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Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater (Now with Four Updates, & Censored to Boot)

Can this possibly be true?  According to the two articles below, this guy, apparently a hare for the Peach Fuzz H3, laid flour inside an International House of Pancakes restaurant in Augusta, Georgia, and when confronted by an IHOP employee, said the powder was anthrax and ran away.

Is this even remotely believable?  I know some pretty stupid hashers, but I’ve never met one this stupid.  It can’t be true.  Can it?

Maybe.  From BioPrepWatch.com:

Anthrax hoax hits famed golf tournament
by Spencer Ham on April 13, 2011

Police deputies in Augusta, Georgia, announced on Friday that they had arrested and charged a man with terroristic threats and acts during this year’s Masters Tournament.

The arrest came after __________ announced that he possessed anthrax at an IHOP located across from the Augusta National golf course, Chronicle.Augusta.com reports.

According to deputies, an intoxicated __________ entered the restaurant last Friday dropping a white substance onto the floor. When asked what it was, he allegedly claimed it was anthrax and ran away from the scene.

Once the police were notified, the restaurant was evacuated and authorities tested the substance.

It was later discovered that __________ was merely participating in a game of hashing, where one player, known as a “hare,” runs around laying a trail of flour and is then chased by a pack of runners known collectively as the “pack,” according to Chronicle.Augusta.com.

Terrorist threats are taken very serious by law enforcement agencies, with penalties ranging from large fines to loss of Constitutional rights and prison time.

__________’s threat came at a time when Augusta police are normally on the lookout for scalpers during the famous four-day golf tournament, Chronicle.Augusta.com reports.

The last confirmed anthrax threat occurred in 2001, when the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis was discovered on envelopes addressed to two U.S. senators. The envelopes passed through sorting facilities in New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Oddly, the BioPrepWatch article doesn’t link to the original story at Chronicle.Augusta.com, and when I searched Chronicle.Augusta.com, I came up blank.  Nothing on “anthrax hoax,” “IHOP,” or “__________.”  Either they never published such a story, or they have a shit search feature.

I was starting to think the story itself was a hasher-planted hoax, but then I thought to expand my search to the entire internet.  So I Googled the hasher’s mortal name (which was shown in the original article) and got this, from a site called The Jail Report:

A middle-aged Martinez man has been charged with terroristic threats after allegedly running into I-HOP on Saturday afternoon, throwing white powder and claiming it was “Anthrax.”

__________, 46, was arrested shortly after the scare at the restaurant on 2525 Washington Road in Augusta, which is located across from Augusta National Golf Club. Employee Jessica Hammond saw the suspect open the doors to the business and throw in the powder about 2:18 p.m. Saturday. She asked the suspect what it was, and he replied “Anthrax” and left the restaurant, a report states.

Soon after, a person with the suspect admitted it was just flour, and the restaurant was not evacuated, according to Jessica. She told The Jail Report that they eventually discovered the prank was part of a “Hashing Party.”

One online source describes hashing parties as loosely-associated running groups that mix running with social drinking. A “Hash Run” usually consists of running a trail that is not disclosed ahead of time, but rather is marked by some means by a member of the group, such as flour.

Cops did not find it funny, though, charging __________ with terrorist threats & acts, a felony. He was booked into the Richmond County Jail.

I’m unclear on the timeline.  The first article was written on April the 13th, a Wednesday.  It said the police announced __________’s arrest on a Friday, presumably April the 8th.  The second article said the actual incident happened on a Saturday at 2: 18 PM, so, backing up, the hash must have been on April the 2nd.

But according to Wikipedia (I know, I know), the 2011 Masters Tournament was from April the 7th to April the 10th, so if the “terroristic threats and acts” occurred “during this year’s Masters Tournament,” as per the first article, the hash must have been on Saturday, April the 9th.  Which would mean the police arrested __________ one day before he dropped flour inside the IHOP.

