F**k Flash Mobs

Teenage rioting hit close to home when my friends were randomly attacked at Broad and Green streets on Saturday night

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself debating whether to bring flowers or food to the hospital. My friend Emily is in Hahnemann with a broken leg, an injury she sustained on Saturday night around 10 p.m. when she, her boyfriend, and several of our mutual pals were assaulted as they walked the two blocks from 15th and Green streets to the subway entrance at Broad and Spring Garden streets. In a random, shocking and unsettling act of violence, an angry group of about 100 unprovoked teenagers began throwing them to the ground and beating them.

Just a few days after 23-year-old Stephen Lyde was sentenced to 20 years for stabbing Thomas Fitzgerald during a May 2009 flash mob, the rioting of young Philadelphians has hit close to home for me.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia has become notorious for these violent events. In a March 2010 article, the New York Times called flash mobbing “a ritual that is part bullying, part running of the bulls” and noted that while flash mobs are not unique to our city, “they have been more frequent here than elsewhere.” A year after that article was published, police shut down LOVE Park for four hours after rumors of a flash mob were reported. Until last night, it seemed law enforcement had found a way to control the problem.

As I walked to the hospital, I wondered, How does something like this happen? It wasn’t that late! There was a group! She wasn’t alone! It was less than two blocks from her house!

I arrived at the hospital with a brightly colored bouquet and joked with Emily about how she’d once crocheted a wall-hanging reading “f**k cancer” for our friend who battled lymphoma.

She  was doped up on morphine and may need surgery. Her boyfriend is so badly bruised that a zig-zagging imprint from the bottom of a sneaker was visible on his forehead more than 18 hours after he’d been assaulted. Three others sustained injuries and are recovering at home while several more witnessed the attack but somehow managed to avoid major injuries.

After the hospital visit, I realized there  are no answers to why this happened and there is no lesson in this story. This random act of violence offers no opportunity to say “don’t travel late at night” or “don’t walk alone” or “be aware of your surroundings.”

The only moral I’ve been able to glean is this: F**k flash mobs.

Now, if only I knew how to crochet.

  • monica

    hoping for a sunny, peaceful, beautiful monday for emily and everyone else involved in this.

  • http://www.emaleighsays.com Emaleigh

    Anyone not valuing the need for education reform in Philadelphia should be. Here’s a good example of what can happen when the minds of youth waste away. The entire city (from Southwest Philadelphia to “safe” neighborhoods) should be scared. The city (government and citizens combined) needs to figure out fast how to publicly take a stand on this problem. School JUST let out. What complete senseless chaos. Not a good sign for the summer months.

  • Aaron

    While I sympathize with Ms. Palan’s outrage and indignation, her response (to curse semi-profanely at flash mobs) seems about as ineffective as cursing semi-profanely at a disease.

    You don’t fight a disease with curse words, you fight it with medicines or surgery or other types of treatment.

    And similarly, the police or the city’s civic leadership need to take some sort of action to stem the flash mob tide and prevent other people from getting hurt or killed by sociopaths.

  • Tim

    I live on the 1500 block of Green and somewhat witnessed this. My girlfriend and I walked out of our apartment to meet a friend at the corner of 15th and Green.

    As soon as I walked out the door it sounded as if a riot was going on. I looked down the street and halfway up Green St., between Broad and 15th, there was a huge commotion. I commented to my girlfriend that there must be a big gang fight going on.

    Right then, our friend came to the corner and I told her and my girlfriend to wait on our front steps while I went to check it out.

    By that time, the police had arrived and there was a small group of people (your friends) who were distraught and surrounded by cops. North of them on Broad were HUNDREDS of people and South of them were another hundred or so.

    Trust me, the 50-100 number that is being thrown out is way too low. I’d say there was a minimum of 350.

    The fact that it took phone calls to get the attention of police is beyond amazing to me, especially considering the mob formed North of Temple and walked all the way down Broad St.

    Also, I’m far from a racist, but I think it’s worth reporting that the entire mob was black and the people who were randomly attacked were all white.

