West: Clowns a bunch of hokum
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By MIKE WEST

All this hoopla over "scary clowns" is unfortunate.

In case you didn't know, "scary clowns" are appearing all over the South and in particular in counties surrounding Cannon. Woodbury Police and Cannon County Sheriff's Department have not received a clown report ... yet.

The good news is most, if not all, of the reports are fake. What I mean is a few idiots calling the police to report they have seen a scary clown doing this or that when in reality they haven't seen a thing. It's just a big joke to them or in some cases a dumb way of getting attention.

Authorities in Coffee County have received some reports much to the frustration of Sheriff Steve Graves.

"The clown thing has taken off in social media and you see it all across the United States," Graves said. "Our theory is someone is going to get hurt. More and more people are going to start doing it and it's funny and they're going to jump out and scare the wrong person and they're either going to get shot or hurt seriously," the sheriff said.

The scary clown reports began in August in South Carolina and have spread to North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and now Tennessee. The bogus reports are time-consuming for police who are already stressed and jumpy from events of this long, hot summer.

Scary clown news is especially being spread on that not-so-reliable news source, Facebook.

In Flomation, AL, folks were upset by messages from a Facebook page featuring scary clown photos and text like "I kill people for a living." A Flomaton school was locked down and local police and, believe it or not, the FBI responded. No clowns were found, but 22-year-old Makayla Smith was arrested along with two juvenile Alabama residents for allegedly making the threats. Authorities set Smith's bond at $200,000.

Dumb!

Similar stories are emerging from all over the South, and yes, other dummies are being arrested.

In Winston-Salem NC, 24-year-old David Wayne Armstrong was arrested and charged with filing a false report about seeing a scary clown.

In Statesboro, GA, authorities have the blues too after a number of reports of scary clowns on the campus of Georgia Southern. No arrests have been made there yet.

In Tennessee, spooky clown "sightings" have also been reported in Grundy County and Chatta-nooga. In Chatta-nooga, two Red Bank Middle School School students were charged with disorderly conduct, conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and filing a false report after posting a clown would shoot up schools in Red Bank.

The Grundy County Sheriff's Facebook page included the following announcement:

"The Grundy County Sheriff's Office received two calls last night regarding someone dressed up in a clown suit in the Lankford Town Rd area of Tracy City as well as the Plainview Rd area. Those calls were answered and cleared as unfounded. We are aware that there have been similar type incidents being reported in the news and on social media in various locations throughout the country. For these reasons, the sheriff's office wishes to advise the public that any incident of this nature reported will be taken seriously and will result in criminal charges for the person/persons found to be responsible.

"Also note that any individual responsible for falsely reporting a 'sighting' will also be prosecuted criminally. Also be advised that in addition to being criminally prosecuted, dressing in any type of costume and attempting to chase, lure, or cause fear with any person or group of people is very dangerous and could result in serious injury or death.

Finally, you have to be an absolute idiot to dress up like a 'scary clown' and run around Grundy County scaring people. If you are thinking about doing this, you better think again. If you have done this, don't call the Sheriff's Office when you scare someone and they snatch up your clown hind-end. ~ Sheriff Clint Shrum.

That pretty much tells it like it is.

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