EDITORIAL – A hoax with a capacity to be real
() - October 18, 2007 - 12:00am

Police in Cebu City have branded as a hoax a flood of text messages and e-mails warning the public, especially motorists, of a dangerous requirement for initiation by a gang called " Bloods. "

According to the warning, aspiring members of the gang are asked to cruise city streets at night without headlights. Motorists who, as a matter of courtesy, blink their own lights as a warning are then ordered chased and then shot and possibly killed.

Those who received such text messages or e-mails should have noticed right then and there that the supposed source of the original message was a US-based government agency and referred to a US-based gang of the same name.

What gave the warning an air of urgency was that it attained local significance when a Philippine-based company, for whatever reason, caused the warning to be distributed among its employees.

The situation that then emerged was that, a warning that was supposed to be purely an American concern, got distributed in the Philippines and started scaring the s..t out of Filipino motorists.

The fear, though, is not unwarranted. Filipinos, and that includes everybody, including street gangs, are very impressionable. There is no spark to start a fad that does not get fanned into a conflagration here.

We already have a local gang here called Bloods. All they need is for someone to whisper the "bright idea" to them and they could all make that warning a self-fulfilling prophesy, if someone has not done so already.

It therefore does not help any for the police to just call the matter a hoax. To do so is to challenge those with crazy minds to try and prove the police wrong. It may be a hoax but its capacity to become real is ominously strong. The police must take preemptive measures promptly.

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