Clown Scare

No Laughing Matter: Mississippi County Will Issue Fines to Anyone Dressed Like a Clown

The national trend of people dressing up like clowns "has really gotten out of hand," says Kemper County.

|

Ingram Publishing/Newscom

A Mississippi county has declared it illegal to dress like a clown, and is threatening to levy $150 fines against anyone caught in a clown costume.

The Kemper County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Wednesday to implement the ban, which expires the day after Halloween. It makes it unlawful for anyone of any age to appear in public in a clown costume, clown mask or clown makeup, the Kemper County Messenger reports.

The newspaper reports that the measure was passed at the request of Kemper County Sheriff James Moore.

The national trend of people dressing up like clowns "has really gotten out of hand," said Johnny Whitsett, president of the county board of supervisors.

What's really gotten out of hand is the degree to which public officials have panicked over stories of threatening clowns, despite little evidence that the supposed clown panic is anything other than a wildly successful hoax perpetuated by mischief-making pranksters that's been amplified by social media—and, too often, by credulous reporters at actual media outlets. There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of reports of "creepy clowns" stalking near wooded areas or trying to lure children, but hardly any of those reports have been substantiated in any meaningful way (although some enterprising criminals have used the clown panic to their advantage to commit crimes that likely would have happened anyway).

Still, that's not stopping public officials from running scared. A school district in Connecticut has banned clown costumes for Halloween because they are "symbols of terror" and a police officer in Texas has suggested a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy towards all clowns. Ridiculous over-reactions from people trusted to be leaders—like the Kemper County Board of Supervisors— are a big reason why, two months after it started, the Great Clown Panic of 2016 is still going strong.

It should go without saying that Kemper County's new anti-clown law is a violation of the freedom of expression—wearing a costume is not the same as "shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater" (and that limitation on expresison doesn't mean what it's commonly assumed to mean anyway). Hopefully this is one of those things that's meant to be a deterrent and won't actually be enforced.

If anyone in Kemper County does get a citation for dressing like a clown, here's hoping they take the matter to court so we can all enjoy that spectacle.

Advertisement

NEXT: Late-Term Abortions Are Rare and 'Partial Birth Abortions' Illegal. Why Do They Keep Dominating the Reproductive-Rights Debate?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Fuck, this is Prohibition-level stupidity. FUCK

    1. Fuck, I just drove Interstate 20 west right near that county three days ago. Had I known, I would have taken my clown costume and tested the Constitutionality of this nonsense.

      1. Just as long as you don’t mock anyone online with inappropriately deadpan Gmail “parodies,” you should be okay. It’s one thing to frighten people, it’s another to mimic them?despite the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case. See the documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      2. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $14500 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Go to this web site and click tech tab to start your work.. Go now… http://www.ImdbCash.TK

      3. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do… http://www.ImdbCash.TK

      4. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 6-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $90 per hour.
        I work through this web site.. Go to tech tab start your work… http://www.Trends88.Com

  2. Too bad they didn’t ban those clowns in the nation’s capital from running for office.

    1. Finally! A hysterical reaction I can actually get behind!

      And those clowns truly give me the creeps. They are the stuff of nightmares.

      1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,

        go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,, http://www.highpay90.com

  3. I’m organizing the Million Clown March in this town. We must take a stand.

    First, they came for the mimes. And I didn’t speak up because I was not a mime.

    1. I’m going to come with a clown suit that has cutouts in the crotch and asscheek areas.

      1. Make sure you wear it to court as well.

      2. I saw someone once in such an outfit when I was in P-town about 20 years ago. Nobody seemed to notice/care.

    2. I see what you did there. Mainly because I couldn’t hear it.

      Now there’s a war on clowns! And tell me again why fewer and fewer people take government seriously?

    3. If you were a mime you wouldn’t have spoken up then either.

      1. I stepped on a land mime once. It didn’t make a sound when it went off, but I hopped around the rest of the day as though my foot had been blown off.

    4. “I didn’t speak up because I was a mime” FTFY

    5. I didn’t speak up because I WAS a mime!

  4. First Amendment violation.

    1. That’s so quaint. You really believe a paper written by dead white slavers has any force in this ‘enlightened ‘ age.

      1. A living constitution has to change to address modern problems. There is no way the founders could have foreseen the scourge of assault clowns.

      2. Especially against modern day slavers and their “living constitution”.

  5. I hardly know what to say. I thought people were stupid before but not that goddamned stupid.

    1. I know right. Not to mention giant pussies.

      1. That’s right, because The Donald will just grab ’em.

    2. Universal suffrage comes with its drawbacks. 🙂

  6. If I were Putin I would invade now. How hard could it be to take over a nation of pussies and retards. OTOH, why would you want to?

