Many of you have probably heard about the recent spate of crimes that were driven by "flash mobs" organized via social media and mobile devices.
In case you don't know, a flash mob is "a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, or artistic expression."
Interesting that this definition (from Wikipedia) does not (yet) include "for the purpose of committing a crime."
But that, sadly, is just what is happening. In fact, a very high profile case just happened in the very town in which NFI is headquartered, Germantown, MD. CNN.com had front page coverage of the incident here: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/18/flashmobs.police/index.html?hpt=hp_c1
The county where NFI sits, Montgomery County, is, on the whole, a thriving community with great schools and safe neighborhoods. But a gang problem is starting to emerge in communities where rates of father absence are higher. These flash mobs are a symptom of that same trend.
Now, you are going to get all kinds of commentary about these crimes, but, as you can suspect, we here at NFI have a very simple question: where are the dads?
We already know that a disproportionate number of gang members and prisoners are from father-absent homes. This is no different; the youth causing this mayhem lack fatherly guidance at home. Sure there are other factors, but if there were involved, responsible, and committed fathers in these homes, these reckless teens would not be engaging in such senseless acts. In fact, most of the dads I have spoken to would not even let such troubled youth have a private cell phone, let alone use one to organize a crime.
So, is there a "father factor" in flash mob violence? You bet there is.