I’m happy to report that I didn’t have to report on any alleged clown sightings in the area this week.
Could’ve done without that unnecessary distraction last week. The story ended up taking up a bunch of my Monday, and I figured the interest would be high.
That made the assignment difficult.
On one hand, the incident probably needs to be reported to the public, but on the other, I felt like the headline only played into the panic and hype. However, other media coverage kind of forced my hand, and I vowed to at least make sure the story was complete and accurate.
A quick refresher in case you didn’t read last week.
Two teenage girls reported a suspicious person coming to an apartment door on Bello Mondo Drive on a Friday night. He talked in a weird voice, and upon inspection, the alleged victim claimed to see a man with a painted face, blacked-out eyes and a multi-colored wig.
In short, this person was dressed like a clown.
This fit in line with a growing national trend of alleged creepy clowns threatening people across the country. In St. Joseph, Mo., authorities even apprehended a man who allegedly made clown-based threats toward a local school.
I can’t believe I’m even typing out that sentence.
Anyway, there don’t appear to be many confirmed cases of finding the alleged clowns, and the sightings seemed to have dwindled. The only continued evidence appears to be videos faked specifically to try and “go viral” — or be passed around the internet as authentic.
Gotta get those RTs.
A Liberty, Mo. man apparently thought it would be funny to drive around in his car and enter the local Price Chopper wearing his creepy clown mask. He claimed to be harmless and insisted he took off the mask when asked to by store employees.
The 22-year-old had just bought the mask and didn’t understand how serious the threats were being taken. He was eventually arrested but not for being a clown but for an outstanding warrant.
I applaud the Platte City Police Department for taking the one reported threat very seriously. I will continue to believe this could have been a dangerous situation for at least one person, even if the evidence looks to me like either a prank gone wrong or the product of an over-active imagination run wild in wake of recent events.
Fortunately, the Platte County Sheriff’s Office and Parkville Police Department didn’t experience any similar scares. I’m sure the same goes for other areas in Platte County.
The evidence shows there isn’t a band of roving clowns out to attack people. More likely, these are isolated incidents building on a popular online trend bound to go the way of “The Running Man Challenge” or “The Harlem Shake.”
But Halloween does approach, so I warn you to be careful with your clown-based fun this holiday. Even if you mean no harm, you could invoke a sense of fear from your neighbor or a stranger.
The local police have enough to deal with that doesn’t involve searching for clowns that may or may not exist. It’s not funny enough to risk hurting yourself or someone else over.
One clown story and this column will be more than enough for me. Here’s hoping the clown beat doesn’t remain active at this newspaper.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.