Why You Should Report People In Clown Masks Or Costumes
I'm seeing a range of reactions to the recent spate of clown sightings throughout the country. We had our first Louisiana sighting this week, and some people are just laughing it off. Others are threatening to attack people in clown attire, either with their fists or even with guns.
Let's talk about how we should all approach this situation as responsible citizens.
Masking: It's against the law in Louisiana to wear a mask outside of Halloween, Mardi Gras, and a few other activities.
A. No person shall use or wear in any public place of any character whatsoever, or in any open place in view thereof, a hood or mask, or anything in the nature of either, or any facial disguise of any kind or description, calculated to conceal or hide the identity of the person or to prevent his being readily recognized.
Click here to read the full law and its exceptions.
Suspicious behavior: People appearing in public areas in clown masks or attire is NOT ordinary behavior. It's against the law and could be something much more. Sometimes, we don't report something because we don't want to 'make a big deal.' This is now a nationwide occurrence and is definitely a big deal.
Who are these clowns? Since these clown appearances began, a few people involved have been arrested or warned. In some cases, they're people who are out looking to scare other people or who want attention. In other cases, however, these masked people have been reported trying to lure children into nearby woods, have made threats of murder on social media, and have even killed one person.
What you should do if you see someone in a clown mask: Since you don't know the motives of someone wearing a clown mask or costume, it's best to assume they're up to no good. For your own safety and that of your neighbors, you should immediately report the time and location of the clown sighting, offering as much detail as possible. If you're able to, take a picture of the suspicious activity and share it to local law enforcement social media pages. One of the quickest ways to get your report to the right people is to call 911 or post to the Louisiana State Police Facebook page.
What you shouldn't do if you see someone in a clown mask: Since you don't know the motives of these people, it's best that you report the incident instead of engaging the person or people in clown attire. If you threaten them with injury and they're minors, you could be arrested. If you engage them physically, you will be arrested for assault. Many people with carry permits are boasting about using their guns if they encounter a clown. This is what law enforcement doesn't want, and neither do you. Innocent people could be killed. This is the job of local law enforcement, not citizens playing vigilante.
Halloween: There are going to be lots of Halloween - themed activities throughout the state starting tomorrow. Some will take advantage of the season and the clown 'epidemic' to cause trouble. You should always been cautious when trick or treating, but it's probably a good idea to be even more aware of your surroundings this year and to stay near your children at all times while going house to house.
The end: There were a number of mysterious clown appearances in the 80s, leading to child kidnappings and worse. Mental health officials say that these incidents eventually end, but don't end well. We can help to defuse the situation by avoiding contact and reporting suspicious activity.