Killer clowns aren't funny. Scaring children is depraved
I like a good scare. It's a weird part of human nature, but that adrenaline rush followed by the euphoria of relief is strangely satisfying. However, it's only fun because I know the threat is not real - and I know when to ask my partner if it's okay to come out from behind the settee.
And I'm not a child. There's a reason why children shouldn't watch horror films. They feel fear more deeply than adults do and struggle to understand the difference between reality and fiction. Evolution has rightly made them run and scream at signs of danger, and to remember those experiences.
So why are people finding it funny to dress up as eerie clowns, pick up a knife - whether it be metal or plastic - and follow schoolchildren around?
Some of these incidents may be exaggerated. Some may not have happened and be Twitter talk or Facebook folklore. But anyone who finds it fun to scare the most vulnerable people in our society is nothing short of depraved.
It's also a sign of the culture that we live in. This is a fad that started in the USA and has crossed the Atlantic faster than a red eye flight from New York thanks to the internet, and social media in particular. And because of that network, rumours spread quickly and they stick.
Readers have questioned the media attention such reports are receiving and there's no doubt that some of these people in their wigs and facepaint will be enjoying the coverage, but this is news that should be reported. The news should reflect what people are talking about in their everyday lives and get to the crux of what is affecting their day-to-day. Children are coming back from school asking about the clowns, offices are full of clown rumours and the police are putting out warnings. It's what the country is talking about.
The police are rightly taking this very seriously, particularly due to the presence of knives. That's an 'offensive weapon' by law. The people doing it may say it's just for fun but what's stopping an angry parent from confronting one of these fancy-dress fearmongers while they're holding a blade?
The joke is wearing thin. It's time to take off your masks, put down the knives and change the social chatter to something more relevant. The world is terrifying enough without it becoming a living Stephen King novel... just take a look at the country where the killer-clown craze started.