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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teenage Mobs: A Rising Epidemic

Original Article

The term “teenage mob attacks” sounds like some cliché term out of a bad horror story.  But, this is a growing phenomenon amongst our youth, and a concern especially for many store owners in urban areas.  Signs are surfacing of a growing epidemic of violence, and many are realizing this is just the beginning.  In fact, in the last 4 months, teenage mobs have wrecked havoc in different parts of the country.  Media outlets have reported the following incidents of teenage looting:

  • In February of 2011, a Vallejo city worker was attacked and robbed by a mob of teenagers.
  • In May 2011, teenage mobs began shoplifting in Chicago on Michigan Ave.
  • Again, in May 2011, mobs swarmed a Las Vegas convenience store and stole $600 worth of goods.
  • Just recently in New York, a teenage mob stole food and damaged a Dunkin’ Doughnut store.
 Many stores in the surrounding areas of the above mentioned attacks, say the same type of attacks have occurred in their store; however, out of fear of retribution, the stores will not give their names or press charges.

Understanding Mob Mentality

These teenage hoodlums know there is power in large numbers and they are using it to their advantage.  To announce a pending mob attack, they use their cell phones to electronically organize and communicate through social networks.  Once a large number arrive, they end up looting the store, and damaging private property.  Many believe this is nothing more than teenagers seeking some fast thrills and public notoriety.  However, knowing they will get some sort of media attention, only further escalates these mob-type attacks.  To combat this, police officers are monitoring social network sites attempting to stop the mobs before they strike.  However, due to the spontaneity of this type of crime, police officers are finding it very difficult to be proactive.

It seems as if these teenagers are not concerned with getting caught as they obviously could care less about the security cameras catching their every move.  Could it be that their lack of concern is because the penalization of a juvenile is nothing more than a slap on the wrist? 
To further understand this phenomenon, scientists at the University of Leeds have researched and believe they have found the source of why humans flock like sheep and birds.  In an article regarding this subject, they indicate that we are merely subconsciously following a minority of individuals.
Researchers discovered that it takes a minority of just 5 percent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 percent follow without realizing it… We’ve all been in situations where we get swept along by the “crowd,” says Professor Krause.  “But what’s interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to talk or gesture to one another.  In most cases the participants didn’t realize they were being led by others.”

Whether or not this is the case, these young adults are making poor choices that are affecting the livelihoods of others.  Their careless acts and lack of moral judgement leads this author to believe we do have an epidemic on our hands.  An epidemic of poorly raised children with no direction towards making themselves better individuals.  How can we put the future into the hands of these juvenile delinquents?  What is it that makes them choose this way of life?  Are their basic needs not being met?  Do they feel under pressure about the bad economy?  Do they even know what the economy is?

Future Trends

 It is a fact that when people’s basic needs are not met, they will act out.  Therefore, it is only a matter of time before these senseless acts of violence will not be limited to only misguided youth, but reach out to others who feel they need to take their own desperation into their hands.  Due to the recent increase in unemployment, and under stimulated economy there will be an increase in crime, and violent mob attacks are surely to increase.  That being said, what will the local and state police force do to deter these attacks?  Will they create a police state and place a police officer on every street corner? Is that what this is coming to?
Why not put the power back into each individuals hands?  While the teenage mobs are looting the stores, what were the witnesses doing?  Did they call the police, did they try and stop them or were they one of the many onlookers?  Instead of looking around and wondering what can be done, start taking personal responsibility for your city.  It’s time Americans start acting in accordance to what our Founding Fathers would have wanted for this great country.  We must protect the freedoms that we have by fighting fire with fire.

To cure any epidemic, doctors must take a hard stance on fighting the disease.  Even though the problem of violence has the ability to spread like a wildfire, in this case, there is no tough stance.   For decades, juvenile detention centers have made failed attempts at turning these misguided youth around through counseling, boot camps, they have even tried to re-educate teens.  The problems are only escalating and need to stop.  Juveniles must begin taking personal responsibility for their actions.  Simply put, that means, no more slaps on the wrist.  It is time they were taught the phrase,”If you do the crime, you do the time.”   

In summary, what happened to this generation?  Each generation is supposed to be better than the previous one.  The individulas who were involved in these senseless crimes are revolting, ill- equipped to handle adult situations and in all honesty, have the mental capacity of a 4-year old.  It’s like watching children have temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want.  I can’t believe this is even an issue!  When these delinquents organize their next mob attack, they need to be held accountable.  Instead of citizens idly watching, they need to take action.  The cure for this epidemic rests in each citizen’s hands.  You hold the key to stopping this.

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