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Attack of the Clowns

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Billy Sakmann

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In the midst of the most controversial election in American history, impending economic uncertainty, and a growing awareness of social injustice within our system, Americans are being hit with a new pandemic in these troubling times.

Clowns.

As October began, rumors swirled on social media and subsequently major news stations of mysterious clown sightings across the country. Clowns have been reportedly spotted in dark places, forests, highway intersections, and more. In different instances, the clowns have been shown to just stand ominously as well as menacingly approach onlookers.

The clown pandemic is certainly unsettling, and while it is easy to joke about, being confronted by a clown in the night would be scary for anyone. The greatest unknown is the clown’s intent. While some may be dressing up as clowns as a joke, to frighten but not to harm, other clowns across the nation have been seen with machetes, knives, and other weapons.

While there has not been any confirmed reports of clowns harming innocent citizens, those who dress up as clowns are effectively terrorizing communities and inciting unnecessary fear.

The University of New Haven’s chief of police, Tracy Mooney, sent out an email to the campus community briefing them on the matter. Mooney warned, “there have been reports, both locally and regionally, of people dressing in clown costumes in an attempt to scare others. There are also people who are posing as clowns and posting threatening messages on social media sites.”

Mooney goes on to say that this behavior will not be tolerated at U.N.H., and that the penalty for inciting fear could be as harsh an arrest for “creating fear and anxiety in others will not be tolerated.”

The City of New Haven and its education system have also been proactive about the situation, with student safety remaining a top concern.

Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries comments that while they are actively monitoring the situation “At this time we are considering this to be nothing more than a prank and harassment fueled by social media.”

New Haven public schools have banned clown costumes and other “symbols of terror” during the Halloween season.

In short, the clown outbreak should be regarded as a real potential threat. There are people on the streets, sometimes wielding weapons, purposely creating fear in our communities. At the same time, it’s important to take certain clown rumors with a grain of salt.

There have been many rumors of campuses across the nation and even Connecticut of campuses shutting down due to clown threats. However, these rumors proved to mostly unfounded.

It is important to stay safe in these potentially troubling times. Precautionary measures could include but are not limited to: traveling in groups especially at night, walking in well-lit areas, and reporting of any potentially suspicious activity.

Campus Police can be reached at 203-932-7014 for non-emergencies, and 203-932-7070 for emergency situations.  

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Attack of the Clowns