Last Friday, at a party in Cabo San Lucas, a gunman disguised as a clown shot and killed a reputed drug lord. In a hit that sounds like a set piece from a Quentin Tarantino film, the assassin wore a clown wig, red nose, and costume.
Mexican clowns reacted swiftly to the troubling incident. At a clown convention this week in Mexico City, they denied that the gunman was a true clown. A real member of the “clown profession,” they say, would have been easily identifiable by his costume, mask, and face paint. (Apparently, it is a fundamental part of the professional clown code to always wear your known stage costume whenever you participate in a public criminal act.) One of the attendees said he could swear on his mother’s grave that it wasn’t a clown.
I’m sure Mexico was reassured by the clown convention’s steadfast denial of any clown involvement in the shooting. No doubt towns and villages throughout Mexico were unsettled by the thought that murderous bands of rogue clowns might be roaming the countryside, emerging by the dozens from tiny cars, ready to stomp people with their too-big shoes, blind victims with spritzes from a seltzer bottle, and then open fire after tying off a balloon animal.
Many people, myself included, think clowns are creepy and unfunny as it is. It’s nice to know, at least, that they aren’t routinely out there gunning down people at children’s parties.