Drive-through prank equals stupidity

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

I’ll fess up. I do a lot of stupid things as an adult, and I did a lot more as a kid.

There was the time my friends and I won water guns at an arcade and tested them while driving the streets of Helena, Mont. I got challenged to a fight by a car passenger I hit, but it never went anywhere because everybody else in his car was too busy laughing to join the cause.

Looking back, I’m glad I was too cheap to own a video camera, because I could have really been in trouble. That’s what some teenagers might soon realize as the “fire in the hole” blows up in their faces.

The “fire in the hole” prank was first revealed to me on MSNBC’s “Live With Dan Abrams.” Abrams gave a report about kids who were going to drive-through restaurants with video cameras. After the cashier took their money and handed over drinks, the driver would yell, “fire in the hole” and throw the drink back at the cashier like it was a bomb. With the drink spilled on the employee, the “bomb” thrower speeds off.

This prank, according to the report, was big in the Pittsburgh area, but could grow as many of the “fire in the hole” videos are going on YouTube.

I think it’s wrong to call it a prank. Assault seems the more proper term, especially considering some of the perpetrators are adding items like hot sauce to the drinks. One restaurant employee interviewed looked as if he’d been hit with pepper spray.

I’ve worked fast food before, and it’s difficult enough working for the minimum wage (or less if the company finds a way around it) and no health insurance without the threat of being assaulted for serving a supposed customer.

But how do we pay the drink-throwers back? Well, it all comes down to one of my favorite television shows, “Homicide: Life on the Street.” In the first episode, Detective Frank Pembleton found a murder suspect by staking out the victim’s car. When asked how he knew the suspect would take such easy bait, Pembleton responded, “Crime makes you stupid.”

Nearly 15 years later, those words still ring true. The only thing that could be more idiotic than committing such a crime, I’ve found, is to commit such a crime, videotape it and then post the video onto a very public site like YouTube where a username can be tracked down within minutes, and the evidence of your crime can be saved onto any computer for a relatively open-and-shut prosecution.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has a policy to take down videos featuring humiliation or bodily harm. I’m hoping they go one step further, and fully cooperate with law enforcement officers in the apprehension of anybody shown on video taking part in a “fire in the hole” prank.

Furthermore, I think anybody convicted in this should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of prior record. If they want to be an example of humor by posting the video online, there’s no reason they can’t be an example of justice.

Stupidity in young adults and stupidity in crime are not always in sync with each other. But once they are, I hope authorities are there once the stupidity does them in.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:
kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com