Receptionist Mistakes Fresh Prince Theme Song for Threat; School Goes Into Lockdown

Zero tolerance for 1990s television.


The Associated Press reports:

director's cut

The teen's voicemail greeting triggered a lockdown at his Pennsylvania school after a receptionist misheard his rendition of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme song.

While trying to confirm an appointment with 19-year-old Travis Clawson the receptionist thought the message said "shooting people outside of the school." The line is actually "shooting some b-ball," a reference to basketball.

The receptionist called 911 and Economy police arrested Clawson a short time later at Ambridge Area High School, but released him once he explained the message.

Acting police Chief James Mann says police acted "appropriately" out of concern for students' welfare.

Via Lenore Skenazy.

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  1. The Onion couldn’t make this up

    1. Where the fuck’s my H/T?!

        1. I linked it firstyou son of a bitch.

          1. Well golf clap you, dammit. But still want the H/T.

            1. Why the hell should you get the hat tip, motherfucker? You stole the goddamn story…


              Look man, we’re on the same side here. We shouldn’t be wasting our time bickering when the real enemy is this Lenore Skenazy person. That’s what Lenore does; swoops in, steals the hat tip and watches from afar, laughing, as we kill each other over this shit.

              1. Exactly. We should do the democratic thing and gang up on the person we both hate! I see how you got those General’s bars!

                You hear that, Skenazy? You’re days are numbered here!

                1. That’s the spirit!

                  You’re a true patriot, and an asset to Reason Army.

                  1. Do you has the five bucks?

                2. You hear that, Skenazy? You’re days are numbered here!

                  She is days are numbered here?? I’m sure that really frightens her.

          2. Oh now hat tips are important!

          3. Proof that Reason writers don’t read the comments.


    3. my co-worker’s step-aunt makes $63 every hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $20324 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site…

      1. Silvia, dear, your co-worker is a liar. His aunt made that money giving “handy’s” to hobos in the restrooms down at the public library. I know times are tough and everyone could use a few more bucks, but hobo sex is no way to make a living.

  2. You never wanna go full Fresh Prince.

    1. That be some hardcore gangsta rap!

  3. The descendants of those that fought hostile indians, wild animals and inhospitable terrain and weather are today driven to pants-shitting terror over potentially threatening outgoing messages.

    1. That’s actually the thing, more likely the descendants of the people who came after America was settled, just so they could mooch.

    2. The real tragedy is that she didn’t know the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s theme song. I would sacrifice 100 children in service to the Fresh Prince, and don’t want to live in a country which values its children more than Will Smith.

      1. Irish understands the true meaning of Big Willie Style.

    3. Don’t you know, 9/11 changed everything! Eternal vigilance is its own reward.

    4. “that fought hostile indians, wild animals and inhospitable terrain ”

      Let’s see: Racist, Specist, and Terrarist. Yup, you’re a libertarian aren’t you.

      1. +1 for Terrarist

  4. …but released him once he explained the message.


    I was arrested once for wearing a Cosby sweater to school, and I accepted responsibility for my actions. Kids today.

    1. Was it a Cooooosssssssby sweatah?

  5. Anyone remember this? “Tonight on a very special Fresh Prince.

    1. I definitely don’t think you can just yell and scream in a hospital like that without attracting attention, especially when you’re yelling “give me the gun!!!”

  6. Welcome to Earf.

    1. ^^^ I don’t know why, but that has me busting a gut. Thanks!

  7. Everyone knows the theme

  8. I hope that when the cops let him go he said “Smell ya later!”

    1. Nicely done.

  9. Fear is a powerful tool when it is beaten into people’s heads. But too much of a good thing….

  10. I got in one little fight and my mom got scared/

    That’s all I got. Called in SWAT?

    1. Then a couple of cops, that were up to no good…

  11. Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it. Wow.

  12. the receptionist thought the message said “shooting people outside of the school.” The line is actually “shooting some b-ball”

    How would this have played out had the receptionist thought the message said “You deserve to have me kill you, bitch!” when the line was actually “Hi, please leave a message”?

    Let the lawsuits begin.

  13. Parents just don’t understand.

    May destroy ya!

    1. Don’t try to brighten my pitch black soul with this happy shit.

      Fuck life!

    2. I’ll stop it from being happy shit for you.

      How the hell did those two deer get into the exact middle of the frozen lake to begin with? If they can get out there, they can get themselves back (as the fawn did as the chopper approached anyway).

      How much fuel did the chopper burn up saving this idiot deer and thus screwing up Darwinian natural selection? Now there will be more bonehead deer genes being passed along. It’s not like deer are an endangered species to begin with.