    I understand that the paper doesn’t want to scare people, etc., etc., but this whole event was severely unreported. Facts are facts and should be reported as such. What this was was a huge mob of angry black youths intent on battering white people, and your friends just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    And more importantly, the police should be under close scrutiny for allowing this to happen. How is a group of hundreds, walking down Broad St. of all places, able to assault and batter people before police finally step in? This group should’ve been surrounded by police from the moment they formed miles North of where these attacks occurred.

  • wulfy

    It’s time to start killing them. Dirt simple. You want violence, you got it. Obama and the Democrats, through their incessant class and race warfare and 40 years of welfare extortions have created packs of vicious animals. If you go to a black neighborhood, pack heat, extra clips, and if sh*t starts, shoot your way out. Whites and Asians, get you businesses out of thos neighborhoods. The war has begun, and we didn’t start it.

    • Swann’s Way

      How can a three-year-old administration cause a forty-year-old problem? I know education’s partially at fault here…We all could use some more (you too).

  • Cd

    What happens when they run into a legally armed citizen who justifiably shoots them?

  • http://dchandguninfo.livejournal.com DC Handgun Info

    “there are no answers to why this happened and there is no lesson in this story” (?)
    Wrong-o. “Hate for another race” is why this happened, and the lesson is “fight back — if possible — with a concealed firearm.” I understand tha it’s a serious responsibility to carry, but would you rather be maimed for life or dead because a gang of “youths” jumped you? I opt for carry.

  • http://nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com Nicholas Stix

    Dear Ms. Palan,

    Your friend was almost murdered, not “randomly,” but because she is white, by a racist, black lynch mob. Don’t you care enough about her to tell the truth? As the previous commenter noted, this was anything but a “random” attack. It’s bad enough to be brutalized just for the crime of breathing while white, but if you do nothing to tell the truth about what happened and demand justice, you are complicit in the evil. Doesn’t your friend deserve better than that?

  • Natalie Hope McDonald

    This should scare the bejesus out of everyone. I hope your friends are feeling better soon, Erica. In the meantime, let’s all hope this unfortunate trend stops. Now.

  • DDP

    If the media treats this as a case of unemployed teens with too much time on their hands during the summer, then they are basically complicit with the next go around. Call it what it is: Marauding black teenage thugs looking to beat up whitey. It is really that simple; there is no drama or societal theory to apply here.

  • Amy

    I live in Fairmount and I’m upset angry that this happened. I’m disgusted to read many of the comments here. Philadelphia had a terrifying violent weekend where people were needlessly killed and those people were black. Did we all have this reaction when white Phillies fans were beating people to death at McFaddens? Where’s the outrage when someone dies because some a-hole refused to adhere to the city’s smoking ban? In full disclosure, I’m black and guess what? I’m not wearing a cloak of invisibility for angry teenagers. It’s shameful that these kids are out there and it’s terrible that Emily was hurt. Put the focus on the police and the obvious class issues that exist in Philadelphia, rather than making stupid comments.

  • Nadine

    What has happen to black youth? I remember when we(older black woman) who would meet up w/ friends we went to movies, shopping, etc. Where are these parents? They only come out when their child is hurt. Maybe if the parents of these flash mob are punished or fined, then some peace will be in the city. I also agree when a group of 25 to 100 of young people are assembling and it looks like trouble, then the police should be called. Maybe this reporter’s friends would not be in the hospital, if someone saw this group b4 they hit Broad and Green.

  • Thomas

    @Amy, the poster suggesting we put the focus on the police and class issues. Are you retarded? How about you focus on the a$$holes who did this? What a typical response of deflecting any personal responsibility.

    YOU are part of the problem. Don’t blame the actual perps, blame the SYSTEM. How about you raise your kids correctly and teach them to act like responsible members of society? That’s a good start.

  • DC Nutter

    Hey DC Handgun guy, you would be able to shoot 50-100 people at once? Man, you are one tough SOB.

    In reality, though, you might hit one or two before being surrounded and killed yourself. So, rather than a foot print on your head or a broken leg, you’d be dead. Good job, dirty harry.

  • http://campidiot.com RoyinCincy

    When forced to pick between Truth and Friendship or Political Correctness Erica decided on the latter. Some friend.

    Hey everybody – Google “Flash Mobs” – the attackers usually have one thing in common and most of the victims have something else in common – but don’t tell Erica. She’ll be forced to squeeze out another column about “youths”.

  • Brush

    To CD, let’s be honest if anyone shoots anyone else in self defense the media and police will crucify that person. Look at DC Nutter, the idea of self defense scare him so much he makes it seem like a zombie attack. “Take out 2 then shoot yourself! better to get beaten!”

    The F*** Flash Mob is cute for a child, but really, aren’t you and your friend adults? Shouldn’t we rationally discuse what’s happening with these Flash Mobs. From reading a few of these commentors it seems like alot of people are tired of pretending their aren’t blacks attacking whites.

  • Joe

    As said earlier, the only “random” aspect of this beating was “which white person we gonna get?”. And a pistol would definitely help, you fire that in the air and these cowards that need a gang to be tough will scatter. They don’t want to die, they just want to be “tough”.

    Short of that, set an example with the “unruly youths” that were arrested at the Sears store last week. Get a search warrant for their homes and confiscate any computer/phone in the home. Trace who else was involved in that mob and issue warrants for their arrest (and while you’re at it, issue warrants for the parents as accessories since it was likely their computers the kids used). They’re not setting these things up through word of mouth…they’re setting them up through word of VIRTUAL mouth. And “virtual mouth” is easily traceable.

  • Mike D.

    Erica, the moral is Black teens are out of control. You can’t solve a problem if you refuse to acknowledge the facts. Stop being such a PC wuss and grow up.

  • Jason

    “After the hospital visit, I realized there are no answers to why this happened and there is no lesson in this story. This random act of violence offers no opportunity to say “don’t travel late at night” or “don’t walk alone” or “be aware of your surroundings.”

    This is disgusting. There’s no answer to why this happened? I’ll give you three:

    - No moral decency, stemming from lack of parental guidance

    - No sense of consequence on the part of the thug cowards

    - A community of scared apologists LIKE YOURSELF who have an opportunity to stand up against this, but don’t

    There’s no lesson to this story? How about this one: I am carrying my gun EVERYWHERE I go from now on.

    Why don’t you think this behavior would have been tolerated in South Philly when there were mostly Italian owned homes and businesses? No. Because of racism? No. Because no one ever went into that community and attacked those people because they knew what the consequences would be.

    If ANY group of ANY race is going around attacking people, the community needs to make a stand and do something about it. NOW. Either that or these punk cowards will end up taking over the town.

    And if you think the government is going to step in and do something? Think again…these are all future voters in these major cities and districts.

  • bvw

    Erica, these are difficult times once school is out and the summer-feral youths without Dads are released into all accessible precincts of Philly Metro. In the schools (which otherwise are disasters) there at least is some regular order and Dad-like beings who enforce that order.

    In the long hot days and drawn-out twilights from late June through Labor Day we are sure to see more of this feral pack behavior. Well, to call it a pack is not quite right either, for dog packs have a single leader. These packs of Dad-less prey-hunting young adults rarely have a single leader, there are five or six behavior initiators in a pack of 30 or so.

    It is troubling to see that Tim, on the scene at the time, called the mob size as many as 350. To control that size of mob without resort to deadly force takes a very serious effort and well-trained manpower. Our soldiers overseas in the face of such a mob, drop (shoot to kill) a few out of necessity, if they do not respond to loudspeaker warning and plain show of force.

    “Peaceful” means of controlling such mobs, or suppressing roving bands (12, 30, 50, 100) involve serious martial presence (armed National Guard and armored vehicles) or equally serious trained police force applying aggressive crowd control (viz Greece now). None of that is pretty, or desirable.

    But it does seem to be an immediate necessity.

    An immediate necessity in the short term, that being through the start of of school in early September. But I doubt that officials will move to that now-necessary level until more mayhem, riot, vicious beatings like that of your friends and (G-d forbid) the murder of innocents happens.

