Flash Mobs-Philadelphia-The Crowd
As I was reading Lebon’s the crowd, I began to think a lot about the surge in with violent teen Flash Mobs in Philadelphia over the past three or four years. I remember one afternoon I took a late lunch break nearly 50 school kids began yelling and screaming in my direction. I continued walking picked up my pace slightly and headed back to work Fifiteen minutes later I returned back to my job and heard that the group ransacked the store I was in front and a team of girls fought a woman that was shopping inside.
For over a year weekly there incidents just like the one I nearly experienced. I equated their behavior to ‘group think’ assuming that each child was simply influenced by the other’s behavior and actions and the domino effect worked throughout the crowd.
Also, with the increased media coverage and negative the attention encouraged some teens to act out even more. Many began to film on their IPADS and phones to ensure their activities would be covered.
I considered that fact many students came from various circumstances, severe poverty broken families without support and enough activities to keep them mentally and socially engaged. But part of me also found their organizing skills quite impressive as many students would assemble through Face Book and the location would be determined there I thought it was clever to use public space to gather in large spaces, and if they had positive motivations those kids could really do be doing amazing things. The enormous amount of energy that soared through the kids could be used for social change.
Then the other day I began thinking about the new number of public schools that have been closed over the past few years and the 23 that closed shortly before the start of the academic year, there was impending question up till almost the first day of school as to whether public schools would be opening at all. I couldn’t help but think about the correlation between the school closings and the brewing anger that a number of school children have been exhibiting there was a youth premonition of the stifling budget cuts and students began to respond to a need for change. While in no way am I am justifying their behavior and I do believe there are multiple forces that are at work but I don’t believe that these children are simply barbaric and are responding to the immediate stimuli and circumstance, I think they need a bit of guidance from family and stable education system, media that doesn’t perpetuate/sensationalize violence and be apart great social movements and deep down, they know they have it in them.