      Feel better?

    3. Deer messed up its leg though, it will be food for something soon.

    4. “Nova Scotia Government Blows Deer On Ice” sounds like it could be a big hit at the local arena

      1. The way I read this it sounded like some Canuk public officials have an oral fixation for necrophiliac bestiality. Whatever works for them I guess.

        1. Whatever puts people in the seats!

    5. Helicopter Deer Curling.

      Pretty much the national sport, isnt it?

  15. Police always act appropriately, why do they even bother saying it?

    1. ‘Cause someone asked.

  16. “The receptionist called 911 and Economy police arrested Clawson a short time later at Ambridge Area High School, but released him once he explained the message.”

    For a misunderstanding that would take ten seconds to explain, and ten more to verify, they arrest him first before finding out what the problem is?
    So now the kid has an arrest record. Get yourself a lawyer Travis.

  17. MIB sucked.

    1. It’s on Encore as we type.

    2. Funny, it’s actually the last time I remember liking Will Smith in something.

      1. It’s also pro-“assault weapon.”

        1. …Although, it is also anti-open-border.

          Maybe I shouldn’t be projecting my politics onto Will Smiff movies?

          1. anti-open border? It has good aliens and bad aliens, but not a generally xeno(morph)phobia.

            1. And the MIB made the Border Patrol guys let the Mexicans go, while mockingly congratulating the BP for “protecting us from dangerous aliens”.

      2. Yeah, I thought MIB was at least entertaining. I thought he was decent in I am Legand altough I can’t say I was a big fan of that movie over all. Zombies? I mean come on.

        1. I robot was ok as a concept, failed in execution though. Not terrorable.

        2. Tommy Lee Jones’s cynical take on his character’s career sells the movie.

          1. Currently watching another TLJ tour de force…Volcano.

            Damn, what a fine movie. And some phenomenal acting.

            1. …sarcasm?

              Volcano is a libertarian instruction video on ‘how to improve Los Angeles’.

              1. sarcasm?


            2. During the 90s, you didn’t get much better than Jones as far as a leading man in summer blockbuster.

              …Poor guy had to room with Al Gore back in Harvard. I hope the money and babes have made up for that pain.

        3. He was good in I, Robot as well. I haven’t seen his sappier stuff like Happiness and Hitch.

        4. I am Legend is better if you see the original ending they filmed for it, rather than the one the studios made them change it to for the theatrical release because the focus groups didn’t like that the moral ambiguity in the original.

          1. Also, no love for Enemy of the State? And you call yourself, libertarians!

            1. That was good, thanks to Gene Hackman.

          2. I have to agree with the focus groups. I don’t mind moral ambiguity, but the original ending just made no sense. They’ve been hunting him for weeks or months, and when they finally find him, they back down immediately and let him live? Stupid. It reeked of adding moral ambiguity for its own sake… sort of like the Star Wars prequels.


    3. No shit. The two times I tried to watch it I fell asleep.

  18. Economy is a shitty little borough, and Ambridge would be best nuked. Other than Guzyk’s guns, of course. That place is awesome. I have spent many a dollar there.

    1. I’ll have to check them out as that’s only about 30 miles from my house. Is it a big shop, or a mom and pop operation? Good customer service?

      Right now there’s only Anthony Arms in west mifflin and they’re the biggest assholes in the business, so I try not to go there (and they’re overpriced). There’s Braverman, but it’s a pain to get over there at any time other than sunday morning.

      1. Is that the same West Mifflin where they have the blood-sucking monkeys?

      2. You might like John Brown’s Armory in Rochester. Although their selection, normally quite good, is a bit bare now. Also If you feel like driving a littlee longer try Nesbitt’s near Ellwood City.

        1. Have to put them on my offcial Western PA Spring Break Gun Shop Tour list.

          I don’t mind driving to a good shop, I just wanna find a place whose employees don’t act like you’re bothering them when you try to buy something. Like I said, I like braverman’s but haven’t been there in years, and it’s a pain to get there.

      3. Guns Priced Right in Dravosburg is a good/nice dealer if a bit smallish.

        Do you have something against Gander Mountain, btw? Obviously not a locally owned shop but they’re great people.

        1. No, I like them very much, but I’ve been going there twice a week for the last 6 months. It’s time for a new place to go, not that I’ll stop going to Gander, because, you’re right in that their customer service is damn good.

          You ever talk to the south african guy that works there?

          He’s big and sounds like he’s from britain. Very, very pro-2nd guy.

          1. Cameron is the bomb. He actually dissuaded me from buying two different guns (a S+W Bodyguard and a Rossi .357), which is amazing for a guy probably working on commission.

