With the recent riots in London, flash mobs in D.C., and teeming gangs of feral teenagers prompting my hometown of Kansas City to institute a curfew, I'm left wondering what exactly is going on. I've read some rollicking old-school, law-and-order rants in the British papers, which are always fun, and certainly a sizable contingent of conservative fuddy-duddies has decided that Western Civilization's days are numbered. Personally, I kinda doubt the end is all that near, but then...
My wife and I saw a crowd of kids down on the Plaza (the site of the recent shooting that prompted the curfew) several months ago, and I was shocked when a kid that looked to be about 14 started a fistfight with a police officer who was much bigger than him. I was even more surprised when the large crowd of kids nearby turned and ran... toward the action, as if this were a fight in school or something and not a dangerous situation. The mob surrounded the fight, with other kids coming to the aid of the one who started it, reaching in to attack the cop from different angles. We quickly left the scene as a bunch of cops on foot, on horseback, and in patrol cars materialized seemingly out of nowhere to get the crowd under control. Months have passed since then, and the problem has apparently only grown.
My impression was that these kids didn't care to live by the basic rules of civilization. That's probably not a good thing.
So what do we have here? Just a series of minor scuffles? A bit of a law enforcement problem? Discontent with a world that is insufficiently redistributing wealth via government programs? A lost generation of young people? The end of the world as we know it? Something... worse?