The Sullivan County Sheriff’s office in East Tennessee launched a particularly dystopian version of Bingo on Wednesday. It’s called “Busted Bingo” and its premise, if the name wasn’t revealing enough, makes a gameshow out of outstanding arrest warrants.
Each week, “host” Sheriff Wayne Anderson will pick a number that corresponds to an open arrest warrant. The “winner” gets arrested. Fun game! With so many active arrest warrants, of which there are apparently 7,500, this hellish gameshow could go on forever. And the people, they’re going to be so engaged.
“When you get people involved and you get the public involved, because some of these people might have a job somewhere that we don’t know about and they say well I work with that guy or I work with that lady, whatever, and so they call and turn them in,” Anderson told WJHL.com. This sounds like a totally normal way to sow trust in a community. Bravo, cops!
“Busted Bingo” isn’t your average Shot on an iPhone 7 amateur cop video, either. A lot of effort, time, and presumably money went into orchestrating Sullivan County’s barbaric brand of Bingo. Perhaps this is because Sheriff Anderson isn’t your average cop: he’s starred in National Geographic’s reality TV show about Appalachia’s cops, Southern Justice. Uh, ever heard of it?
“It’s East Tennessee’s favorite game! Busted Bingo,” the YouTube caption of the video proudly proclaims. Oh, is it East Tennessee’s favorite game? A perplexing pastime, if true. Judging by the video’s comments, Busted Bingo doesn’t have very many fans:
“This is very unprofessional.” — YouTube user Mikey.
“I’m so fucking embarrassed by this. When will TN stop with the ridiculousness.” — YouTube user Hump.
“As much as I support the police, this is ridiculous. I get that you want to make a statement that you will go after those that are wanted, but the amount of time and several people involved to make this...could have been used just to go to that address and get her.” — YouTube user Mindchime Official.
Mindchime Official makes a very astute observation: why not skip the public shaming (for what appears to be, at least in the first “winner’s” case, a nonviolent crime) and arrest the people whom Sullivan County seems to have the addresses of already? It would certainly require a lot less energy and effort! Also, it would be a lot less evil!
Behold, “Busted Bingo” Episode 1: