One of the more depressing reminders of how short we fall of our potential as a country or even as a species is the odd phenomenon of post-holiday “flash mobs.”
In a rash of criminal activity, mobs of young people in at least three states rioted through local malls on the night after Christmas, forcing police to intervene.
In Deptford, New Jersey, at the Deptford Mall; Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News, Virginia; and Louisville, Kentucky’s Mall St. Matthews, local law enforcement was called to the scene when fighting among hundreds of youths broke out.
Amazingly, no serious injuries were reported, but videos from the scenes show young people running through crowded shopping malls and police herding people like cattle.
Officials in Deptford were investigating whether the flash mob was organized via Twitter and other social media. Several fights broke out at the mall and in the parking lot as police dispersed the approximately 500 youths who were loitering.
Similarly, police were called to Patrick Henry Mall because of fights among some 200 young people.
By far the largest “wilding” event was at the Mall St. Matthews, where police confronted a crowd of up to 2,000 youngsters who were running through the mall, fighting and harassing customers. Stores at the mall were ordered to close, but groups of youths were reported climbing on the metal gates at store entrances.
Officer Dennis McDonald told NBC, “Businesses were in the process of closing their doors, steel grates, and you had juveniles that were not allowing businesses to close up — [they were] climbing on the grates. This was a riot. It was crazy.”
Breitbart News reported that the mob was composed of “black teens,” though other news outlets have not characterized it that way.
Other than the possible social media connection, there appears to have been no point to any of the mass gatherings. There was no political issue, however feigned. There may have been some small-time, would-be puppet masters trying to pull strings, but the mob mentality seems to have been the only real rule in any of these events.
Collectively, flash mob events illustrate that something is seriously wrong with large swaths of our young people in America. Here we have children and young adults with enough leisure time and privilege that they can go to a shopping mall filled with material goods and entertainment on a winter’s night, and the best idea for something to do that they can come up with is to harass, intimidate and assault their fellow human beings.
You can look at youth culture and cite the music, the games, the abuse of electronic communications, or you can point to the current political atmosphere of “gimme more” and institutionalized victimhood, but ultimately it’s impossible to separate cause and effect.
Something’s rotten, something’s broken, and on the night after Christmas, it just demonstrates how much humanity needs that little child in the manger more than ever.