First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Poverty, Violence and Flash Mobs

A map linking rioting and looting against various measurements of wealth and poverty.

The fourth night of rioting in London is smaller, with a huge police presence, but continuing in other towns and cities. 

The Guardian maintains an updated blog HERE as Day Five begins.

They also maintain an interactive map of verified incidents HERE.

Some commentors are saying the rioters are the "ignored underserved" that have seen significant reduction in government-provided services.

Poverty, Police, Reduced Social Services

"I don't call it rioting, I call it an insurrection of the masses of the people.

It is happening in Syria, it is happening in Clapham, it's happening in Liverpool, it's happening in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and that is the nature of the historical moment."

Darcus Howe interview with the BBC

(poor sound quality on clip)

Jorge Rivas, writing for Color Lines, provides this related narrative:

68-year-old Darcus Howe, a broadcaster and columnist, who lives in South London where riots have been taking place offered some context this morning for BBC News viewers.

Howe told a BBC News anchor that political leaders had no idea what was coming but if they had taken a moment to “look at young blacks and young whites with a discerning eye and careful hearing” they would of heard messages of what to do to prevent this.

The Trinidad and Tobago native who says he’s been in London for more than 50 years goes on to tell viewers about his young grandson who can’t count how many times he’s been stopped and searched by London police.

And when the news anchors asks if he condones the riots he gives her a piece of his mind. “‎Have some respect for an old West Indian negro and stop accusing me of rioting. Have some respect, I have grandchildren. You sound like an idiot.”

Howe is a notable British writer and is the former editor of the magazine Race Today.

68-Year-Old West Indian Man Schools BBC Anchor on London Riots

Are Chicago Flash Mobs similar?

Julie Jargan and Ilan Brat, writing for The Wall Street Journal described this challenge:

CHICAGO—Police here are girding for another weekend of "flash mob" attacks after arresting 29 people in connection with a recent rash of assaults and robberies in and around the city's tony shopping and dining district.

Twelve crimes involving large groups of young men were reported last weekend, in addition to others earlier this spring.

The incidents are some of the first major problems confronting newly appointed Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

The attacks have received wide attention in Chicago because they have occurred around the city's affluent north side, including near the "Magnificent Mile," a Michigan Avenue strip popular with tourists.

June 09, 2011 "Chicago Police Brace for 'Flash Mob' Attacks"

You may need a WSJ subscription to read the article.

Here is a Huffington Post article covering the same incidents:

Chicago Flash Mobs Apparently Robbed, Attacked Four Men Over Weekend

Philadelphia Imposes Stricter Weekend Curfew

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter: Anyone under 18 in those areas must now be off the streets by 9 PM.

Change in the city’s curfew for two key areas — Center City and University City — on Friday and Saturday nights.

Some say that social networks like Twitter and Facebook, more and more so-called flash mobs are materializing across the globe, leaving police scrambling to keep tabs on the ‘spontaneous assemblies’.

In London, recent rioting and looting has been blamed in part on groups of youths using Twitter, mobile phone text messages and instant messaging on BlackBerry to organize and keep a step ahead of police.

Flash mobs have reappeared on the streets of Philadelphia – Center City where groups of youths gravitate to a designated location at an appointed time.

Once there, they become a mob that gathers force as it roams the streets, wreaking havoc on businesses while terrifying and sometimes attacking pedestrians.

They are roving groups of teenagers, flash mobs of Philadelphia, out to steal, assault, and destroy. Sometimes, the lawless acts of the flash mobs are spontaneous. Other times, they’re planned and premeditated.

“They’re 12 years old and not around the corner from their home. Where’s their parent?” said Chitwood, the Upper Darby police chief.

“If they’re out doing flash mob thefts when they’re 12, what the hell are they going to be doing when they’re 16?”

August 09, 2011 "Philadelphia Flash Mobs, Rampage 2011"

Could flash mobs be headed your way? How would your map of wealth and poverty match with rioting and looting?

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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