“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself … and evil clowns.”


– Unknown



When I was a little kid, my parents took my brother, sister and me to the circus for the first time, and we had very good seats close to all the action.

It was the first time I saw a clown delighting the crowd with his antics; and I sat their transfixed at the brightly colored wigged-man with caked-on makeup, a honking horn, red nose and floppy feet. I watched him juggle and twirl things on the end of his finger and do funny gags and skits, and I remember watching with great fascination and thinking one thought and one thought only: Dad, please don’t let him kill me.

Now, cut to decades later, 2016, and here we all are at déjà vu all over again. Like the little kid at the circus for the first time, the greatest worry that I, or any of us really, face today is that of being attacked by a killer clown. As if our beloved Guilford County didn’t have enough problems already, now the community is being terrorized by killer clowns of all things.

Two weeks ago, we were walking around happily enjoying life and jointly celebrating the opening of a wonderful park in downtown Greensboro, and then, suddenly things turned: In no time, it became clear that we had an epidemic of malevolent clowns in our midst, terrorizing the community with alarming frequency.

It gives rise to many questions such as: Why is the Police Department sitting on its hands? Why has the Guilford County Board of Commissioners not declared a state of emergency or martial law or even taken any official action? Why are clowns still allowed to run rampant on the streets and through the woods?

In an effort to find out, I asked the Police Department if our officers were at least under orders to stop and question any clowns found wandering about in the community.

Susan Danielsen, the public information officer for the Greensboro Police Department, responded in an email …


We have no such special orders. Officers may stop and talk with clowns, just like they may stop and talk with anyone. Officers will stop people behaving suspiciously – regardless of what they are wearing. A person in a clown outfit does not automatically equate to suspicion.


Huh? What? What the hay?? “A person in a clown outfit does not automatically equate to suspicion?” Are you kidding me? How about a man running down the street wearing a black and white striped shirt and a mask with a smoking gun in one hand and a bag with the “$” sign on it in the other? Does he qualify as suspicious? The person is dressed as a clown for goodness’ sakes. What more do you need?

Next, I asked Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes what he and his Sheriff’s Department were doing and I will say that the sheriff’s office is being proactive at least.

“We are taking this very seriously,” Barnes told me. “I have a little clown car that we set up as a decoy to see if we can lure him out.”

When asked if he is confident that, if any of his deputies see a clown in the woods, they would take action, Barnes said, “We’d probably talk to him.”

Next, I asked a high-ranking Guilford County official (who asked not to be named) what Guilford County government is doing about the creepy clown conundrum, and he sent back a picture of a clown standing behind some the trees, with the caption in big letters that said, “Clown in the woods – round in the chamber.”

Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’s more like it. Clown in the woods, round in the chamber! Shoot first and ask questions later. If you ask me, if you see someone trouncing around the woods dressed as a clown, you have every right to shoot first and ask questions later – or, for that matter, to go after him with machete like one brave citizen did recently. Things in a community always get much better quickly when citizens are willing to step up and take the law in their own hands. Rent Death Wish if you don’t believe me.

Look, clowns are not right in the head. Otherwise, they would not be clowns. They would be bankers or something. Just think where clowns come from in the first place. They ran away from home because they found it more appealing to travel with a band of odd strangers in heavy makeup who work amid piles of elephant dung. There is no way that person came from a normal happy home.

Now, since our public officials have only taken extremely minimal steps so far to keep us safe, and they have flatly refused to adopt a shoot on site policy for all clowns – something that’s unquestionably necessary for our current safety – I thought I would provide some helpful advice: The Top Five things to do to prevent being captured by a killer clown in the woods …

(5) Make a run for it. This is a simple but effective strategy. With any luck, you can outrun the monster before he kills you. Big floppy feet make it very difficult for him to run, especially through the woods, and he is very likely to trip. (Also, clowns are all smokers so they generally aren’t good distance runners.) And don’t worry about that tiny bicycle he has with him because the tires are very small and the maximum speed on those bikes is very low. If the clown is on a unicycle, he will be a little faster than on the tiny bike, but his steering is generally very poor so be sure to run in a zigzag motion in that case.

(4) Use distraction. If the clown has hold of you already, the right distraction can give you the split second or two you need to loosen his grip and make your escape. Snatch the bottle of seltzer water from his large pocket and spray it forcefully into his face and eyes. It might not seem like it would do much but, trust me, there’s a surprising amount of water in those bottles. If you cannot reach the seltzer water, grab his bucket of confetti and throw it in his eyes before making your break.

(3) Make bananas your snack of choice. In fact, always have one with you. Anytime you are being pursued by a clown, it is highly effective to drop a banana peel on the ground behind you as you run. Clowns will almost invariably slip on any banana peels anywhere in their path and it could give you the few additional seconds you need to make it out of there alive.

(2) Carry balloons with you as well. When the clown approaches, toss him the bag and try to make your escape. The clown’s natural instincts should kick in and he will instinctually start blowing up the balloons and making balloon animals, hopefully giving you enough time to get away.

(1) Old-school trickery. When all else fails, as the clown approaches, shout, “Wait!” and then look alarmed and point behind the clown, over its shoulder, and call out, “Look! Behind you!” A clown will almost always turn and look, allowing you to make a run for it.

These tips will have to do until we get the official shoot on site order from the authorities.

Look, I’m not saying all clowns are bad. There are plenty of clowns that have never hurt anyone. You know, for instance, there’s Bozo the Clown – the clown that was very popular in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, who never hurt anyone as far as I know.

And there are plenty of others too, like that clown Pennywise, the delightful clown …

Oh wait, that may be the Stephen King clown.

But there was John Wayne Gacy, the clown who –

No. Sorry. Let me think for a minute. I know there are other clowns that aren’t evil. Have, I said Bozo already? I did? …

Look, I’m sure there are some good clowns but these days we just can’t take any chances. Technically, I know area officials are telling us not to shoot clowns on sight, but I’m pretty sure the way they are saying it is: “(Wink, wink, nod, nod) Don’t kill clowns on sight.” I’m sure it may be technically illegal to shoot a clown for being a clown – but I mean, come on, what jury in the world is going to convict you?