A district judge has banned a Kentucky teenager from saying “bingo” for half a year, after the youth repeatedly and falsely yelled the game-ending exclamation at a local hall, upsetting patrons. The officer who cited 18-year-old Austin Whaley referred to an opinion from the 1919 Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States to explain why the troublemaker had to be brought to justice: “Just like you can’t run into a theater and yell ‘fire’ when it’s not on fire, you can’t run into a crowded bingo hall and yell ‘bingo’ when there isn’t one.”
The officer said that the other players in the room were noticeably upset by the prank and began “hooting and hollering and yelling and cussing”; “People take their bingo very seriously,” he explained. He would have given the teenager a pass if he had apologized, but the prankster refused. So he charged Whaley with second-degree disorderly conduct.
While the judge could have given Whaley a $250 fine or 90 days in jail, he decided to be lenient because the teen showed remorse in court. Plus, “you’ve got to keep a sense of humor,” the judge added.