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April 09, 2003 23:20

Pranks

Someone today thought it would be funny to send me a prank exe file, telling me that it was something else. Of course, I'm not stupid. An exe file can carry all sorts of problems. Virues, trojans, and any degree of maliciousness, even if the original owner of the exe file is unaware. Knowing full well, there is NO reason to EVER send media via an exe file, I decided to run it under a relatively safe environment. The computer I ran it on can be reloaded in 15 minutes, so worst case, I'm out 15 minutes of my time. So I ran it, and it promptly brought up a window asking if I want to delete all my files, and by the time I hit the power switch, it was running through a list.

So I boot the computer back up and start reloading it. I then come back to my office, tell the person who sent it to me that it wasn't very funny. A few ha ha's later, and she leaves. I send a form letter abuse complaint to the ISP of the person who sent it, along with a description of what it did. Then a few minutes later, I'm informed that it was just a prank, and had I watched it through to the end, I would have realized that. Yeah.. Haha. very funny. I'm sure I was just going to sit there and drool through the whole thing while it sat there deleting files. RIGHT. And they say I have no sense of humor. That has NOTHING to do with a sense of humor. That's like yelling fire in a crowded theatre and telling the trampled people afterwards "JUST KIDDING! It was just a prank! You have no sense of humor!"

This prank, despite the few minutes of reloading that I wouldn't have had to do otherwise, was harmless. But not all pranks turn out that way. What starts off as a "harmless" prank can lead to all sorts of problems. Even if nobody gets hurt, law enforcement might shoot first and ask questions later if they get involved. Would you like your home to get raided? Would you like to get locked up for an indefinite period of time while the slow arms of justice figure out that it was "just a prank?" If someone got killed, would you tell the family of the person that got killed that they don't have a sense of humor? Here's some good examples why malicious pranks, even "harmless" ones, are a very bad idea.

Here is an article about a couple of kids that try to scare a younger boy "as a prank." The boy thinks he's being kidnapped, and after all is said and done, that's what the two kids get charged with. Just a prank. Now you're a kidnapper.

This is a good way to get yourself in trouble. Hand a box with some powder in it to a fellow employee at a power plant. Just a prank. Police are investigating.

Did you know that carvingyour initials in freshly poured concrete can be charged as vandalism? These kids do... now.

Play a prank on your boss by telling him the store you're working at was robbed. The police didn't have a sense of humor.

Call in a bomb threat to your school as a prank. Discuss with your cellmates about other good April Fools pranks.

Remember Columbine? Well, these kids got their idea from somewhere. The "prank" hit list they drew up has some people concerned. It's a simple concept really. Should we take the chance that they were serious, or just lock them away to be on the safe side? What would YOU do?

Here's an idea. How about calling some worried mother and tell her that her son who's out fighting the war in Iraq has been captured. I'm sure she'll laugh that off.

Pranks seem so funny at the time. But if there was a time for such jokes, that time is over. People DO send people malicious programs through the internet, so I should expect to get them. People DO get dangerous substances in the mail, they shouldn't just ignore it because it might be a prank. The little "jokes" which seem so harmless, might someday not be anymore. A perfect stranger has no idea if its a prank or the real thing, and anyone getting a package of white powder will assume it's real until proven otherwise. And that means hospital visits, decontamination, evacuation, quarantine. All for a prank. Pull vital resources away from law enforcement so they can protect people from your "prank". Make people waste their time. It's no wonder that people don't find your jokes amusing. Its not funny. And if you're inclined to do that sort of thing, you will someday figure out just how not funny it really is.

And while you sit in that cold jail cell, guests of the police officers with no sense of humor, you will at least have those warm memories of all the fun you had. You get only one blanket, the food is horrible, and Bubba is waiting. And the best part is, I will finally find that sense of humor you claim I don't have.

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