On August 8, 2011, Mayor Michael Nutter imposed a 9 PM curfew for all persons under the age of eighteen. Many are opposed to this idea, but not for reasons that would typically come to mind. On philadelphia.cbslocal.com readers are allowed to comment on recent articles, including those concerning the recent curfew.
One person said, “the government shouldn’t have to play the role of parent and police. These black kids are coddled by their black leaders and communities and it’s time to stop… These black kids just grab whatever they want… I say for everyone downtown to carry tasers and give them a little taste of people standing up for themselves.” Another went as far as to say, “here’s how you deal with it: send in the national guard and just give the shoot first ask questions later command; end of flash mob and save on welfare and food stamps.”
The worst thing about this situation on the web is that out of roughly three hundred comments, maybe ten of them took a stance that either stood up for the mayor, or the kids involved in these crimes.
The recent curfew that has been imposed on the Center City and University City areas of Philadelphia has been described as practical but temporary. This curfew was enacted because of recent and harmful flash mobs.
Flash mobs are predetermined meetings between people to perform an agreed upon act. Flash mobs can be “bad” or “good”. In this case however, these Philadelphia flash mobs have caused injury to more than a few people.
The last one, occurring on July 29, involved around twenty to thirty teenagers. Four people were beaten and robbed during this incident and one was hospitalized afterwards. Four of the attackers were arrested, including an 11-year old. Almost all of these “flash mobbers” have been identified as African American.
As seen above, many people commenting on an article written by the local paper on August 8, were seemingly opposed to the curfew, but only because they believed citizens should take the law into their own hands. Numerous people recommended shooting the kids involved in these mobs. Others referred to these children by using derogatory names and a good amount of people commenting on this article felt that the teenagers participating in these flash mobs are nothing but “thugs”.
Reading some of these comments further reinforced my opinion that this 9 PM curfew is completely necessary for Philadelphia and any other city where violence has escalated to such a height. Not only is it important to prevent any harm that could be caused by these organized flash mobbers, but to prevent any harm that could be done to African American teenagers in fear of another flash mob.
Just as society has seen in a case such as the Japanese internment in WWII, innocent people could also be put to blame for the actions of their race. To this day, the internment camps in WWII are an incident that America has come to be deeply ashamed of. The attitudes towards African American teenagers in Philadelphia seem to have a few parallels to the attitudes of many Americans living in the U.S. in the early 1940s.
In Philadelphia there seems to be way too many self righteous vigilantes, who obviously believe in the saying, “an eye for an eye.” Well maybe they haven’t heard about another saying, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Sure, these children should have serious consequences for their actions, but by enforcing a curfew, these flash mobs can be stopped before they happen. This eliminates violence on both sides.
The government has not only a right to enforce a curfew for teens, but also a duty to in circumstances such as these. Hopefully, Philadelphia will see a decrease in violence and skeptics will be silenced.