There is a sickness in western society, born of an ignorance that threatens the peaceful co-existence of longstanding communities. I'm speaking, of course, of coulrophobia - the irrational fear of clowns.
When 14 teenagers dressed as clowns and carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats as a prank were arrested in southern France last week, they were not acting out on behalf of the broader clown community. The overwhelming majority of clowns are peaceful and have no interest in fundamentalist buffooney. They tend to their squirting lapel flower gardens and go to the supermarket 16 at a time in a Volkswagen in perfect harmony with their less funny neighbors. Despite these realities, disproportionate coulrophobic sentiment on social media holds moderate clowns culpable in the extreme jesting of the madcap minority.
Of equal concern is the radicalization of non-clowns, most or all of whom have been marginalized by their own communities and exploited by groups like BOZO - the Brotherhood of Overtly Zany Oddballs. The danger lies not with the radicalized clown converts themselves, but in the possibility that random seltzer bottle attacks by these lost souls will be used as a pretext for restricting clown rights and liberties.
Make no mistake: harmless hilarity is under siege, and until such time as the fart cushion-loving majority takes a stand against coulrophobia and clownism, there's pie on the face of all of us.