Sloppy reporting, I guess.  What else is new?

As far as I know there’s only one hash club in Augusta, the Peach Fuzz H3, and according to their website, they do hash on Saturday afternoons.  But there’s nothing about this on either the Peach Fuzz H3 website or their HashSpace group page, so I don’t know whether __________ is a member of that or any hash.

Still, it sure sounds like it must have happened, so I am forced to conclude that there is indeed a hasher stupid enough to tell a civilian that flour is anthrax.  Stupid enough to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater.  Stupid enough (and this part bothers me just as much as the anthrax part) to lay flour inside a private business and think that’s okay.

Sweet Gispert in heaven, what kind of folks are we letting into the hash these days?

Update (later, same morning): I posted links to this post on Facebook and Twitter, asking if any hashers there could shed additional light on the story.  One hasher … someone I know … provides this:

The hash was on April 9th, Saturday…part of PeachFuzz’s annual Green Jacket hash (in honor of said Master’s Tournament.) Per witnesses what he said was “it’s NOT like it’s anthrax” and continued laying trail. HOWEVER…I will concur tha…t it was a dumb ass move on his part…throwing flour down on private property, across the street from the golf course…and even uttering the words “anthrax.” Yes…he got arrested that day, Yes…the police showed up at the hasher’s campsite (someone’s private property) and requested that EVERYONE come up with ID, and write down name, dob, ssn, address (not ALL complied with this request, myself included) as they said they needed “witnesses” to the event. Whatever. Not writing my info down. When I left Augusta on Monday…he was still in jail…no idea on an update from there…

Update (later, early afternoon): I’ve been scolded for taking stands before.  I’ve been called a senile old man and a pompous asshole. No doubt I’ll be scolded even more severely for calling this fellow stupid, but I’m not backing down … saying the word “anthrax” to anyone but a fellow hasher, no matter the context (as in “it’s NOT anthrax”), is stupid. I’m flabbergasted any hasher would think that’s okay, just as I’m flabbergasted any hasher would think it’s okay to go inside the premises of a private business and throw flour. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

But that said, it appears that this fellow is indeed a hasher.

Christ, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Update (4/9/12): All these years later, I finally heard from __________, the hasher who reportedly did the deed described here.  He says the news reports were wrong: he didn’t lay flour inside the restaurant; he didn’t say the word “anthrax”; he did, however, lay trail past the front of the restaurant and he did get in trouble for doing that.  In his own words:

… I did foolishly lay trail down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. In the aftermath, I tried to avoid bringing any additional attention on the hash. I accepted a guaranteed plea down to a misdemeanor because the alternative could have been a disaster for me personally and professionally. I paid a severe price but held my head high. I have continued to hash. I have remained positive.

When I wrote the original post, I worked with the information I had, and did my best to confirm the details by asking hashers who were there … all that before I ever hit “publish.”  I wish __________ had spoken up sooner, and I’m sorry if my post made things any worse for him than they were already.
I won’t retract the post, because no matter what __________ did or didn’t do, the incident hit the news and hurt the hash, painting for the public a false picture of what we’re really about.  When incidents like this occur, I write about them here, and will continue to do so.
Update (5/3/12): The hasher in question has contacted me numerous times, asking that I delete this post.  I think hashers need to understand that actions have consequences … in this case, consequences not only to the hasher involved but to the reputation of American hashing.  No, the post stands, but it serves no purpose to identify the hasher involved and I have removed all references to his mortal and hash names, along with his mugshot.

© 2011 – 2012, Flying Booger. All rights reserved.

About Flying Booger  Hash House Harrier, man about town.


