Threatening Flash Mobs Becoming More Common

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When the first stories about flash mobs first came out, they seemed harmless enough, just people suddenly breaking into dance, singing or making a statement.  The latest stories about flash mobs seem to have taken a more sinister angle.  The recent story about the Maryland flash mob that robbed a 7-Eleven store in less than a minute caught my eye. There have also been a few other stories about random beatings and other robberies.  The mayor of Philadelphia recently announced a youth curfew in response to flash mobs in the city that resulted in store owner beatings.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to conjure up how a flash mob can rapidly turn into a riot.

Think about the Maryland 7-Eleven situation for a moment.  What if you happened to be shopping at that store the exact minute those characters walked in and started grabbing items belligerently and running off without paying?  In this case they did not threaten anyone, but in a similar situation, anything can push things over the edge.

In order to be prepared for anything, it’s best to think ahead:

  • Wherever you are, even if nothing is going on, know where is the nearest exit and envision your quickest path out that door.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and look for cues on how things are developing.
  • If you notice odd things are starting to happen, avoid drawing attention to yourself and start moving away from the action.  If you are with your kids, quickly steer everyone away from the mob’s path.
  • Do not try to stop the mob:  this could be dangerous to your life and well-being.
  • Find a safe place AWAY from the action before attempting to whip our your cell phone to report the event.
  • I do not advocate violence, but if you are truly being threatened with physical harm, then use your best judgement on how you might evade (run away) or defend yourself.  Consider pepper spray or some other way to protect yourself.

I hope none of us ever find ourselves in the middle of one.  Think about it – what would you do?


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  1. I seriously would avoid crowds at all costs. Avoid malls or any public gathering places as much as possible. Don’t allow your teens out if you can’t trust them to avoid these situations. If you need to get to go where these things might happen, then go when it is least likely to happen…. usually the mornings and early afternoons. It seems that alot of this garbage starts happening at nighttime. If you can legally carry a weapon, then do so.

    It’s only going to get worse.

    1. I agree the problem is just getting worse. And they always seem to happen at night. All good suggestions, Matt. Thank you.

  2. I was reading a TON about this today. What’s crazy is that “riots” usually have some sort of explanation (whether rational or not) and warning (even if it’s only a few hours or day), whereas “flash mobs” are oftentimes completely out of the blue.

    Many of the recent flash mobs (the Maryland 7-11 or the DuPont Circle clothing store) have not included violence, but the limits of what kids are doing “for fun” are being pushed further and further all the time…

    When I watch the youtube videos and see all the smiles and laughter, it makes my blood boil.

    1. Hey Dan, it’s strange there appears to be no rhyme or reason for the recent flash mobs, fortunately no real violence, but mob mentality can easily take over and tip them over the edge. It really does make you made to watch them and see what these kids appear to see as entertainment.

  3. Well, since I almost never go around people, I’ve been watching this more as a symptom of greater sickness in our society than as a threat to me. My thought on being caught in one is this. The store has insurance, so if they are just stealing things, that’s a matter for the police. If, on the other hand, people are being hurt as has been the case in a number of these events, I’d have to intervene. This does not mean emptying all three 17 round magazines that I routinely carry. It does mean being willing to produce the weapon in an attempt to protect someone else. It also means being willing to use it if I have to. There are all sorts of outfits that say “don’t shoot unless you mean to kill”but I don’t subscribe to that theory. If I have to put a hole in someone’s foot or rear end to protect myself or others, I will. In my state, we have laws that prevent the prosecution of an individual who uses force to protect life or property. We have no duty to retreat. Nor can we be sued.
    As I say though, even if I go into a city, I don’t see a Flash Mob of black youths descending on the Barnes and Nobles to steal books, or on Michaels to rip off craft supplies, so this will, hopefully, remain a philosophical topic for me.

    1. Hey ATH, you have made some good points. I did not realize in your state you would not get sued for firing if it was to protect life or property. In Texas, we have the castle rule, but that only applies to your car or home. Even then those good for nothing criminals and their families can sue you and potentially get some money in civil court, even if you were in the right. You are so much better off living out in the country, and away from the big city where these things are more likely to happen.

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