    Medium term we have to deal with this near-feral Dad-less generation of urban blacks. Prison is NOT a cure. Killing them all is an idiot’s reaction. We have to make do that which is necessary to instill “Fear of G-d”, that is respect for society and order, in them, and try as best we can to give them the tools necessary to control their own beasts.

    Long term the problem is the lack of Dads, the male firm authority in a household day-by-day. The disrespect for the Dad in a family that is made horribly manifest by social worker and government welfare policies that promote single motherhood and penalize the formation of whole families. Four of five of urban black youth are born without Dads, real Dads married to the Mom. That’s the problem that must be solved. The solution is to strongly encourage marriage, and to penalize having children out of wedlock.

    While that sounds harsh to the fatherless child, or the single mom, the current policies are FAR harsher — look what results. The single moms and fatherless children have it far worse, they become feral and have almost no healthy role models in their social groups.

  • Dyna Chrome

    What politically correct BS by Emily. The police will not do much, for fear of being “racist”. You cannot even honestly identify the perpetrators of this hate crime. Most of the stories I have read about related incidents fail to point out the black-on-white violence. If the other way around the lamestream leghumping media would be all over it.
    Look for more of the same from the ghetto thugs this summer.

  • Chicago Nick

    Freaking animals have turned the internet and Facebook into the same ghetto’s they all live within….this is how they use social networking, not for jobs but for drugs, hook ups, animal attacks on store owners.

    I and a buddy are working on an app that catches these flash mobs in their planning stages and then tweets out to US Patriots in the area wherever it is to go meet up with them armed and ready to roll if the cops don’t get to them first to save them. Then we wait for them to emerge with the goods and mow em down like grass.

  • Dyna Chrome

    Erica I mean, not Emily

  • oatka

    “I realized there are no answers to why this happened and there is no lesson in this story.”

    It’s called Cognitive Dissonance.

  • chris

    Philadelphia is in trouble period, and has been for sometime. I remember plenty of boring lazy summer days as a kid with absolutely no means and nothing to do. Funny though, we never considered or for that matter, the thought never crossed our minds to rampage through our neighborhood destroying and assaulting anyone who was unlucky enough to cross our path, because there would have been sever repercussions to our actions. It all starts in the home. There is absolutely no excuse for this type of behavior. These actions have become socially acceptable and tolerated in these communities, and it is truly sad state. Grow up Erica, your BullS@*& take on the attack supports the inherent problem. You have done your friend a disservice.

  • Benjamin

    Oh yeah, it’s ‘flash mobs.’ Those pesky white nerds meeting up to dance. It’s black mobs and there is nothing random about it, you blind member of the multicult. If you got beaten up by one of these black mobs I suspect that you may ask them for permission to pick up your teeth off the ground then apologize for being so white and having been born so privileged. People like you are exceptionally pathetic.

  • njp

    According to another report, the group “left a street festival in North Philly and made their way toward South Street”. Apparently, only dozens of the reported 100 people participated in the assault. I got that info from citypaper . net

    But shame on you, Erica. After the traumatic experience your friend went through, all you can say is “f–k flash mobs”? Why don’t you demand the police have a better strategy for dealing with these sort of riots? You haven’t helped your friend at all

  • Grapeful Dead

    Hope the flashers meet the ‘anointed one’ this afternoon. Perhaps Comcast will provide stipends so that they can gather at his feet.

    They get gain insight on the ways to to lie, cheat, and sink the world.

  • Christian Polo

    When the Ohio National Guard killed four students at Kent State, the riots on university campuses magically stopped. The same solution will apply to these “riots” when armed citizens fight back.

