A Field Guide to Clown World

Clown Laughing (1930) by Armand Henrion

Like it or not, you and I are now unwelcome citizens of Clown World. Whenever you leave your home, you risk encountering clown people. The kind of people who corner you when you won’t heil BLM. The kind of men who chase you around Target with shame bells for not wearing a mask. Or the kind of men who want to fight you when hoop earrings and a pink purse can’t quite hide their neanderthal stature or Macho Man Randy Savage grunts. The kind of women who slap you because “KILL ALL POLICE” isn’t nearly as offensive as “BACK the blue”. The kind of teachers who tyrannize and intimidate your student for their personal beliefs and choices. And, most recently, the kind of women who bully you out of a multicultural center in the name of inclusivity.

That last video really got to me, probably because I would have handled almost everything differently from the way the poor young lad with the “police lives matter” sticker did. (I say almost because it was definitely the right move grabbing his Chick-fil-A before boogying out of there.) He assumed a submissive posture, didn’t record a thing, didn’t call any authorities, apologized after doing nothing wrong, tried to reason with ideologues looking for a fight, yelled and cussed at them, then finally buckled to their demands by leaving! He underestimated the level of crazy in Clown World and, as a result, was caught flat footed when it came dancing down his stairs.

To be fair, though, how many of us have prepared for a deranged cackle of hyenas to publicly shame us for holding entirely respectable political beliefs, disparage us for the color of our skin, and bully us into leaving an area of our own campus? Yeah, nobody. That’s why I’d like to turn this into a teachable moment, just in case you or anyone you know finds yourself in a situation similar to any of the above. But where do we turn for guidance? It’s not exactly like there’s a textbook on encounters with rabid SJWs.

Well, it may froth your soy latte a little to hear this, but you and I are not nearly as unique as we like to think. Neither is our zany little slice of human history. There’s nothing new under the sun, so if you’re looking to avoid a sunburn, look to the One who made both. The Psalms and Proverbs are brimming with advice on dealing with the fool and the wicked, the proud parents of today’s clowns. But perhaps Jesus sums it up best in Matthew 10:16 when he sends his disciples off with a word of warning: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Just because the wolves recently took to painting their faces doesn’t mean that maxim doesn’t still apply to us today. Same circus, different show.

So, if a clown is silly or sinister enough to make a target of you, here’s your serpentine protocol:

  1. Before you go anywhere, be spiritually fit (confident in your resting place), physically fit (able to run and fight), tactically fit (armed with a weapon, or four, you’re proficient with), emotionally fit (even-tempered), and mentally fit (educated on the world and how to navigate it).
  2. Whenever you enter a space, quickly identify the exit(s), entrance(s), any suspicious people, and anything that can conceivably be used defensively (either as a weapon or as cover). If you’re sitting, sit with your back to the wall and at the end of the row, bench, table, bleacher, pew, whatever.
  3. When the lunatic approaches, quickly assess the threat level, including how many people will be for or against you should things escalate.
  4. If the threat level is low (as in this video), give yourself ten feet from the person and position yourself defensively (stand with feet apart, face the person on a diagonal, take hands out of pockets, remove earbuds, etc.).
  5. Start filming immediately and state for the camera what led up to this moment.
  6. Repeat in a firm and commanding (not angry or shouting) voice, “I do not know you, and I will not talk with you. Please go away.”
  7. If they persist for more than thirty seconds or get more aggressive, call or pick out someone to call the police.
  8. Tell the operator (1) your exact location, (2) that an unprovoked stranger (described in full) is verbally harassing you, (3) that the stranger does not seem in their right mind and you feel threatened. According to the Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 (of 1931), Chapter 750, Section 167-1e, f, and l: “(1) A person is a disorderly person if the person is any of the following: […] (e) A person who is intoxicated in a public place and who is either endangering directly the safety of another person or of property or is acting in a manner that causes a public disturbance. (f) A person who is engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place. […] (l) A person who is found jostling or roughly crowding people unnecessarily in a public place.” These sorts of action constitute a misdemeanor and are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
  9. Insist to stay on the line with the operator until a unit arrives, stating that you are concerned for your safety. As you wait, describe to the operator in detail what the lunatic is doing and periodically take pictures or video of them doing it.
  10. When police arrive, identify yourself as the caller, succinctly present them with the brute facts, and if they ask, tell them that you want to file a police report and/or press charges.
  11. For bonus points, post your video online and send it to a few sympathetic news outlets (e.g., Not the Bee, Louder With Crowder, Young Americans for Freedom).

In all likelihood, the screwball will realize around step 5 or 6 that they bit off more than they could chew and will crawl back into the hole they came out of, muttering something about cisnormativity and environmental racism as they go. If they happen to be dense enough to wait for the police, then congratulations, they now have a criminal record and will think twice before falling for the same mistake.

By following this protocol, you avoid the two extremes that the clowns are hoping for: (1) emboldening them by tucking your tail between your legs and (2) retaliating in a way that gets you canceled, fired, jailed, hospitalized, or worse. Even though that unfortunate ASU student was the definite hero of the story, he stuck his hand in both honeypots and walked away a mess. Be wise, folks, and remember that Christ has already overcome the world—that includes Clown World.

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