As Britain continues to burn, consider our friends in America who are dealing with a (so far) more sporadic kind of social unrest: brief ‘flash mob’ attacks, in which small groups of a hundred or so youths suddenly turn up, commit assaults and robberies, and then vanish.
Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, has imposed stricter curfew conditions in response to attacks in his city. And he’s not the only one to be concerned. In Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago and elsewhere, these ‘flash mob’ attacks are becoming a serious concern. They seem to be being organised via social networking, but the precise organisational system behind them is unclear.
Some people are speculating that there is a racial angle to the attacks, and that the attackers are mostly young black males. Whether race really is the driving force is unclear, and police across America so far have no evidence to support the theory. There are also suggestions that the attacks are linked to last week’s sudden violence at the Wisconsin State Fair, in which a number of people were injured.