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RCMP Warning Hoax - No Headlights Gang Initiation Myth

Summary:
Email forward, supposedly from the RCMP, warns about a gang initiation that involves shooting at drivers who flash or signal a gang member driving without headlights (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, July 2005)
Subject: RCMP Warning

Please pass this on! Important police warning. Very scary. Started in Manitoba... now in Saskatchewan... now moving west. Police Warning - For Your Information: This is an extremely serious matter. If you are driving after dark and you see a car without its head-lights on, DO NOT flash your lights, DO NOT blow your horn or make ANY signals to the driver of the other car. There is a new common gang initiation 'game' going on the streets. The new member being initiated drives along without his headlights on until someone notices and flashes their headlights or makes some sort of other action to signal him. The gang member is now required to chase the car and shoot at or into the car in order to complete his initiation requirements.

This is a DEADLY game with us innocent the one to pay the price.

Make sure you share this information with your family, friends, and anyone else you can reach. If you have any questions or information,please call your local police department. Please take this seriously. This is not a joke.

Please pass this on to everyone you know on e-mail and in person.

It could save someone's life, if not your own.

[Removed] Compensation Advisor RCMP,
Compensation Services, NWRSask.
Regina, Saskatchewan
S4P 3K7
Phone: [Removed]
Fax: [Removed]
E-Mail Internet: [Removed]




Commentary:
The hoax message included above is just the latest in a long line of similar "warnings". Like earlier versions, the information in the email is untrue. A disclaimer on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) debunks the story as a hoax.

The following e-mail hoax has been circulating in Canada with an RCMP signature. One of our Saskatchewan employees sent this e-mail on to others in good faith without realizing it was untrue. The information contained in the e-mail is FALSE and the RCMP regrets any unnecessary alarm this may have caused the public.

This story began circulating via email and fax back in 1993 and may have originated from even earlier stories involving motorcycle gangs. It was also given new life by the 1998 film "Urban Legend" which featured the initiation ritual described. In 2004, another version of the hoax targeted Londoners. Urban legend site, Snopes.com provides a detailed history of this myth.

Unfortunately, this latest version has gained a degree of underserved credibility because of the seemingly official RCMP signature that closes the message. As explained above, the signature is a result of a mistake by an RCMP employee and should not be seen as an official RCMP endorsement.

False warnings such as this one can waste the valuable time of law enforcement personnel who are obligated to answer questions about the messages from concerned members of the public. They can spread unnecessary fear and alarm and they may even encourage copycat criminals to try such stunts in real life.

These emails should be deleted rather than forwarded.


Write-up by Brett M. Christensen