Last week, the existence of “meth-gators” was suggested by the Loretto Police Department in Tennessee. These terrifying beasts, we were meant to imagine, would be made when methamphetamines are flushed into the sewer system and then ingested by hulking, wild-eyed super-alligators with enhanced predatory capabilities and a desire to clean the nearest swamp top to bottom.
Turns out the whole thing was just a joke—a joke made by the Loretto Police Department through official channels as part of a serious statement about an arrest. Y’know, just the kind of goof you expect those wacky old cops to make from a position of great institutional power.
As detailed by Mashable’s Nicole Gallucci, the LPD’s story started when police detailed the arrest of a man caught trying to flush meth and paraphernalia through a since-deleted Facebook post. Gallucci quotes the original message, which wrote that “we shudder to think what [an alligator] all hyped up on meth would do” and that “if [flushed methamphetamine] made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama.”
After waiting a week, the LPD decided to clear things up by writing a new post that says “the meth gator was a humorous illustration used to highlight the dangers of flushing drugs and other substances down your toilet.” Apparently having not learned its lesson, the department goes on to qualify its final statement by writing “Alas, the meth-gator is not real. Let’s say that again: THE METH GATOR IS NOT (at this time) REAL.”
The weirdly sorrowful “alas” aside, adding in the parenthetical “at this time” is yet another strange choice in a series of strange—and super irresponsible—choices. It’s bad enough that brands are trying to convince the internet to think of them as real people by constantly tweeting out bad jokes, but now the goddamn police seem to be getting in on it, too, furthering our dystopia by writing up PR-enhancing bits as part of official statements. If that didn’t suck enough on its own, the LPD are even planning to sell “meth-gator” T-shirts to commemorate their work.
And, hey, everything else aside: Alligators get a bad enough rap as it is. If you want to spread a rumor about them, maybe put it out there that they’ve been eating weed brownies and just sort of taking it easy on some warm rocks. Chicago can’t rehabilitate the gator’s terrifying image all on its own. If we’re going to be making up wild stories about them, we might as well make them positive ones.
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