  • muhammad X. Cheeks

    “I wondered, How does something like this happen?” I will tell you how these things happen, Erica. They happen because there are way too many people like you out there, that’s how. It’s people like you whose only principle is “color blind at all costs” and whose motto is “be damned reality, i’m politically correct!”. See, it’s white guilt liberals like you who see no difference between a group of white teens who spontaneously erupt into song/dance/pillowfights, and the “urban youths” who conspire to rape/rob/vandalize. That you refuse to acknowledge that blaks are responsible for these crimes IS THE PROBLEM! the reality is 90% of all inter-racial crime is blak-on-white, despite blaks being only 12% of the population, so why is it that whites like you want to examine 100% of the population when the problem lies wholly within 12% of the population? White guilt liberals give blaks a free pass, that is the problem, they feel whites are responsible for the sociopath behavior of blaks, so they refuse to single them out, instead they spread the blame around to include all society, that is the problem Erica, if you let someone rape you on monday, they will come back and rape you on tuesday, at some point you have to identify the rapist and get them arrested. It’s whites like you Erica who pretend blaks are the same as whites, you pretend they are as smart as whites, (though 100 years worth of testing proves you wrong), and so we end up blaming ourselves for blak failure in schools, then we throw hundreds of millions of dollars at them each year thinking that will solve the problem, and no matter how much money we spend, the problems only get worse. Erica, you need to go out and see first hand a “kill whitey night”, they are held around country in various cities, and just for fun, count how many white folks are participating.

  • Luke

    As a former Liberal; I’d like to say, this political correctness is INSANE! I know who these “youths” are. You know who these “youths” are; yet, anyone reading this gleams no information as to the demographics and motivations for the violence that was done to your friend. Are these Greek youths who crossed the ocean to riot in Urban America? Did they beat your friend because austerity measure took away their welfare checks?

  • Caiden

    While there are only a few comments I’m glad most realize there is a problem going on, and people like Erica are blind to it.

    In some horrible way there isn’t a solution. Society is crumbling. How long until a US city end up like Somalia, with butchered and raped people lay dying the in streets. How long after that until it spreads.

    The politicans are to afraid to talk about it, the media is to liberal to address, the cops don’t have the manpower or backing to do anything, and the hipsters will blame everyone except the attackers feeling safe in their magic bubbles by attacking the whites afraid of the attacks (of course a quick google or youtube search will show asians and hispanics are also victims have similar groups of attackers).

    Basically we’re living in Germany before the roundups but during the kristallnacht. We can’t trust the powers the be (look up Eric Holder’s “my people” quote and see what help law enforcement is) so trust yourselves and what neighbors you have.

    If your state or city allow gun ownership consider getting one, but learn the laws of using it. You can still get sued in many areas by the rapists family for depriving them of his future earnings. A military supply store may sell military grade knifes (better then a butter knife).

    Consider buying extra bottled water and food, and maybe have an emergency back of supplies in case you have to flee the area (just like you would if you lived in case of fire).

    Yup, I’ve pretty much been thinking like a survivalist over the last few months. but for hipsters, laugh at us and when a flash mob is kicking in your head as your family watches, try to engage them in the movies of Quinten Tarantino, that will sway them to not cripple you.

  • Richard Byrnes

    This is a terminal disease analogous to when your pet needs to be put down. There is no medicine for this viloence. The only action is that the citizens of our cities must have the courage and the resolve to exercise their Constitutional right to defend themselves.

    So what we need to do is legally arm ourselves with licensed and permitted firearms. Take some lessons in tactical self-defense, and learn how to use that gun. Then when you go out to dinner in Center City, go armed. If cornered by a so-called “flash mob” of bullies and thugs you pull out your weapon, point it at the head of the fist punk; then you give fair warning that if he does not cease and desist, you will shoot him; if he does not stop, you then blow his effing brains out all over the sidewalk. Then the ask the crowd, “Who’s next?”

  • http://twitter.com/Van_der_Leun Gerard Vanderleun

    Gee whiz, Erica, a “flash mob.” Care to share what qualities this mob might have in common other than their “flash?” Teenagers? Care to share other things about the mob that is similar other than their Teenishness?

    Or do you just want to blather?

    “The only moral I’ve been able to glean is this: F**k flash mobs.”

    As is said of this over at Intellectual Dettox: “Erica, if you are so void of ideas of what to do, so incapable of self-government and self-rule to as surrender to this barbarity, then abdicate your democratic throne, surrender your vote, and accede to my accession to the throne.”