Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Walmart HOAX

Holiday Shopping Season Gets Underway On Black Friday

At the beginning of the day one of my students asked me if I heard what was going to happen at Walmart tonight. I bit. "What's going to happen at the Walmart tonight?" "Mrs. Copeland, you need to stay away from Walmart tonight because there is some gang that's going to kill three women tonight.

I asked for more information. Just what does that mean exactly. Then it seemed to have caught on fire. Different girls in the class had heard that they shouldn't go to Walmart this weekend because there was some kind of gang initiation going on and it required killing three women.

"Gee do you think it everyone knows about it they would be really stupid to do such as thing? Which Walmart anyway, there's two in Rome." I had my doubts. Usually I begin to play Cathy PI but this just sounded so very far fetched.

As the day progressed students became more convinced this was not only true but something worth their while to watch and take pictures of so they could put it on their myspace. Some of the boys said they were going to go so they could hurt these people. Depending on the person who told the story the gang members were Black or sometimes Mexican.

Around noon the mystery finally solved itself. It turns out this was a hoax. Isn't this amazing. It's interesting to see how quickly this one piece of information spread across the US. Advertisers would pay BIG money to figure out how to make their message go viral so fast.

Here's the story:

Delaware State Police are investigating a hoax text message about violent gang attacks at Wal-Mart stores in Delaware and Maryland.

Investigators said they have been inundated with telephone calls regarding a text message that has been circulating throughout Central and Southern Delaware and portions of Maryland.

The text message reportedly read: "i don't noe how tru dis is but here it is. Dont go 2 any walmarts 2nite ther will be a gang initiation n dey have 2 kill 3 women at each store. Tell ur love 1s.

The message warns of an alleged gang initiation in which women will be killed at Wal-Mart. The message also warns women not to go to Wal-Mart. The text messages did not threaten any specific Wal-Mart stores.

Investigators have found no credible information deeming the message as a real threat and "open source information reveals this as an urban myth."

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman released a statement that read in part:

"The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority. We are aware of the message being circulated and are working with local authorities to enhance our security efforts at our stores in the area. While we take these types of situations seriously, we regard this as being only a rumor, much like similar rumors that have circulated via e-mail in previous years."

The alarming text messages remain under investigation.

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