When I think of flash mobs of urban teens who have gathered to rob and cause mayhem, I think of large cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, or Milwaukee. I need to readjust my thinking.
Thanks to Doc Wesson's Gun Nation Podcast, I found out about a flash mob in my hometown of Greensboro, NC in late July. While I have not lived in Greensboro for thirty years, I still have my late mother's house there and visit on a regular basis. To say I was shocked by the news is an understatement. Greensboro's population is in the mid-200 thousand range which puts it in the mid-size city category with cities like Buffalo, Ft. Wayne, Birmingham, or St. Pete, Florida. While I am biased, I think most would say it is a very liveable city and a number of corporations have moved operations there in recent years.
According to the report above, one man was injured in an attack and the Carolina Theater was vandalized - all within view of the Greensboro PD headquarters.
There are conflicting reports on whether this was actually a "flash mob" or not. The Greensboro News-Record contends it was not and they reported that GPD spokeswoman Susan Danielson denies that they had any reports of attacks or a flash mob. Obviously, Greensboro station WFMY-TV above believes a flash mob attack happened and so does former Mayor Keith Holliday who now runs the Carolina Theater.
Regardless of the conflicting reports, the potential for violence when large groups of youth suddenly converge on a location due to a call posted on Facebook or Twitter is there. Combine bored youth with a bad economy and the potential rises. The best advice given by people I respect is not to be in a location where the mobs would gather in the first place and, if you are, to get out as fast as you can. If it can happen in a Greensboro, it can happen in Knoxville or Richmond or other small-to-moderate sized cities.
NOTE: The title on the video above was put there by the person who posted it on YouTube. I had to use this version instead of embedding directly from WFMY-TV. I do not condone the equating of flash mobs with black youths. Violent youths come in all colors and all races.