however, already unimpressed with any use of their resources on the phenomenon. If anyone’s going to get arrested for this, it will be for wasting police time.
“NSW Police has not received any credible reports of events involving people wearing clown masks,” a spokesman said. “At this stage all the calls which police have received in relation to the matter have been found to be false.
“Previously, they’ve all been reenactments. They’re staged between two people who obviously know each other.”
But threatening behaviour is also a crime, and while no one’s actually getting hospital time, police in the US are starting to lock clowns up – for concealing their identity, politely terrorising, or in the case of a 15-year-old girl in Minnesota, for creating a Facebook account under the name “Kroacky Klown” and posting threats online.
Physically, no one’s been hurt. Google “clown attacks” and see if you can find anyone who’s actually been knifed, bashed or murdered by a clown.
Go deep and you might get one or two. Hopefully, it will never happen, but sadly, it’s almost inevitable that one day it will.
But right now, what you will definitely get is a thousand referrals to headlines with “clown attacks” in them. “Attack” being defined by “scare”, “threaten” or “freak out”.
We’ve seen all the corny attempts to create a viral mythology before with the “Slenderman” craze.
That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s a fact that parents are consoling their children and getting angry that it’s almost impossible to protect them from the online hysteria.
And it took a near-fatal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other 12-year-old girls for people to realise the Slenderman thing had gone too far.
It went too far because too many people took too much notice of it.
Police just want the creepy clown thing to stop and their stance is the best way to ensure it all goes away is to ignore it.
And while we can’t condone violent behaviour, wannabe creepy clowns probably should understand there’s a nation of Aussie dads and mums who right now are cheering on that carload of thugs, whether the fight is staged or not.
Yes, somebody will get seriously hurt soon. But the chances are it will be the kids in clown suits trying to gain some instant fame.
We can all end it right now, before that happens, by ignoring it, and telling our kids to ignore it. Because if clowns are good enough for the creator of Pennywise:
Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016
They are good enough for everyone.
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