Clowns carrying a knife, gun, or some other dangerous weapon are appearing in so many places that police can’t keep up with the reports. And so far there have been no actual clowns with evil intentions; yet! But what happens when someone gets the idea to capitalize on the hype and really carry out a tragic act. Will the warning be considered just part of the rumor mill and be disregarded? Or will it escalate like spoofing and swatting?
It requires a fair amount of resources to follow up on a complaint, particularly at a college or university. The schools own intranet can only send a threat message once it has been verified and that takes valuable time. And that happens as we approach Halloween?
We are living in a time where fear is being used as a weapon against us by unseen enemies. It is a time when we should be attempting to tamp down rumors and innuendo. But we are failing to be responsible and use reason to increase our sense of safety. Instead, we are doing this to ourselves! It is very similar to the hate messages that are always more “entertaining” than those comments that are positive. But when did we become fixated on hate as entertainment?
If there is a trend that I worry most about it is the fact that we are losing civility and becoming more course in our collective dialog. And, we are doing it at warp speed. When I watch our political discourse I often wonder if the people running for office are generating the negative rhetoric or simply reflecting what they observe. It would be great if everyone took some time to think about what they read on Twitter or Facebook and did their own fact checking instead of instantly starting to respond…