If you’ve ever been caught in a flash flood, you know how terrifying it can be.
The water rushes in with little to no warning, sweeping you away before help can arrive.
That’s what’s happening with violent mobs across America right now. And before police have even gotten a call, the damage is already done. People are hurt. Robberies have taken place. The footage is already all over social media before they’ve even arrived at the scene.
And there seems to be a growing trend of violent teens being at the center of many of these lawless and violent mobs.
Teenagers involved in crimes is not a new phenomenon. There have been entire studies conducted on teenage brains and crimes. As explained by Crime Traveller:
“Research has shown that a teenager’s brain does not resemble an adult’s fully matured brain until they reach their early 20’s. This means that teenage years are still very much part of their development stages and their behavior during that time can be characterized by impulses, risk-taking, escalating emotions and a lack of thought for consequences.”
This risk-taking and escalated emotional behavior seem to be on the rise- in the wake of social media, multimedia messaging apps, and the world of instant gratification that we live in more aggressive crimes by teens are happening more often.
One instance that LET recently reported about was the story of 16-year-old Khaseen Morris of Long Island, New York. Reports indicate that Khaseen was attacked and stabbed to death by 5 or 6 other teenagers, while at least 70 more stood by idly watching and recording the attack on their cell phones.
As reported by USA Today, Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick explained to reporter on Tuesday that:
“Footage of the incident circulated on Snapchat and other social media platforms. Kids stood here and didn’t help Khaseen. They videoed his death instead of helping him.”
Fitzpatrick went on to further explain that this attack stemmed from Khaseen walking a female of similar age home from school.
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USA today also reported that Khaseen’s sister Keyanna Morris, “that her brother had walked a girl home and had been threatened by the girl’s ex-boyfriend.” Morris explained that her brother wasn’t really fearful of being beat up by the individual that had threatened him, but no one could imagine that it would turn into a mob of students attacking the youth.
Fitzpatrick urged to students and youth in his press conference with media:
“This can’t go on! Your friends are dying while you stand there and video it. This is egregious.”
So why has peer pressure ramped up, and childhood and teenage crimes becoming more aggressive and violent? Is social media to blame? Being able to hide behind the keys of a computer keyboard or the screen of a cell phone and threaten someone has become rampant. Youths across America are using these tools to bully one another, and encourage other youths to get in on the action.
Of course, not wanting to be left out of the in crowd takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to the mob mentality the youths experience. As explained by Crime Traveller:
“This has become an area of interest for researchers; peer influence, attitude toward risk, future orientation and capacity for self-management are all aspects involved in the developing teen and intertwined with their behavior.”
As neuroscientist Frances E Jensen and author of the Teenage Brain has written:
“Very smart adolescents will do very stupid things in a very impulsive way.”
While there are many and more frequent instances of youths recording or live feeding attacks on other youths, it seems that no individual is off limits for these types of attacks. In April of 2019 the Chicago Police Department reported of an attack, beating and possible rape on a 15-year-old girl who has mental disabilities.
The attack was recorded on video and later posted and went viral on Twitter by an unidentified user. Multiple news outlets have reported that:
“The video shows a group of girls swarming and striking the girl repeatedly as onlookers laugh. The girl, who then falls to the ground, cries for help.”
The police department went on to state that the girl had been missing for almost five days before her family reported her missing.
It was reported that a concerned citizen and the victim’s father were the ones who located the victim. She was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries, and explained to police that, she was sexually assaulted off-camera. The police department explained that the girl was coaxed by a group of females she identified as individuals she thought were her friends.
The girl stated that her ‘friends’ told her they would walk with her to the subway station, where she was later jumped and assaulted by them. It was stated that one of the attackers also later published the video recording on Facebook.
The Crime Traveller goes onto further explain regarding the minds of teenagers:
“Criminal behavior from teenagers can range from anti-social behaviors including bullying and making threats to shoplifting and thefts. Some more serious crimes can involve violence from teenagers, physical fighting, and assaults, with statistics indicating other teenagers are more often the victims of teen violence.” The report also goes on to state, “Research suggests the majority of violent crimes committed by young offenders are often against other teenagers and this has been evident in the UK, the United States and other countries across the world.”
However, as we reported earlier this week on LET, teenage violence is not always carried out against just other teenagers. 59-year-old John Weed was at the Great Frederick Fair with family on Friday September 20th, when he was approached by two teenage brothers, age 15 and 16-years-old.
It was originally reported that Weed was attacked by the two brothers in a version of the “knock out” game, but as new video footage and eye witness reports surface, that may not be the case. As if the Knock out game alone wasn’t a ridiculous enough reason to attack someone, it is reported that the teens attacked Weed over a single dollar bill.
CBS Baltimore reported that Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith explained:
“There was some sort of dialogue that ensued after that that made it a negative situation. There was a punch that was delivered to the back of the head by the 16-year-old, at that point in time there was a number of minutes that elapsed after that at which point in time, you all saw the video, the younger 15-year-old came flying through, lands a deadly blow to the victim.”
Smith goes on to further state that one of the teens can be seen punching and spitting on Weed, who never regained consciousness. The video of the attack was posted to social media, and has since gone viral.
With more laws being added to the books that are tying the hands of law enforcement regarding juveniles, and crimes in general, it begs the question, how many more attacks and deaths need to be live streamed or posted to social media apps, before action is taken? Harsher punishment for the suspect? As well as harsher consequences for the media platforms that allow these videos to be posted?
As the list grows for these types of incidents being put online, and copy cats picking up where those videos leave off…where will it end? Will it get worse before it gets better? Or will it really explode when a legally carrying citizen decides that they are their only backup?