3 comments to Yelling “Fire!” in a Crowded Theater (Now with Four Updates, & Censored to Boot)

  • shappens

    FB, yes __________ did this during the Masters Green jacket Hash which I have attended several times…yes, he is an idiot…anyone who throws flour and says ANYTHING about Anthrax during a major sporting event where there are not only State and Local police, but the FBI, Homeland Security etc in attendance deserves what they get…for the most part the Peach Fuzz hash is alot of fun, but they do have several members who have less than perfect criminal records and several with “lower IQ’s”….I could go on and on, but lets just say I know __________ as he was at my house for an event the week before, and Forest Gump has a higher IQ….

  • Hey, Shit Happens, great to hear from you! Yeah, I’m still waiting for the hate to start rolling in on this post, but so far everyone I’ve heard from says pretty much the same thing, that the guy was dumb to do what he did.

    Hey, a question on another subject … in your capacity as organizer for IAH 2011, do you know who might be bidding for IAH 2013?

  • Blackie111

    First off, thanks Flying Booger for letting me join, and hello Shit Happens! Good to see you Shit at IAH!!!

    I came across this picture today while trolling the internet for another hash related topic.

    I was there at the Peach Fuzz Green Jacket earlier this spring 2011 when the above mentioned situation happened.

    We were all walking/running along the main drag where every single parking lot had someone selling parking in it, cops all over the place, traffic, and a ton of people walking towards the main event. It goes without saying there’s a mass of people who descend on The Masters every year. Tons of people!!!

    Once we hit the main drag, about 1 mile up we came by the IHOP and a woman was out back talking, saying she was calling the cops on us. Shortly afterwards we turned the corner and headed into a neighborhood a block or so for a beer stop and the cops showed up and carted away said suspect.

    The cops also gave an open container ticket to the hare/organizer.

    We continued to run through that neighborhood till the end of it at an empty sports field. We saw them coming down the road and continued on-on, crossing the river, etc.

    The cops and an investigator/agent showed up at the on-after, someone’s house and the campsite area. They wanted everyone to write down their personal info. I did not give them mine, but I guess they were satisfied all info was provided and they left.

    I personally had a blast at this event, and got to see many good friends and be with the Peach Fuzz, which to me is a very fun loving group, having seen some of them at other events, and especially the year before, at 2010 GA/FL Interhash.

    I can say I was at a previous event where a mishap like this really put a damper on the event. Not here. Somehow, with such potential to ruin our campout/trail, considering the magnitude of what above hasher did, it was minimal interruption. I must add I was very intoxicated, though well behaved, and just having a great time, so this might have helped to not dull my experience.

    I think if they had carted us all off to jail, we would certainly have been much more upset.

    ok, now that all sounds mellow and stuff right? i like to think i’m a reasonable person… WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING???

    It’s still a big deal, the whole anthrax scare, and even here in WBH3, Wilmington, NC, we had the fire dept get up with us and the fed’s/authorities shut down the waterfront last year when they saw flour. Of course, the Coast Guard cutter Diligence is parked right there- so a necessary move on their part.

    I mean really, what the hell was he thinking? Ultimately no one got hurt, i don’t want to speculate, but i’ve heard he is kinda dumb like that and has a short criminal record.

    what the hell was he thinking? Ok, I’ve made my point. No one got charged, no one got hurt, we had a good time despite the incident.

    In conclusion there is no way to control other’s behaviors, and being a part of a loosely organized group, the hash, anyone can show up and do something dumb. The other event where this happened we were all shocked, naked, and drunk when the cops showed up.

    There’s really nothing we can do as individuals. There are some precautions we can take. when going out in public, always have id on you and probably emergency cash/credit card. Add a cellphone to that. Don’t get too drunk. And I guess know your rights, so if another hasher does something dumb, you will not be the one getting in trouble.

    Above mentioned hasher was charged with a felony, don’t want to speculate, but I “heard” the charge was: “terrorist threats” or something like that. I heard he got it reduced to a misdemeanor.

    Would I hash with above mentioned hasher again? Yes I would. But I would also be very well aware of his behavior and his state of sobriety or lack thereof. And I would bring wallet/cellphone and watch my own inebriation level in public!!!



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