Flash Mobs May Test Philadelphia Authorities This Summer


What’s going on with Philadelphia’s flash mobs, asks the Philadelphia Inquirer. Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson, renowned for his analysis of African American culture in the city, is writing about the so-called flash mobs in a book to come out next year. The gatherings had a “quasi-carnival atmosphere,” writes Anderson, calling them a “kind of social storm.” Many of the kids arrested in the Philadelphia incidents were from impoverished neighborhoods. Many of them, prosecutor Angel Flores said, were having fun amid the mayhem. “They had smiles on their faces as they scared people at random,” he said. “They thought that assaulting others was a form of enjoyment.”

They were not on the hunt for particular victims, Flores said, although they trampled and punched people along the way – white, black, whomever – and damaged property. It would behoove us to figure it why this happened soon, said Darryl Coates of the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network. “We’re going to be tested when summer comes,” he said. “And we have to be sure we’re ready as a city.”

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