The Flash Mob Phenomenon

>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010

People everywhere are going crazy. Other than the surprisingly stealth action of the teabaggers rushing the U.S. Capitol over the weekend, kids in Philly had stormed South Street and caused violence. Since last May, there has been 6 flash mobs hitting the city; three in South Street, two in the Gallery Mall and one around the City Hall.

Five hundred plus teenagers received tweets to come down to South Street and shown up. I didn't know it the time it happened but when I was out for the Annual Pink Pub Crawl, I did pass by two groups of loud, entitled, semi-aggressive teenagers. It would have been okay if they were peaceful and having fun, no matter how obnoxious they are, but that's not all.

These people were chanting "Black kids burn the city!", while jumping on top of cars, knocking over pedestrians and fighting and cursing. They were calling their friends and asking them to bring their baseball bats, one 17 year old kid in particular was confronting a police officer and tried to hide the handgun that he brought with him. Store owners are forced to protect their customers and some locked their gates earlier. A pizzeria staff was jumped, punched and kicked until he fell on the street and rescued by the owner who was attacked as well. A 27-year-old woman was attacked by a large group of male and female juveniles, kicking and punching her until she fell to the ground, where they continued to kick her in the face and head. Numerous South Street residents reported hearing what they thought were gunshots around midnight. It's obviously bad for business especially in this economy and in a high-rent environment like South Street.

In the past, a 54-year-old man riding his bicycle home from work was critically injured when he beaten by a group of young men. A cabdriver was assaulted and robbed. And two people were pulled from a vehicle, assaulted and robbed. This time around there were only 3 arrests made.

I imagine if it started on Twitter it wouldn't be hard to find the perpetrator, but they do have the rights to congregate. The problem I see is an entitlement issue much like the person who wrote Mommy Rage, they do have the right to be there but they will induce violent when you're in their way. On that night, a teenager try to bump my shoulder and I didn't think twice and walked on. God knows if I had made an issue of it, maybe I'll end up on the floor and robbed until someone found me on the sidewalk and called the police. Since I don't have insurance, I'd be broke and homeless when the debt collectors come knocking.

Where's all this rage comes from? What's the purpose of the flash mobs? Is a real estate mogul behind this to drive down the value of prime South Street real estate? I don't think it will benefit anybody. The store owners are thinking of closing earlier during the weekend. South Street is a popular weekend cruising spots where cars are lining the street and cruising slowly so drivers and passengers can flirt and shout at the pedestrians. If all the stores decide to close early from now on, there won't be any pedestrians walking the street, rendering the area dead and what does that do but produce more boredom and angst?

With so many pictures and videos on these flash mobs, hopefully they will be able to arrest more kids and prosecute them in the fullest extend to make an example out of them. Store owners undoubtedly will be getting some fire arms to protect their properties. Just like a CSI: Miami episode, somewhere down the line the mother of a dead kid will be on TV swearing that her son was a good kid and got shot by mistake and someone should prosecute the store owner for killing someone innocent in the name of self-defense and then people will wonder why the police force hasn't make any effort to stop these things from happening. Maybe then and only then the flash mob phenomenon will stop.

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