      1. Dear Lord

      2. Holy shit! That just reminded of my time in Ukraine and Russia in 1997.

        Greatest time of my life! $1000 allowed me to be a millionaire. Well a millionaire in Russia and Ukraine.

    1. Trouble is,there’s not enough tug boats to get the Russian navy to our shores.

  7. This targets minorities. Because when John Law sees a black kid walking down the street in cornrows and pants hanging halfway down his ass, he’s going to issue a fine right then and there “For walkin’ around lookin’ like a goddamn clown.”

    Ah, who’m I kidding? He’ll just shoot the kid.

  8. Obviously, yet another unfair attempt to oppress the Juggalo minority.

    They do sort of deserve it, but still.

  9. I thought people were stupid before but not that goddamned stupid.

    THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS PEAK STUPID.

  10. Goof fuckin’ grief. Kemper county has 10,500 people living in it. It is the middle of fucking nowhere. There is a clown menace there? Sounds to me that they have a boredom problem.

      1. Just looking for some Faygo for the trip to the GOTJ.

    1. Soon there will be a War on Boredom!

    2. but Soros will be eager to bus in hundreds of clowns for a demon stration. He’s got that maneouvre down pat.

  11. I’m excited to see our government, both locally and federally, have finally agreed to give up on the sham acceptance of constitutional rights and just explicitly violate them. These are really exciting times we live in!

    1. The next constitution we write needs teeth. Death penalty for any/all convicted of breaking it.

  12. People think this is just about clowns, but the issue is that some people think clowns are murder.

    1. You can only clown in the first trimester?

      1. I think it’s OK to clown until mime viability.

    2. Stop clowning around.

  13. If I had the money I’d buy a clown costume and go to Kemper just for the hell of it.

    Maybe if I get arrested the settlement would end up paying for the trip.

    1. Or they would shoot you to death. Coin flip.

    2. GoFundMe:
      Needs, 1 bus ticket, 1 clown suit, 1 safety orange wallet.

      1. +1 bullet-proof vest

    3. If it wasn’t a 12 hour drive I would join you.

    4. you would end up owning the county, all ten thousand people’s worth. You sure you want the responsibility for ten thousand people stupid enough to let their overlords pass legislation like THIS?

  14. In this great age of decadence, can the fall be far off?

    1. Stupidity goeth before destruction, and a clown spirit before a fall.

  15. I keep saying we are on the bullet-train to idiocracy.

  16. When I was a child I use to watch Bozo the Clown ,who knew it would lead to a life of moral turpitude and I’d end up here.

    1. That’s where it starts, Adans. That’s why we banned Joe Camel and such.

  17. This is sad and ridiculous. Twenty or so years ago a friend of mine and I were part time clowns. We worked at the usual birthday parties, etc. We also visited hospitals on our own time and it was a fun way to bring joy to children and adults alike. We loved making someone stuck in a hospital smile. The nurses were very thoughtful about it and guided us to some people who had been there long term. To be able to make them forget about their issues for a moment and make them laugh over our goof ball antics was wonderful. Clowning is a service to others type thing for those who do it for a living or for charity work. The Shriners are a good example of this. I’m disgusted that a few loonies have made clowning into a horror fest and that public officials are all too happy to blow it totally out of proportion. Some people depend on clowning for a living or salary supplement and this has got to be hurting them financially . . . for no real reason at all.

    1. I still have my big Emmett Kelly doll I got as a child. There was a clown’s clown.

  18. The most bizarre feature is that it applies only for Halloween! It’d be slightly less idiotic if it applied any time except Halloween, wouldn’t it? It’s like an ordinance against cursing that applies only when you stub your toe or hammer your thumb?which, come to think of it, are things clowns would do.

    1. At least Virginia is reasonable enough to exempt Halloween from itsanti-mask law.

  19. Ah, c’mon. Squeeze the wheeze. Many people like to,

  20. A hoax that originated in upstate South Carolina, a place sillier than Camelot. Seriously. It’s just meth and soul-crushing ignorance.

    This shit actually hopped the pond. Unbelievable. The world’s been duped by stupid, trashy moms and their retarded cracker spawn.

    1. This is a valid reason for the world to hate us.

  21. As reasonable an infringement on the first amendment as the current reasonable restrictions on the second. At least they don’t require a license that requires a couple of hundred dollars in fees and “training”, and allow the sheriff to deny clown rights on an unappealable whim. A simple prohibition is much preferable. One clown, one arrest, one trial, one conviction, end of story. Clowns often use fire in their acts.

