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Here's Your Friday Roundup Of Clown Happenings Around Town

(Photo by eyetwist via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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What started as a rumor in South Carolina has now transpired to become a national phenomenon. Yes, we’re talking about clowns stalking your backyard.

As we'd noted earlier this week, the craze has infected the Southland as well, with cutlery-wielding clowns spotted in Lancaster and San Pedro. Also, two teenagers have been separately arrested for making clown-related threats, and an Instagram account with the handle @wearecomingtocali has cropped up providing hints as to where one might encounter some Bozo-wannabes (Fairfax and Torrance were among the cities named).

It seems like the fad hasn't lost any steam as the week has progressed. During the late-morning on Friday, administrators at Chaparral High School in Temecula canceled classes after a couple of clown-related threats were made against the school on social media, reports ABC 7. One threat was made on Thursday night, and a couple more were posted on Twitter at 10 a.m. on Friday, this time with "more specific details and threat information," the Temecula Valley Unified School District said in a Facebook post. This prompted administrators to tell parents to come pick up their kids. Here's a picture of the scene as students were escorted away from campus:

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At around 4:40 p.m., the TVUSD issued a message on Facebook saying that an arrest had been made in connection with the threats:

Meanwhile, further up north, the Torrance Police Department sent out a "creepy clowns advisory" on Friday afternoon to "remind all that it is a crime to make a written or verbal threat, copy or repeat any threat against any person or school." As dire as this warning may sound, the department is actually brushing off the phenomenon as a big prank, saying that the real problem is that students are "using the sightings across the country as a means to get out of school and cause turmoil." While it may seem laughable that this advisory even exists, it highlights the fact that this clown craze has some real-life consequences. The stunts can cost taxpayers money by adding workload to police departments and by canceling classes; as noted at CNN, a simple snow day (which obviously doesn't happen out here) can be a big monetary fiasco for a school.

There's plenty of other clown-centric news outside of the Southland, too.

On Friday, Time Magazine published an op-ed by Violent J, a member of Insane Clown Posse, in which the musician chimed in with his own take on the clown epidemic. It seemed as if Time's logic was sound: why not ask a famous real-life clown what he thinks about the clown craze? The result, however, was one a little different.

In his article, Violent J said that, yes, the nation is overrun with scary clowns, except these clowns "don't wear greasepaint." The true clowns, he said, range from "keystone-cop clowns shooting unarmed citizens, to racist clowns burning down Islamic centers or clowns in the NSA spying on us through our cell phones and laptops."

He then went on to defend Juggalos (a term used to describe the band's most ardent fans):

In 2011, the FBI named the Juggalos in its National Gang Threat Assessment. Ever since, they have been targeted, profiled and blatantly discriminated on by law enforcement agencies across America. Over the last four years, we've been working with our legal team and the ACLU of Michigan, to prove to the U.S. Department of Justice that this completely ridiculous gang label slapped on Juggalos is literally destroying lives.

The group (both the band and the Juggalos) feel so discriminated upon that they've planed a march that will take place at the National Mall in D.C. on September 16, 2017.

Speaking of clown rights, there's a "Clown Lives Matter" march being staged in Tucson, Arizona. Apparently, there's supposed to be some merit to this event, as professional clowns are saying that the recent craze has been bad for their profession, reports NBC 4 Tucson. Even if there's some substance to this, it probably would have been smart for organizers to pick a different name for the event. Is anything accomplished by riffing off another movement (that's actually valid and exponentially more important)? Or are the organizers making a concerted effort to be idiots? Nikki Sinn, organizer of the march, told NBC 4 tucson that, "We're just going to gather together and walk peacefully and pass out balloon animals and fliers and give out free hugs."

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Whatever. Hopefully, the whole thing will die down by next week. Fingers crossed.

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