            It’s also funny to see him driving his little hatchback.

            1. I never caught his name, but I can’t imagine there are too many south african dudes working at gander mountain. I wonder if he considers himself “african-american”, ’cause he could totally check that box and not be lying.

              Speaking of commission sales, some people are shortsighted sales people and only try to make a buck right now, not realizing that taking care of a customer and watching out for their interests will insure future business.

              1. Those boxes have been messed up since they chickened out and switched from Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasian. And what’s this White Hispanic shit.

        2. Woops, hit submit…

          Yeah, I’ll check out GPR. My plan is to take a day during spring break, fill up the tank, and hit a bunch of different gun shops. Just for something to do (and to familiarize myself with the local shops).

      4. Horrible customer service, but good prices, and you’ll get to experience a side of humanity you’ve never seen before.

    2. It’s the stupid, Economy.

      1. Well played.

    3. Hey, fuck you. A nuke in Ambridge would pretty much ruin my day and depending on the wind direction, wreck my property value.

    4. It already was nuked. By Reagan.

      1. I once worked at that big park that used to be called J&L Steel.

  19. The receptionist called 911 and Economy police arrested Clawson a short time later…

    Wait a sec. The economy has a police force? Who are these folks, and why aren’t they in DC arresting politicians and bureaucrats?

    1. The receptionist called 911 and Economy police arrested Clawson a short time later…

      For the same price they could have gotten Mid-Sized police but then it would be tougher to find parking.

  20. One of my nephews got suspended for pointing at a teacher and saying “back at you”. She said it was a gun threat. Here, two kids do what can only be described as an incredibly heroic act by wrestling a loaded gun away from another student who was pointing it at someone’s head and they are suspended immediately for “being involved in a gun incident”.…..suspended/

    Guns have just become the new witch to these people. They can’t think rationally. They are terrified and need something to pin their fears on. And guns are it. It is really scary.

    1. Damn, John. The only thing more bizarre than that would be if the authorities, having suspended the kids for “being involved in a gun incident”, *resigned* for “being involved in a gun incident”.

    2. Here, two kids do what can only be described as an incredibly heroic act…

      Only licensed, union represented public employees are authorized to perform heroic acts.

      The last thing bureaucrats need is a bunch of uppity civillains.

    3. It’s a disgust reaction, the sort J. Haidt attributes largely to conservatives.

      1. It’s a sense of purity. Guns are impure, and anything or anyone coming in contact with a gun, or reminding anyone of a gun, is ritually unclean and must be purified.

        1. It really is. We saw in the 1980s with the whole sex abuse craze, when liberals go on a scape goat bender, things get very scary.

    4. I also see a great hostility to anybody doing anything for themselves. For instance, developing the skills to defend yourself (e.g. buying a gun and learning how to use it) is, in essence, a repudiation of their precious State, to which you’re supposed to exhibit a blind faith.

      And people who do such things are not as easily controlled. Thinking and doing for yourself leads to human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

  21. That actually looks like its gonna be pretty cool. Wow.

  22. If the article is accurate in it’s choice of words then the most disturbing aspect would be the arrest of a person because of a complaint about their voice-mail greeting. If law enforcement resources had to be wasted on this daft report then couldn’t they have just asked the kid to play his message, had a good laugh and threatened the school with being charged for frivolous reports?

    1. But the secretary thought there was a credible threat, and gun violence was imminent. Why do you want innocent school children to be gun murdered?

      1. She’ll get a medal from her employer, and unrelenting ridicule from the students.

        1. Some folks could use a little negative reinforcement of their hysteria regarding extremely low probability events. In my admittedly unimportant opinion this group includes school personnel who get excited over kids VM greetings, bubble weapons and pop-tart shapes. Think of how many children’s lives might be saved if we could just redirect this energy towards the dangers in traveling to and from school. Our brains want to fixate on the high visibility but improbable hazard while becoming inured to the much more common threats. A trait of a rational person is to recognize when they are behaving in that manner and stop doing so.

          1. From a self-preservation standpoint, it’s perfectly rational to cover your ass in case this guy does turn out to be a school shooter.

            No one’s going to blame a receptionist or a 911 dispatcher or a cop for a kid who got kidnapped or run over on the way to school; they will blame such a person who had information that indicated someone was a potential shooter.

    2. To be fair, the gun club director who denied James Holmes (the Batman shooter) a membership based on his voice mail greeting caught hell for not alerting authorities.

