Last week I penned this column on the topic of "flash mobs" that were wreaking their unique brand of violence on a number of urban areas over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
It was the sheer volume of these incidents that caught my eye. Several reports of violence, vandalism and general mayhem were reported from Miami to Chicago and all fell under the same description - gangs of young people roaming the streets and stores in search of victims.
But alas, this frightening trend was not contained to Memorial Day. And I regretfully fear it may well spread as the summer heat unfolds.
Over this past weekend, police arrested 11 members of a mob that invaded a New York emergency room and threatened staff. It appears that a posse member was taken to an emergency room and the band of thugs that followed began yelling and threatening staff. When police were called, the obligatory fights broke out and the arrests were made.
In New York's Brighton Beach area, police arrested a 19-year-old girl this week for the murder and assault on a group of teens at the beach last week. The extended heat wave had packed the beach and apparently a lingering dispute turned deadly.
And in a sad twist to this escalation of violence, downtown Chicago has gone so out of control that Major League Baseball officials are warning visiting teams to beware during their stays in the Windy City. An additional 150 policemen are assigned to patrol the downtown area to address the growing trend of flash mobs and roving bands of thugs. In all, 30 youths were arrested in Chicago last week in various mob attacks.
Let me clarify something I wrote last week that was apparently misinterpreted by one reader. I said the Obama administration's response to this growing trend will likely include a call for more money to provide wholesome summer activities for these wayward youth. I did not say this was the current administration's fault. I would assume this administration is as repulsed by these mobs as anyone else.
I simply question their response - or lack thereof to this point.
There is a fear or at least a concern that this growing violence will increase in the weeks ahead. If this is a new wave of urban actions, then we should all clearly be concerned.
If Americans feel unsafe in urban settings, then those large cities will continue to suffer with less visitors, shoppers and guests. And urban areas can ill afford this loss of revenue.
Police must react decisively to this growing trend and not hand out a slap on the wrist to these young thugs. Without a rapid response, the animals will be in charge.
And if the day comes when your safety cannot be assured, then believe me, citizens will take matters into their own hands.
One final note - where are the parents?