Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wal-Mart Gang Initiation: You Know What Those Non-Union Places are Like

Everybody knows what those non-union shops are like: capitalistic oppressors crushing helpless workers under an iron heel and all that.

And, the last I heard, Wal-Mart is not unionized. Which may explain what happened today.

Women Beware! Stay Away From Wal-Mart!! Gang Initiation Shooting!!! BIG DANGER WAL-MART!!!!

The gist of text messages that are popping around Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kansas and Maryland is that a gang is going to kill women at Wal-Mart. It's an initiation.

Scary, right?

But, as Gilda Radner's character said, "never mind!"

The messages are a hoax.

With variations, this chestnut has been around for years.

"The hoax warning first surfaced in 2005 in Memphis, TN. Since then, different variations have continued to periodically resurface." (KBTX)

In some circles, 'everybody knows' what Wal-Mart is like. Even without gang initiations involving the killing of women (and, in one variation, children), it's one of those big box stores that roam the land, spreading doom and despair. When a Wal-Mart comes into a small town, presto-chango, the lovely small town is destroyed.

Oddly, a Wal-Mart superstore opened in the small town that's my home back in April, 2007, and we haven't been destroyed yet. An Alco store closed, an Ace Hardware moved in, people have more jobs available to them, and there have been a few other changes: but no destruction.

Today's hoax may be somebody's idea of a practical joke. But assumptions about Wal-Mart's oppression of the working class might be involved, too.

Meanwhile, it looks like the Wal-Mart gang initiation shootings is a hoax. According to "authorities" and

Of course, if you like, you can assume that the authorities,, KBTX, and I, are all involved in a conspiracy to suppress whatever is going on at Wal-Mart. Who knows? We might all be those shape-shifting space-alien lizard people who run the world.

I don't know about KBTX,, and the police, but I'm not a lizard person. Of course, if I was, that's what I'd say.
Update (March 20, 2009)

The bogus text messages seem to be working their way west. From Hawaii:

"Don’t go to walmart today, supposed gang initiation to shoot random people 'women' is the target.' " (Star Bulletin)

It's not always the same text. "Many of the texts read something similar to: 'do not go to any Wal-Mart tonight,' 'Gang initiation to shoot three people tonight,' 'Not sure which Wal-Mart,' 'ABC confirmed on TV,' and 'Please forward this on to friends and family.'..." "MSNBC)

An Amarillo, Texas, Station had some excellent advice: "[Corporal Jerry Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department] says, 'we would ask, or strongly urge, confirm it with law enforcement before you assume it's true.'..." (emphasis mine)

The Amarillo station showed photos and a video about the text messages. The photo is a little hard to read, but the message seems to be: "I just got this... better safe than sorry
FW: Do not go to any walmart tonight. Gang initiation to shoot 3 women tonight. Not sure which walmart....
" (KFDA)

In the news: Background:

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