One Born Every Minute

This landed in my work inbox today:

I have received the following serious information via a contact at the London Ambulance Service which has units closely associated with South London police squads which are involved in fighting Gang Crimes.

Some ‘street gangs’ in London (particularly South London at present, but it is sure to spread) have initiation tasks which new gang members have to carry out to be admitted to the ‘gang’. The latest craze is to drive around, deliberately with no lights on their cars. The first person who ‘flashes’ them, points at them or sounds their horn at them, has to be followed by that new gang member in their car, who then has to fire a shot into that vehicle !!! with no regard as to who is inside.

The LAS official instruction is that if they see a vehicle with no lights on, they are NOT to ‘flash’ it etc. and the advice to friends and family is that you should ignore any vehicles you see without lights.

I would ask that you pass this info on to family, friends and colleagues as it may save a life!

It came as a Word attachment and had been issued by the security officer to all the staff of an organisation that will remain nameless. As soon a I read it, I thought it was a bit sus so I rang someone I know in the police and yes, it was on their system, filed under ‘Urban Myths.’

Actually, it turns out to be quite an old urban myth dating back to the early 80s and having originally referred to Hell’s Angels in Montana, but essentially the same tale.

What I can’t understand is how a security officer could be taken in. And having been taken in, why email it to every employee? It was bound to start popping up outside the organisation and before you know it, there will be hundreds, thousands and millions of people forwarding on to everyone in their contacts books.

And as an attachment? Straight email virals are bad enough at clogging the system, but even at just 40kb those files are soon to mount up to gigabyte after gigabyte.

It’s the problem of the information — we give the gullible the technology to get duped and the really sad bit is that when they select all and click send, they think they are doing a ‘good thing.’ Anyway, if everything falls over tomorrow or the day after, you’ll know why.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

8 comments… Add yours
  • Mosher 20th July 2005

    I've lost count of the number of times I've been told that there's a mobile fraud thing that can cost you £20/minute. No there flipping isn't.

    Gah.

    Reply
  • Shooting Parrots 20th July 2005

    Like the thing Great idea, crap execution. And the world is banging the word round the internet. Hopeless.

    Reply
  • Ed 20th July 2005

    I can understand people forwarding on emails like the one above, because if you've never seen it before it could plausibly be taken for a serious email.

    What annoys me is the number of times I get sent emails that assure me that if I forward them on to at least three million people, I'll witness a miracle, win a billion pounds, get shagged silly by the entire Swedish bikini team and have fantastic good luck.

    Reply
  • Laura 20th July 2005

    Ed, you get promises like that? Damn, you are lucky, I wish I could get an e-mail that would assure me that type of luck (except for the Swedish bikini team, unless I could possibly qualify as a member of that team). I just manage to get that some twat will pray for me in the future.

    Reply
  • Steve 20th July 2005

    That security guard is probably on the minimum wage and as bright as Forrest Gump.

    Reply
  • Shooting Parrots 22nd July 2005

    Actually, a security manager rather than one of the foot soldiers. Still probably not paid much though.

    Reply
  • The Alchemist 23rd July 2005

    Better yet, eventualy a story like that eventualy gets forwarded to some thug who thinks it sounds like a fun night
    out, and another urban legend becomes reality…

    Reply
  • Shooting Parrots 23rd July 2005

    Yep, that was why it was posted, because somone couldn't rule it out.

    But having originated in the early 80s and no sign that anyone has taken the lesson to heart since, well 'improbable' and 'unproven' spring to mind.

    Reply

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