October 6, 2016
The fear of clowns has been around for decades, perpetuated by Stephen King's 1986 novel "It" as well as dozens of TV shows and movies. But what previously was an underlying nervousness recently has mushroomed into a more immediate threat.
On Aug. 29, residents at a South Carolina apartment complex reported a person in a clown costume trying to lure children into the woods. The same situation was reported Sept. 4 in North Carolina. Ten days later, two boys in Georgia reported being chased by men dressed as clowns.
Since then, the fear has grown as people across the country continue to report being chased by or simply spotting people dressed as clowns. It has caused school lockdowns, more than a dozen arrests and false reports generally considered to be hoaxes. Social media has responded with entire accounts dedicated to creepy clowns.
Col. Dave Lewis
But a Texas Tech University terrorism expert says despite the growing sense of fear, it's important to avoid calling the threats and attacks acts of terrorism.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dave Lewis is the director of the Strategic Studies graduate program at Texas Tech. He teaches courses in strategy, intelligence, terrorism, counterinsurgency, national security, public sector strategy and Homeland Security. He was a career military officer with extensive operational and staff experience, and he served as a professor of strategy at the United States Naval War College after earning his master's degree with distinction in national security and strategic studies there.
Col. Dave Lewis, director of strategic studies graduate program, (806) 787-9730 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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