Riots and Flash Mobs Are Symptoms of No Jobs

In the United Kingdom, the riots that ravished city streets last week have ceased, but the potential for such activity to surge up again is hardly a remote possibility. Across Europe tear gas stocks have risen as the continent nears a level of financial uncertainty it hasn’t seen since 2008. Governments are cracking down, which may very well only lead to escalating instances of rioters clashing with police. The more the European economy slides into disruption the more likely an equal reaction will be seen on the streets of the Eurozone.

Similar activity is being exhibited in the United States as well, only in a more peculiar and unconventional fashion. “Flash mobs” were originally harmless dance routines and other acts performed in public places by large groups of individuals coordinated through social networks. However, flash mobs have recently evolved into a manner of criminal mischief.

Nearly 30 people swept through a Maryland convenience store the other day and stole countless items in only a few seconds, in what police suspect was a preplanned attack. This is only one of several recent examples of such crimes being committed by large groups of individuals. Many of these flash mob attacks include instances of violence.

While the behavior exhibited by American flash mob participants is relatively mild compared to the firebombing of British police stations, there seem to exist similar sentiments held by either perpetrators. It’s a disregard for law and order and more shockingly a collectively premeditated decision to engage in social deviancy for personal pleasure. Both styles of social deviancy attempt to outright defy basic parameters of society by-way of organized guerrilla-style “attacks on the system”.

But the perpetrators all have another thing in common: nearly all of them are under the age of 25; the same demographic hit the hardest by unemployment. These aren’t just the adolescents that make up the juvenile criminal element every society possess at any time. An untold percentage of rioters and flash mobsters are either sitting on degrees from nursing schools and other academic accomplishments with no hiring in sight.

In essence, we have an enormous amount of young people out there with nothing to do. Historically, that is always a recipe for desire. Twenty somethings need to be working. They need to feel like they have a role in society and they need to see that good comes from being a willing participant in a system of law and order. Otherwise, they become excessively cynical and take to the streets. This trickles downward and inspires the criminal element to engage in audacious behavior otherwise only rarely documented.

The result in some cases are pseudo-poetic actions against society. Mostly just unjustifiable examples of degenerative behavior, but calculated to the point of eerie precision. It’s energy that could otherwise be used to rebuild bridges and update all realms of our failing infrastructure, but is instead wasted in the execution of childish criminal behavior.

The only solution is to put these kids to work. Not all of them will go along with it, but that was always going to be the case. We need to worry about the young minds out there with potential and no ability to exercise it effectively. Its this group that turns the ordinary band of four Saturday night hooligans into a flash mob of 30. Take them out of the criminal equation and into employment and an enormous amount of this nonsense will disappear.

In the meantime, get used to flash mobs, because they seem to be popping up everywhere that jobs aren’t.

The preceding was a guest post written by Brandy O. and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Kwan or Beyond the Rhetoric.