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Sullivan: Clown epidemic should be taken seriously

One trend with the internet and social media is that people online have a tendency to take things too far. This rings true for the latest social media trend: clown sightings. Despite horror movies, these makeup wearing jokesters are rarely dangerous. However, these clowns may have a more sinister goal.

The frenzy began in Greenville, South Carolina, where kids reported to their parents that a group of clowns had been trying to lure them into the woods. Since then, hundreds of videos and photos of people being chased or harassed by clowns have appeared on Twitter and other social media sites. In some cases, the victims take the fight to the clowns. Recently, hundreds of students at Pennsylvania State University took to surrounding campus streets for a mass clown hunt. There have even been “sightings” in Kansas City, Kansas, Overland Park and even Shawnee Mission East a clown threat.

However, some believe this is just a quick internet fad with Twitter users just trying to score a quick retweet or favorite.

“I think a lot of the videos are fake,” junior Adam Mills said. “When the camera is held too steadily or the reactions look too dramatic, you can tell.”

Lunch tables and classrooms have been abuzz with opinions, fighting strategies, and scenarios, and the #ifiseeaclown hashtag has been gaining steam on Twitter.

“Most of the time I don’t think the clowns are ready for people to fight back,” senior Thomas Angles said.  “If I ever see one on Ward Parkway during cross country practice, I’ll be ready.”

Regardless of if this is just a cruel joke or a true clown epidemic, this should be taken seriously. There have a multitude of arrests, and clowns and clown costumes have been outright banned in some counties in Connecticut. Multiple Facebook accounts threatened junior high students in St. Joseph, Missouri, saying they would kidnap students and harm teachers walking to their cars. The district had extra police that day and while the police did not find the threats credible, it is always best to be on the safe side.

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