Somewhere in America, someone is flashing their high beams at a car with their lights off … invoking sudden death as gangbangers unleash a hail of bullets into their car, or so a hoax email would have us believe. In truth, there is no such crime being committed, not today, and not in 1993 when the hoax started spreading via fax machines.
DON’T FLASH HEADLIGHTS AT ANY CAR WITH NO LIGHTS ON!!
Police officers working with the DARE program have issued this
Warning: If you are driving after dark and see and on-coming car
with no headlights on, DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT THEM! This is a
common Bloods member “initiation game” that goes like this: The new
gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights, and the
first car to flash their headlights at him is now his “target.”.
He is now required to turn around and chase that car, then shoot and
kill every individual in th e vehicle in order to complete his
initiation requirements. Police Depts across the nation are being
Their intent is to have all the new bloods nationwide drive around
on Friday and Saturday nights with their headlights off. In order to
be accepted into the gang, they have to shoot and kill all
individuals in the first auto that does a courtesy flash to warn them
that their lights are off.
Make sure you share this information with all the drivers in your
family! Please forward this message to all your friends and family
members to inform them about this initiation ritual.
This legend has legs. In his 1999 book Too Good to be True, folklorist expert Jan Harold Brunvand tracked an incarnation of his hoax back to 1993, when it was being circulated via fax machines. (“Light’s Out”, pg 393, Too Good to be True, W.W. Norton & Company). The original version mentioned specific cities — St. Louis and Chicago — as well as the Illinois State Police, which are lost in this incarnation, even as it gains mention of the Bloods and D.A.R.E.
A quick search of the D.A.R.E. web site reveals their debunking, which states:
“Lights Out” Email is false
This email message reappears every few years and is a hoax.
In regards to DARE it surfaced in October 1998 and whipped around the Internet and through fax machines.
The warnings this time were said to have originated with a DARE police officer.
Once again, it was the same old story — no gang initiations, no killings, just a hoax on the loose. A hoax which quickly spread to all parts of the U.S.A.
According to Snopes.com’s excellent debunking — which includes several different incarnations, and tracks the hoax’s myriad forms through the years — the hoax may actually have begun back in the 1980s, when the Hell’s Angels were the ones doing the initiating.