“Bash Mobs” in Southern California and Why This is Happening

Originating in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, “bash mobs” have made their turbulent way to Southern California. Violent, organized groups of up to a hundred people have been causing chaos in South LA, Hollywood, San Bernardino, Victorville and Long Beach. These individuals (mostly teenagers) have been attacking people on the street, disrupting businesses and stealing. A “bash mob” was organized to hit Long Beach again this last Friday, but fortunately, it failed to materialize. Nonetheless, stores equipped themselves with extra security and police warned residents about the potential of an attack.

This last Monday, a group of people who were part of a Trayvon Martin prayer vigil broke away and booked it to a Wal-Mart where they destroyed merchandise and tried to steal jewelry from behind a glass case. The next night in Hollywood, a mob took over Hollywood Boulevard to steal phones, scare tourists and vandalize buildings. On Wednesday, 17 people were arrested after a “bash mob” attempted to cause a scene at the Mall of Victor Valley.

These “bash mobs” are most likely in response to the Trayvon Martin case. There have already been protests in Los Angeles and Oakland, where two dozen protesters were arrested. Thousands are still extremely angry about the verdict; George Zimmerman was found “not guilty” of murdering Trayvon Martin, and it’s not a surprise that individuals are taking it in their own hands to create a violent, political statement.

In 1992, Southern California similarly experience social turmoil when Rodney King faced unjust police brutality after a high-speed chase. The four LAPD officers who almost beat King to death did not face any charges, thus violent riots emerged in LA. that highlighted corruption within the judicial system, racism and social inequalities.

Meanwhile, peaceful protesters gathered around the Long Beach courthouse. They are completely unrelated to the efforts to terrorize the city. In fact, some of the organizers of the protest were angry that individuals were taking it this far. “We can have a protest without a riot, and without vandalizing our community,” Paris Gilder, a Long Beach resident said. She also stated that “all the bash mob is doing is tearing down our community,” inferring that political statements can be made without chaos.

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