THE JOKE’S ON US!
by Buck Quigley - posted 3:25 pm, March 28, 2008
Our scary world got a little scarier mid-week, when WGRZ-TV, WKBW-TV, WIVB-TV, the Buffalo News and several local blogs started reporting that the La Mara Salvatrucha (aka MS-13 or MSX3) gang was infiltrating the city and initiating new recruits by having them rear-end motorists before shooting them after they stopped to assess the damage.
But now, two days after the mayhem was to ensue, the question has become: Were we all hoaxed when the media was hoaxed when the police were hoaxed?
Snopes.com, a Web site devoted to following urban myths, has thus far listed the MS-13 “car bump” story to be of undetermined veracity. They do note that Buffalo is the only city to have treated the threat as legitimate. Police spokesman, former WGRZ newscaster Mike DeGeorge, says, “the department would not have put drivers on alert without credible information.”
The warning from Buffalo Police remains in effect and is still posted on their Web site, but media outlets have begun toning down their initial hysteria when it became clear that Buffalo was the only city in the country to give credence to the widespread rumor that the gang would be conducting these initiations last Wednesday, March 26.
Snopes.com also catalogs other gang-related fables that include flashing your headlights at cars driving with their lights off at night. Those lights might be off for a reason. If you’re so bold as to flash your lights at your fellow driver, a member of the Bloods is liable to pop a cap in your ass. Snopes calls this a hoax, as well as tales of gang members forcing drivers off the interstate before shooting them.
In Dallas, there was the terrifying spree where gang initiates would walk up and ring doorbells, shooting whoever answered the door. But it never actually happened. And whatever you do, don’t give directions to anybody in a mall parking lot. Give the directions, and they shoot you just to gain membership in the gang. These cruel recruits went so far as to target women, specifically. But again, law enforcement officials thoroughly debunked these tales.
Many of these stories spread like wildfire thanks to email and text messaging. For now, the warning from Police Commissioner Gipson is ongoing. So, if you’re rear-ended, you’re supposed to keep right on driving to a well-lit area before calling 911 on your cell phone. We assume the police and your insurance company will understand your leaving the scene of an accident. Especially if the guy in the car behind you looks like this hombre…