Chicago’s “Flash Mob” Violence

The big news in Chicago over the weekend was the several incidents of mob attacks that occurred in the city on Saturday and Sunday:

A 27-year-old woman said she was returning home with her mother Saturday night on the Red Line after a dim sum dinner when a group of girls got on the train at the Monroe station and appeared to want to pick a fight.

“This girl started blowing smoke in my face, and she flicked her cigarette ashes at me,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. “I said: ‘You need to put that out,’ and the next thing I know there’s all these girls that jumped on top of us.”

They began punching her face and then went for her hair. She believes their attackers had knives or box cutters and padlocks possibly placed inside socks.

“I put my head down between my legs so they would stop beating me in the face, but they were trying to pull my face up and hit me more,” she said. “They ripped out chunks of my hair, and I’ve got a black eye and bruises on my face, and all over my back and shoulder.”

The 11 teenagers arrested in that incident at the CTA’s State/Lake station in the Loop about 6:35 p.m. were among a total of 28 people arrested downtown Saturday night for disturbances that ranged from bumping into passers-by on sidewalks to the attack on the CTA train, authorities said.

The attacks that took place on Saturday were said to have involved as many as 500 people:

Seventeen arrests were made after officers arrived near Chicago and Michigan about 6 p.m. Saturday to find “a number of kids fighting amongst themselves,” Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said.

Marquell Hicks, 18, of the 3200 block of West Diversey, and Bobby K. Rhodes, 19, of the 1100 block of North Cambridge, were each charged with one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct, police said. So were 15 additional juveniles.

Meanwhile, police said Stephanie M. Hosch, 18, of the 1300 block of North Central, and 10 juveniles attacked a group of women aboard a CTA Red Line train about 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Hosch and the juveniles were each charged with battery. Two juveniles also were charged with strong-arm robbery, police said.

In related news Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been promoting Chicago as a tourist destination. I’m sure that these attacks, on top of the widely-publicized homicide rate, will do wonders for Chicago tourism. Maybe a thrill-seekers’ package: visit Chicago, then tour Egypt.

I’m surprised that the conspiracy angle of this story isn’t getting more attention. It’s being said that the young people involved in these attacks organized their group efforts through Facebook. If so, there are records that can be subpoenaed and, if it can be determined that they were planning criminal action, it doesn’t make much difference who was throwing the punches. Even Facebook could get involved. Think that what you don’t know can’t hurt you? Consider the case of Alfred Anaya. I wonder how far that line of thinking can be pushed?

54 comments… add one
  • Icepick

    visit Chicago, then tour Egypt.

    Only if the tour ends with a trip to Syria. The first two locations just aren’t that exciting.

  • michael reynolds

    Please have all this hooliganism cleaned up by the time we arrive in Chicago end of June.

  • sam

    Shades of A Clockwork Orange.

  • PD Shaw

    “near Chicago and Michigan about 6 p.m. Saturday,” I would expect a lot of tourists around that area; there certainly were last summer when my family walked down Michigan Ave. at about that same time, if not a little later to avoid the heat. I felt completely safe. I seem to recall a similar post from Dave about a year ago.

  • Icepick

    The Clockwork Orange reference occurred to someone commenting on a report by a local Chicago news source yesterday. That led someone else to mention that they had never seen ACO until just a few days ago. They had avoided it because by reputation is was very strange and very disturbing. But when they finally got around to watching it, it just didn’t seem all that weird to them. Times change….

  • steve

    Chicago is a good city to visit. Hope this doesnt keep up.


  • Drew

    “I seem to recall a similar post from Dave about a year ago.”

    That’s because it also happened about a year ago. For those who don’t know Chicago, the events happened at the equivalent of Madison Ave in NY and two bolcks east of Wall Street.

    I see know one want to touch the third rail.

  • Drew

    I’m “wedging in” this issue here (sort of like I have 3 yards left of the pin and have to wedge it in, or run off into a bunker.

    I do this on this post simply because its new. But Dave blogs on AGW and energy policy all the time. And I often comment on how Obama spends our precious govt resources.

    The link is about a story that I have seen 4-5 times in various versions in the past couple days. One should just go to The Economist. I linked to this one because its a balanced statement.

    The United Sates has a GDP issue. It has an employment issue. Because it spends like an alcoholic drinks, it has a tax revenue and borrowing issue. As such, one would be well advised to not piss in the wind, like the environmentalists.

    If you read the recent data and reports on AGW you will see that even the ardent supporters are having an “awe shit” moment, as time passes and the data diverge from the theory and models. They can’t explain it. If you have a scientific mind, you know this is just what I said, an “awe shit” moment.

    Now let’s be clear. AGW is not now out the window. Its just what I have said over, and over, and over, and over again: the data is flawed, the scientific process has been corrupted, the science is not even close to being settled. And even if there is some truth, its probably a second or third order effect, or at best, this issue is far more attenuated than the hystericals would want you to believe. Sorry, “Lying Al.” As a final note, how could anyone doubt me about the real motivations given such an admission my the scientific community most “all in” on this. Its not the environment the politicians care about. Its reg, reg, reg, tax, tax, tax.

