Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Mob Rules

The Boston Celtics Victory in the NBA Finals was yet another notch in the collective belt for New England sports fans. Over twenty years in the making, congratulations are due to both the team and the entire Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Northern Connecticut, and Vermont corridor, because any team from Boston really represents all of those states.

That being said however, it should be pointed out that once again, the mob took over the celebrations, and although no one was truly hurt or killed, there were the usual suspects throwing bottles at police, bricks at the Lakers' bus, and generally causing mayhem. Chants of "Yankees suck" were the anthem of the moment, although I'm not sure what the Yankees did to try to aid the Lakers in their endeavor. Thankfully police were prepared and put an end to the breaking of windows and other such hooliganism quickly.

But there are many an occasion where the police aren't on the scene enmasse' before an incident occurs, and things quickly spiral out of control when a mob forms. In those instances the mob takes over, and their targets can be anyone from a perceived criminal to doctors and lawyers, to even the police themselves. Lives are lost, property destroyed, people injured and fear permeates the air. Costs for such violence can run into millions of dollars, and just a sampling of some recent episodes shows just how quickly a mob mentality can take hold.

A popular bar called 'The Wall' in Seattle's White Center was the location recently wherein a man was beaten and stabbed by a mob of strangers for no apparent reason other than he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A group of revelers were leaving the bar when several of them lashed out at the unidentified man for no reason, beating him and stabbing him several times. When a couple of onlookers tried to intercede, they too were beaten back. After 100 stitches, the man now says he just wants to forget the whole thing.

In San Rafael, California, a group of 10 teenage girls lie in wait for another 16 year old girl as she exited a farmer's market. They beat her to the ground, kicking her repeatedly in the face until she was a bloody pulp. The alleged reason for the attack was that the 16 year old had 'ratted' out a 19 year old man who the girl said was having sex with a 13 year old girl. The man was arrested for all sorts of sexual misconduct charges and is awaiting trial, one piece of evidence against him being a MySpace photograph that shows him kissing the 13 year old. Police suspect that it was actually the 13 year old girl in the photo who arranged for the mob beating of the 16 year old.

Detroit police are looking for a mob of up to 30 men who are going around and jumping people for no reason. Their most recent violent act has landed a young man in the Mt. Clemens Medical Center after the mob stood in the street blocking traffic, and when the young man got out of his car to ask what the problem was, they began throwing bricks and rocks at the car, then beat him half to death. In serious condition, his passenger was less seriously hurt, but attacked nonetheless. It was the third such attack in the space of one weekend for this group of riff raff.

Although no one died in the above incidents, it could have been much worse. In Kolkata , India, at the Barrackpore Regional Hospital, several doctors ended up being their own patients following the mob storming of the medical center by what officials say was at least 100 people following the death of a patient there. The mob believed that the doctors were negligent in allowing for the death of the patient and decided to give them a dose of their own medicine.

A gathering of people beat a man to death in Johannesburg after the man stabbed a police officer and another person during an altercation. Using heavy sticks and stones, they first beat the man to the ground, stoning him to death afterwards. Out of the entire mob, only four men were arrested for murder.

In Zimbabwe, the criminal regime of Robert Mugabe has allowed and orchestrated massive incidents of mob violence against his detractors. Seeking to hold on to power in whatever way he can, he has sent goon squads, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, to attack meetings of opposition leaders. The most recent murder and mayhem party took the lives of several Movement For Democratic Change members, one who was beaten to death while his brother hid in a nearby out house listening to the mob crush him with logs. Daring not to make a sound while his brother cried out for mercy, the man had to stay where he was, lest he also suffer the same fate. Later that night, the same mob of about 300 men cut the genitals off of one activist, buried an axe in the head of another, and executed two more with gunshots to the head.

The tables turned on alleged corrupt officials in Moquegua, Peru recently when a mob of up to 20,000 protesters overwhelmed riot police and took 60 police officers, as well as their commanding officer hostage, saying they were not going to be released until a deal was struck that fairly distributed the wealth being obtained from local mining operations. The protesters complain that between the corporations, the public officials, and the pay offs to police, there is nothing left for the workers, who say they sometimes go hungry due to the extremely poor pay. If they get paid at all.

While we here in the United States like to think of ourselves as a 'law and order' type of nation where nothing of this last sort of incident could occur, we delude ourselves with this naive sleep walk mentality. Drill for more oil cries a President who has run the American people ragged with lies, distortions, blame everyone but himself hooliganistic running of the White House. A President who allowed his corporate friends to rape the economies of the United States and Iraq and Afghanistan. We deal with a Congress that gives shelter to criminals and succors them, inflaming the passions of many law abiding citizens. No longer concerned with what the People think or want, only Kucinich and Friedman having the guts to attempt to navigate the ship towards shore, the politicians are blind to the rising anger and the stirrings of discontent. But they should take a look at a few examples of how situations can spiral out of control in an instant, and think not to hide themselves behind threats of force against the population. Because the truth of strength in numbers has been forever evident, and in the end, the mob rules.

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