Okay… perhaps *shooting* clowns is a bit over the top, but something needs to be done. The spreading incidents of creepy clown sightings has gotten out of control and thus far things don’t seem to be calming down. Our friend Christine Rousselle brought us one piece recently with a bit of a happier ending but it’s still disconcerting. Thankfully, one woman in Maine happened to be packing a concealed handgun when a menacing clown approached so disaster was averted… for both of them.

One Maine woman, however, discovered that the best repellant for a creepy clown was to pull out a concealed handgun. With the tables suddenly turned, the clown skedaddled out of there.

The woman, who lives in Auburn, ME and did not want to be identified, said that she was relaxing on her porch when an SUV pulled up by her house. In the back seat sat a man in clown makeup, who “formed a gun shape” with his fingers and said “bang.” In response, the woman revealed that she was armed with a gun of the non-finger variety, and that was enough to scare the clown away. She then reported the incident to the police, saying the whole thing “freaked [her] out.”

Not all clowns get off that easily. One menacing face paint aficionado wound up getting beaten with a baseball bat and the entire thing was caught on film. (He had his balloons taken away as well.) The trend has already spread across the ocean, too. Over in England we’ve already had one clown chasing someone with a hammer and subsequently being nearly beaten down with a bottle. (Metro.Co.UK)

George Birkbeck was chased through Plymouth at around 10pm on Friday.

The 22-year-old said the clown refused to move out of his way so he chased him off with a beer bottle out of a crate he had just bought from Tesco.

He wrote on Facebook: ‘He stood in my way and wouldn’t let me pass and had what looked like a hammer in hand.

‘I decided to film this in case it was my last moments on earth and even in death it would be a joke as I got killed by a clown.

‘Seriously – stay safe out there guys these things are scary and I don’t recommend that anyone else charges towards them if you see one.

I understand that there are some huge, glaring First Amendment issues with making it illegal to dress up like a clown and wear face paint. Perhaps we can’t even do that. But the side door around this difficulty is to allow people to hang out in the woods dressed as clowns and carrying axes, but remove (or at least reduce) the penalties for people showing up to beat the living snot out of them if they can’t provide some reasonable explanation for why they’re not inside a circus tent or entertaining at a child’s birthday party. (And if you’re renting a clown for your kid’s party, you’re probably the one in need of a two by four upside the head. Your child is going to wind up in therapy.)

This is mostly tongue in cheek, of course, but I would like to get to the bottom of this. We can’t simply legalizing the wanton destruction of people who dress up in that fashion like some sort of Clown Purge, but it’s equally true that clowns have become a cultural icon in a very negative way. As long as they’re working or minding their own business that’s one thing, but this rash of creepy behavior really shouldn’t be ignored. Perhaps it started as some sort of viral video thing, but it’s spread and gotten out of control now. Sooner or later you’re going to wind up with a dead clown on your hands. Oh, wait… it already happened. And of course it had to be in Jersey. (Note: We’re back to “no it didn’t” because that report was a hoax.)

All jokes aside, there needs to be a way to not only protect the public but also the idiots who are stupid enough to think this is funny while not realizing that they’re going to run into the wrong person sooner or later and wind up dead. I’m not sure how we handle that because there’s no legal remedy for stupidity, but some sort of public education effort is clearly in order.