  22. Christ, this is utter madness. If you had any hopes about libertarianism being on the rise, nonsense like this should put them to rest.

    1. Yup. There can be nothing illegal about wearing a clown costume or we deserve to be enslaved by the Nanny-Staters. The mask laws are unconstitutional too but I have not seen a legal challenge yet.

      1. You can still wear a mask if your bonafide

  23. “wearing a costume is not the same as “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” (and that limitation on expression doesn’t mean what it’s commonly assumed to mean anyway)”

    I don’t actually think that it is commonly assumed to mean what the linked article suggests that it is commonly assumed to mean. To me, the article is suggesting that the quote is commonly assumed to mean that SCOTUS delivered an official ruling stating that SFIACT (shouting fire in a crowded theater) is an official exception to 1A.

    I disagree. I bet that if you asked, 90% of people who refer to SFIACT wouldn’t actually know that it was a quote from a SCOTUS remark. Instead, I suspect that most would just consider it to be a common sense example demonstrating that there should be reasonable exceptions to unlimited free speech (and there’s lots of room to debate this point).

    That said, most of those people use that (mostly) reasonable example to justify their bullshit, pet-peave censorship. I just think that the arguments like the linked article are being overly literal/technical/legal in their complaints about a phrase that is just intended to be an example of common sense.

  24. Wonder what would happen if I showed up to vote in a clown costume? Maybe it would clear out the line in front of me.

  25. #ClownLivesMatter

    1. #AllClownLivesMatter

  26. “A school district in Connecticut has banned clown costumes for Halloween because they are ‘symbols of terror'”

    That’s what Halloween is- a time to dress up in symbols of terror!

    1. so, I can show up dressed like Osama bin Laden, Pol Pot, Vladdy Lenin, Cashmir Dayip Erdogan, show up with a friend, we both dressed as the Tsarneav Brothers. or just show up in an orange jumpsuit and pretend I’m Billious or something….. but NOT as some famous well loved and successful clown?

  27. Another excellent example of the nanny-state idiocy. If these dumbass clowns are actually threatening people with machetes and other weapons, as some people have reported, then address the threats, not the costumes they are wearing.

  28. What’s the carbon impact? Won’t people think of the shore lines in 2066?

    And didn’t Patrick Henry, under the pseudonym Ronaldus McDonaldus, write an essay favoring dressing like a clown?

  29. A man dressed as a clown and a transgender woman enters a bar.

    Conservatives and liberals – “only ONE of you is normal”

    A libertarian – “You’re BOTH normal”

    As you can see, a libertarian is manifestly unqualified to be the president of the United States.

  30. Does that include politicians?

  31. Someone Call Vermin Supreme… He will know how to fix this one 🙂

  32. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  33. Mississippi … still the hotbed and center of Critical Thinking…

    In some parallel universe, but not ours.

    Idiots!

  34. Ellie . true that Susan `s blurb is good… I just purchased a gorgeous Fiat Panda sincee geting a check for $8891 this-last/4 weeks and also ten grand last-month . this is actually the most financialy rewarding Ive had . I started this 9-months ago and right away was bringin in at least $87, per-hour .

    see……………. http://www.BuzzNews10.com

  35. It seems some character by the name of “Sheriff” James Moore is the originator of this nonsense:

    “Kemper County Sheriff James Moore had asked the board to consider such an ordinance at a previous meeting.”

    Here’s Mr. Moore’s government website:

    http://www.kempercounty.com/ab…..forcement/

  36. Doubt there are going to be any campaign stops there, so it doesn’t matter.

  37. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  38. Fuelling a panic by dressing up as a clown is a violation of public order.

  39. clowny daggers, y’all

  40. Liliana . if you think Lawrence `s blog is incredible, I just purchased a new Honda after earning $5741 this – 4 weeks past and also 10 grand lass month . it’s by-far the most-comfortable job I have ever done . I started this four months/ago and almost immediately began to make minimum $85… p/h .

    see this……………. http://www.BuzzNews10.com

  41. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  42. my Aunty Avery just got a year old Subaru just by some part-time working online with a computer
    see more at———–>>> http://tinyurl.com/Usatoday01

  43. just as Sarah implied I’m taken by surprise that a student able to get paid $4762 in 4 weeks on the internet
    see more at———–>>> http://tinyurl.com/Usatoday01

  44. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….

    …….. http://www.jobprofit9.com

  45. Not all clowns are creepy, some are Teepee!
    https://youtu.be/_M_ZZkfnUbw

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.