      1. OK. Your point is?

        Sorry, but it’s the responsibility of the officers to determine that the threat is credible, that nit is not protected by the 1A and that he has acted to carry out the credible threat. Otherwise, the correct response by the police is to tell the receptionist, or gun club owner, “thanks for your concern, but that person has rights in a free society,” and to drive to the nearest speed trap they’ve set up to enhance revenue.

        1. My point was that no one wants to be known as “the person who noticed something wrong with a future mass shooter and didn’t tell the authorities”, and no cop/bureaucrat wants to be the one who didn’t take action when notified of a future mass shooter’s weirdness.

  23. In other news, China is slouching toward Spaceballs:

    Chinese billionaire and controversial philanthropist Chen Guangbiao (???) has unveiled his latest invention, canned fresh air, under his registered trademark “Good Person Chen Guangbiao.”

    Each can retails for between 4 yuan and 5 yuan (around $0.80).

    He has produced 100,000 cans, containing the fresh air collected from Wuhe county in Anhui province and Taiwan.

    He also said he is willing to donate profits from selling organic food to the People’s Liberation Army to safeguard China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.

  24. Acting police Chief James Mann says police acted “appropriately” out of concern for students’ welfare.

    Um, no! Just because he says so doesn’t make it true. The receptionist made a mistake. The police, on the other hand, made an unlawful arrest based on no evidence whatsoever and deprived a man of his freedom for an indeterminate period of time. The individual officers need to be held criminally responsible for false imprisonment, wrongful arrest, excessive force (since zero force was warranted) and firearm enhancers for all of the charges. And the department should have the inevitable settlement taken out of their departmental budget and/or retirement fund.

    Only when cops are held responsible for their wanton disregard for peoples’ rights will they get a fucking clue.

  25. Most news sources for this story say “arrested”, but a couple use the verb “detained”.

    Which is it?

    Because it makes a fucking lot of difference.

    1. Really? Because if you’re not free to go at your leisure, there’s no real difference in arrested or detained.

      1. The difference is the difference between a person who can answer the question, “Have you ever been arrested?” with a No and the person who has to answer Yes.

        1. Where would that question ever come up? IIRC, it’s illegal for an employer to ask the question about being arrested. They may ask about convictions, but not arrests.

          Sorry, but detained=arrested in my book because your liberty has been deprived by armed agents of the state in ether case.

          1. That’s not true. There are a tiny number of states where they can’t ask that, but elsewhere it’s a standard question.

            You will also be asked about it if you apply for a security clearance.

            It’s also a question on many college applications.

            And I can GUARANTEE you that the people who tell us “Even the NRA agrees with universal background checks for gun purchases!” will in the near future find a way to deny you the right to buy a gun if you have an arrest record, regardless of convictions.

          2. So being pulled over for a traffic violation counts as an arrest? Because you’re not free to just drive away whenever you want.

            Your proposed terminology works in the statists’ favor, not yours.

            1. unless you KNOW exactly what the police were told prior to making the arrest, you can'[t know if it was a valid arreste/detention or not.

              they were acting based on a complaint from the school.

              that’s called PC.

              if the school called up and said he was making terroristic threats, bla bla then they acted appropriately. ONCE they had a chance to hear his side of the story, then they unarrested him

              1. also, it'[s good example debunking the “don’t talk to police” meme. kid was arrestee/detained based on what somebody else said. he was able to get himself unarrested by telling his (innocuous) side of the story.

                the secretary probably feels like a dipshit , as she should, but she also didn’t want to be the “one” that ignored the threat (what she erroneously perceived as) and “have another columbine” lol.

                it’s a classic overreaction, but understandable

                1. IIRC the cops found out where he was by calling his phone (the same one the receptionist called) and he answered and told them where he was.

              2. Dunphy, that’s not how it happened. At first they didn’t even know which school the guy went to, which is why they locked the entire district down. It was a tip from an eye doctor’s receptionist, not the school.

                I don’t see any chain of events here that would reach the level of PC.

                1. ok, i stand corrected.

                  the point is i dont know exactly what the police were TOLD. there are plenty of fact patterns that would justify the detention.

                  what exactly were the police told?

                  regardless, ONCE they determined there wasn’t PC , they unarrested

                  but thank you for correcting me

          3. Here’s the legal difference.

            It says, and I’ve heard this before, that scotus has ruled that 20 minutes is the maximum length of time someone may be detained. So, if a cop wants to search your car, and you refuse, to which he threatens to “bring in the drug dog”; he only has 20 minutes to get the dogs there, correct? Or am I misreading something here?

            1. 20 minutes is a general rule for REASONABLE SUSPICION detention, iow a detention under Terry v. ohio. it’s not a bright line rule. iow, there are terry detentions that have lasted longer that have been held up, and ones that have lasted 20 minutes that have been thrown out.

              it’s always dependant on a totality. but yes, generally speaking, when i am doing terry’s, i abide by the 15-20 minute rule.

              1. Yeah, I mean if a person is pulled over and then demands to speak to a supervisor, it’s obviously going to be more than 20 minutes.

            2. Yes, you’re misreading. From the link:

              This timeframe can vary a bit based on the circumstances, but the U.S. Supreme Court has held that 20 minutes or so is a reasonable timeframe for detaining someone.

              20 minutes is OK but circumstances may dictate a longer time.

              1. correct. under a terry stop. that’s the protocol i follow in patrol, and i do multiple terrys every week.

                1. At least you don’t “do” multiple terriers each week like some cops we could mention.

                  1. i only DO a terrier when they are COMING RIGHT AT ME!!!!!

              2. 20 minutes is OK but circumstances may dictate a longer time.

                Oh okay. I guess the time it takes to take care of whatever you were pulled over for + talk to you + run plates/warrants is the “reasonable” amount of time.

                1. yea, that’s how the time frame generally got worked out over time, through case law.

                  it’s also why, it’s not a BRIGHT line. it’s the line i go by in patrol, but there are ALWAYS exceptional circ’s that would justify a longer terry and case law is full of them.

                2. You’re not counting the time it takes to decide which random movement of the dog will indicate the presence of drugs.

                  1. hey, at least in WA drug dogs are now largely irrelevant due to legalization of MJ!!!

                    1. They can still detect cocaine, heroin, and lawn darts, no?

      2. Hate to get all Dunphy on you, but while that may score points in libertarian debate club, that’s not consistent with case law.

        Arrest means you can be searched and transported against your will. That’s a lot worse than mere detainment.

        1. yes, this is something that can turn a terry into a constructive arrest – moving the subject

          also, the level of force used must be consistent with the crime suspected. so, stopping an armed robber based on RS at gunpoint is ok. stopping a shoplifter at gunpoint will be excessive and thus all evidence obtained from the terry and afterwards, going to get thrown out.

          terry can justify a FRISK (a limited search for weapons) given certain factors, but never an evidentiary search

  26. oh also, under the aguilar spinelli protocol, if the cops receive a phone call from a person at the school (supposedly a reliable source) and she says she heard the threats , that passes the PC test. the cops acted on what appeared to be a bona fide complaint, and when the kid told them what ACTuALLY happened, they unarrested him. that’s basic police work. he was probably detained for a matter of minutes. unfortunate, but hardly misconduct. they got the call, and they had to act AS IF IT WAS RELIABLE until they found out otherwise.

    1. She wasn’t at the school!

      before you have an opinion make sure you have the facts. hth

      1. i stand corrected. my bad

        regardless, there are things they could have been told that would have justified a detention, and i don’t know what exactly they were told. it’s all dependent on that

  27. reasonable suspicion is obviously a much lower standard than PC. if the kid was detained on RS of threats, then it wouldn;’t have taken much info in the phone call to justify that . the kid, to his credit, SPOKE to the police and explained the error and the cops released him. terrys are frequently made for stuff that is “ok” but seems suspicious until it’s explained away. a good example is the guy using a slim jim in a parking lot. it LOOKS like a break-in (RS), but once the cops detain him and realize it’s his (or his gf’s car) and they can confirm it, RS vanishes and he gets released.

    terry stops give cops a short time frame (15-20 minutes usually) to either develop PC or release. they also allow for intel gathering in that time frame. many of today’s terry stops when aggregated with other evidence, allow for arrests in the future once evidence accumulates from terrys etc.

    they are a very useful tool. in patrol, we live, sleep, eat, and breathe reasonable suspicion.

    the burglar i arrested the other day, the initial stop was a terry.

    1. The kid shouldn’t have been arrested. I find it absurd you suggest this should be procedure with a story about a fucking burglar. Seriously?

      You mean to tell me as goddamn wordy as you are you’d have to arrest this kid just to get to a conversation exonerating his obviously innocent behavior. Maybe I don’t really want to know the answer.

  28. Looks like I better change my ringtone.

  29. There is a dude that clearly knows what time of day it is.

  30. As a result of this frightening incident, several alarmed parents withdrew their children from the school and sent them to live with their aunties and their uncles in various affluent Los Angeles suburbs.

  31. If you think Diane`s story is exceptional…, 5 weaks-ago my aunt basically got paid $9601 just sitting there fifteen hours a week from there house and the’re classmate’s mother`s neighbour has been doing this for 3 months and got a cheque for over $9601 parttime at there pc. use the guide here…

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