5 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed To Ask About America's Clown Hysteria

"No matter who you're voting for we can all agree on one thing, fuck the clown."

Hello, friends. You may have noticed that the United States of America is having a serious moment of crisis. A CLOWN crisis. It's got schools on lockdown, parents paranoid, and the police are pissed AF.

Let's break this all down.

BuzzFeed News has found:

* More than 20 states have been plagued in one way or another by clown hysteria.

* A teenager was stabbed to death during an alleged dispute over his clown mask in Pennsylvania.

* Nearly 30 people have been arrested nationwide in connection with clown hoaxes, social media threats, robberies, or stabbings. Several have been charged with felonies.

* At least four schools were forced to go on lockdown and one entire school district had to be shut down due to violent clown-related threats.

* Dozens of schools have had to ramp up security while absentee rates have increased due to clown-related threats.

* Even Stephen King was forced to calm people the fuck down.

Why has it come to this? Where did it start? How did it all go so wrong? BuzzFeed News has answers.

1. How did it start?

2. Who is to blame for this shit?

And here's a special mention for Penn State students who gathered in large numbers on Oct. 4 for a "clown hunt" — despite police denying reports of clowns on campus.

"...and no matter who you're voting for we can all agree on one thing, f--k the clown."

"...and no matter who you're voting for we can all agree on one thing, fuck the clown."

3. How serious is this clown thing, anyway?

'Creepy clown' incidents should be taken 'quite seriously' by law enforcement, White House press secretary says.… https://t.co/XydRcTfbaz

Serious enough for the White House to address. At a press briefing on Oct. 4, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the creepy clown sightings plaguing the country.

"I don’t know if the president has been briefed on this particular situation," Earnest said. But he said that local law enforcement officials should take such threats "quite seriously."

"They should carefully and thoroughly review the perceived threats to the safety of the community,” he said.

Police departments across the country are also grappling with the volume of clown-related reports and complaints and are being forced to use resources for extra security and patrol to clown-threatened communities.

Many have issued stern Facebook posts warning of criminal charges for clown hoaxes and threats.

"Tonight we’ve received several calls about clowns in a van and in wooded areas trying to talk to children," the LaGrange Police Department in Georgia said in September. "This behavior is not cute or funny. Understand that if officers see this behavior, you’re going to have a conversation with them. And, if applicable, you may face criminal charges."

"Threats of violence are never funny and require a huge amount of resources to effectively analyze and investigate," the Phoenix Police Department said in a Facebook post. "Additionally, they have an emotional impact on those targeted. In these recent cases, our children and our schools were targeted."

Besides schools having to go on lockdown, one entire school district in Ohio was forced to shut down after a woman reported being attacked by a man dressed as a clown who allegedly made threats against students. "We were especially concerned with the number of students who walk to school in the early morning hours and made the decision to close school, the Reading Community City Schools said on Sept. 30.

There has also been a fatal clown-related incident in Pennsylvania when a teenager was stabbed to death during an alleged dispute over his clown mask.

4. How are the actual clowns dealing with this?

Oh, and there is a #ClownLivesMatter "peace walk" planned for Tucson.

facebook.com

"clowns are not psycho killers"

5. Should I be worried?

No. Maybe though?