Send in the Clowns

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What comes to mind when you hear the word clown? Is it Ronald McDonald and his crew of friendly burger eating pals? Or maybe Bozo cheering kids on to toss the ping pong ball in a bucket and win a new bicycle? Circus hijinks and balloon animal crafting face painters at a street fair? Or is it John Wayne Gacy and his thirty plus victims? Maybe King's shape shifting Pennywise? Or killer clowns from outer space? Whichever way clowns make you feel, they have been in the news more recently, and not necessarily in a good way.

Suspicious clown activity has been reported around the nation. Random clown sightings and alleged incidents of clowns enticing children and adults into the woods, wielding knives, appearing in backyards and on front steps have been reported from as far away as the Carolinas to right here in the Treasure Valley. While it appears the bulk of these clown sightings are just practical jokers, people are on edge and the potential for this to get out of hand is high.

Law enforcement officers are quick to tell you to please call for assistance immediately if you see something suspicious or feel threatened. Call the authorities and let them handle it safely.

That being said, let's talk about ways you can keep yourself safe from evil clowns, things that go bump in the night or any human predator intent on doing you harm.

Be aware. Be chary, wary and wise. The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping. If you are out at night, carry a good quality flashlight on you at all times. If you are wearing heavy clothing, be sure hats, hoods, or scarves don't restrict your peripheral vision. Do not wear earbuds. Don't get distracted by your phone. Look up. Look around. Use your light. If you see something or someone out of place leave the area immediately.

Get some training. Here in Idaho we are free to carry firearms. If you choose to carry a firearm it is imperative that you train with it often, under stress and from a highly qualified instructor. Knowing how to make the gun go bang is one very small piece of the puzzle.

Train in hand to hand combat. We always want to flee the scene if we have that ability. Staying out of a fight is the best way to win a fight. But life does not always allow for an easy exit. Training in hand to hand combat is essential to defending yourself and loved ones. Train and decide right now how far you are willing to go.

Take a course in first aid and emergency medicine. Of all things you are most likely to need, this is it. You can find great courses from reputable instructors all over the valley.

When you have clowns to the left and jokers to the right you never know when you might get stuck in the middle. Be prepared.