    I suppose as the final, final note………don’t expect to hear much about this on MSNBC, CBS, NBC, the NYT etc…………..or in a speech by Obama in front of his Solyndra doners. I’m not sayin’……I’m just sayin’……

  • Icepick

    I see know one want to touch the third rail.

    Why bother?

  • Drew


    You ought to know me well enough by now. If you cannot acknowledge, debate and deal with the truth, and reality, you have little chance of actually debating and changing it.

    Nicey-nice is for mushrooms who just want to live in the forest and collect rainfall and……

  • steve

    Read the Economist article. Nothing new. The last IPCC report said we dont understand what clouds do. It looks like we still don’t.

    And, just for you. You have convinced me that sometimes the capital gains rate should be very low, maybe even zero, but I still dont think all cap gains are equal. S=I supposedly, but not all I’s are equal for the same amount of S. That has always seemed pretty obvious to me, but not to others. Waldman does a nice job of explaining.


  • You have convinced me that sometimes the capital gains rate should be very low, maybe even zero

    The widely accepted formal result is that the optimal rate for a capitals gains, real estate, and estate tax is zero.

    “Widely accepted” but not universally accepted. A dissenting report was published not long ago by a couple of reasonably well-respected economists.

  • sam

    “reasonably well-respected economists”


  • sam

    Maybe I should explain that ‘Heh’. It reminded of Noel Coward.

    Imperious director to actress: “I deeply respect almost everything you’ve ever done.”

  • I consider that a compliment. It’s related to something a limey friend of mine once said: “You understate to a greater degree than anybody who’s not actually English.”

  • michael reynolds

    Actually the wilding story looks like less and less. Two or three separate incidents — an attack on a bus, a robbery, and two groups of punks fighting amongst themselves on the Mag Mile resulting in no damage to civilians.

    So, yes, we should absolutely address Drew’s Third Rail, by which of course he and Ice mean: race. Here’s the vital issue: what is it with black street gangs that they can’t even manage to kill a single innocent person when one white man can kill 27 children and teachers in 5 minutes? Come on, supposedly 500 (or it is five thousand by now?) wild gangbangers and no deaths?

    I mean, what’s up with that?

  • steve

    “The widely accepted formal result is that the optimal rate for a capitals gains, real estate, and estate tax is zero.”

    That belief rests largely on Chamley-Judd, which Waldman does a nice job of taking apart. Yet another model that is set up to reach a wanted conclusion. He makes a good case for human and institutional capital.


  • steve

    “Come on, supposedly 500 (or it is five thousand by now?) wild gangbangers and no deaths?”

    Chicago has gun control?


  • The group of girls, engaged in by far the worse infractions, do not appear to have been black.

  • At the risk of sounding racist myself, my experience has been that white folks very frequently have trouble distinguishing between young black men being boisterous and being dangerous.

  • roadgeek

    “…At the risk of sounding racist myself, my experience has been that white folks very frequently have trouble distinguishing between young black men being boisterous and being dangerous….”

    I live in a city with a fairly low percentage of blacks, Austin, and thus have never had to learn the difference between blacks being boisterous and blacks being dangerous. Why should I have to learn such a thing? I don’t have to worry about young white men, or young Asian men, or young Hispanic men, so why should I have to learn this vital life skill as regards blacks? Why can’t young black men simply behave in a sociable manner, without scaring other people? Are we to assume that we need a different set of standards for black youth?

    I don’t care if I sound racist or not. I’m through with worrying about how others perceive me. My wife, a native of Chicago, is very sad at what she sees happening to her hometown. She also states that the behavior of blacks in Chicago explains why people pay property taxes of $20,000 or more annually to live in a modest home in Elmhurst. She mentioned this AM that downtown Chicago used to be safe; she used to go downtown with her family to see the Christmas lights and the window displays at Field’s. She says she wouldn’t contemplate such a thing today.

    I mentioned the percentage of blacks in a city which tends to alter the experience of living in that city; I consider the critical mass to be 15%. Austin has 8%, and that number is dropping as they disperse to the suburbs. My wife and I have discussed this at length as we contemplate retirement, and we will not retire to a town or city with a population more than 15% black. We’d prefer to live where the schools work, where violent crime is low and where government is honest. Can any of that honestly be said of Chicago, with a 33% black population?

  • PD Shaw

    I looked up the address of one of the non-minor perps earlier, and it was in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, about six blocks east of Oak Park. From google streetview, it looked like an honest working class block. I admit that I’m easily taken by the sight of flowers and perennials in a modest, but well-kept front yard, it shows a homeowner that cares. No boarded windows or abandoned-lookign cars. I’m thinking less grinding poverty, than Clockwork Orange myself.

  • michael reynolds


    Virginia: 20% black, 4.7% murder rate.
    West Virginia: 3.5% black, 4.9% murder rate.
    Essentially identical murder rates but one state has five times the percentage of African-Americans.

    California: 7% black, 5.4% murder rate.
    New Mexico: 3% black, 10% murder rate.
    Twice as likely to be murdered in New Mexico as California, though there’s half the percentage of African Americans.

    You prefer metro areas? Okay:
    Charlotte, NC: 24% black, 7% murder rate.
    Minneapolis, MN: 7.4% black, 8.3% murder rate.
    Three times the percentage of black people, lower murder rate.

    Yes, you’re a racist. Or maybe like Drew you just can’t see past anything that fits your preconceptions. You see what you intend to see, the things that validate your prejudices and self-image.

    No one doubts there’s a problem with crime in the African-American population, but if your rather bizarre 15% notion were true you’d see clear correlation, and you don’t. There are too many cases — the above took me maybe 10 minutes — where the correlation simply does not exist. But you see what you need to see and look no further.

    It’s attitudes like yours that cause panics like the one in Chicago, or the famous “wilding” case in New York that resulted in five innocent black kids spending 12 years in prison. In that case there was no wilding. No black gang of feral kids. There was one, single rapist who police could easily have apprehended had they not been mesmerized by wondrous tales of savage gangs of black teens. The actual rapist struck again, incidentally, while the innocent kids served time.

  • michael reynolds

    You want to find a demographic to fear? It’s pretty clear: males. We are 10 times more likely to commit violent crimes. And that holds up across all states, all cities, all classes, all races. The problem is us. Men. White, black, asian, latino. Men. People with testicles.

    So why divide people arbitrarily by skin pigmentation? Because it gives you an advantage. It gives you a sense of superiority and real power. Divide us up by gender and suddenly you are the disease, and you won’t like that so much will you?

  • Icepick

    Hmm, I wonder if one of the arbitrary skin pigmentation groups with testicles are more or less dangerous than other arbitrary skin pigmentation groups with testicles. If only there were some way to figure it out.

    From the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008.

    Homicide rate per 100,000 population

    White: 4.5
    Black: 34.4
    Other: 4.1

    *Other race includes American Indians, Native Alaskans, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

    The BJS is part of the federal DOJ, BTW.

    Surely only an arbitrary distinction. Note that Hispanics appear to be lumped into the “White” category although BJS stats have frequently been unclear on this distinction.

    And just to pick nits, men are about 8.9 times more likely to commit murder than women. The arbitrary skin pigmentation group called “Black” is about 7.6 times more likely to murder someone than the arbitrary skin pigmentation group “White”.

    So the sex divide of “Male”/”Female” is about 16% greater than the “Black”/”White” divide. Clearly we should focus entirely on the one and completely ignore the other.

    Oh, I forgot to include the “Male” & “Female” stats. Again, this is the offender rate per 100,000 of population:

    Male 15.1
    Female 1.7

    Male offenders occur at about 15.1 per 100,000.
    Black offenders occur at about 34.4 per 100,000.

    For the record, 34.4 is more than twice as much as 15.1.

    Please tell me again about arbitrary distinctions and exactly who is the problem.

  • Icepick

    Also, please tell me again about arguing from preconceived notions when it turns out someone who is “Black” is more than twice as likely to commit homicide than a random “Male”. After all, you were just arguing that fearing people based on race makes no sense but fearing them based on gender does. The stats would argue otherwise.

  • Icepick

    I should note further that the statistics overall make for an extremely stark picture when using combinations of sex -AND- gender to determine which groups are more or less potentially threatening.

  • Icepick

    And just for the sake of completeness, I’m pulling the above from Table 1. Victims and Offenders by Demographic Group, 1980-2008. That’s filename htus8008t01.csv in the zipped file.

  • Returning to an earlier post of mine and also using Justice Department figures, the homicide rate among rural blacks much more closely approximates that among rural whites than does the homicide rate for urban blacks. And much of urban crime is black-on-black.

    So, let’s go back to the point I was trying to make in my previous comment but be more pointed about it. The fears of white folks about being robbed, beaten, or killed by young, black men are wildly overblown. When white folks see a group of black kids horsing around, they’re afraid. In fairness, Jesse Jackson has said that he’s afraid, too. But statistically he’s got a lot more reason to be.

    As I said in that earlier post, the problem is gangs. Some think that the gangs will vanish if Schedule drugs are legalized. I don’t. I think it’s a public safety and rule of law issue. The white man’s law doesn’t protect black people. And the Jon Burge case underscores why black folk don’t rely on the police.

  • sam

    Something to think about is this:

    Kevin Drum, America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead

    The article is based on some solid research. It’s worth a look.

  • Steve

    I do t think all of the crime goes away if we legalize drugs, but a lot does. When we repealed Prohibition it dropped. The organized “business” killings would go away. Note that this would take time. Human capital matters.


  • michael reynolds


    As Dave points out you personally have very little to fear from African-Americans. If you’re ever murdered it’s likely to be by a white guy. Right? But there you are, straining to make the race case. Why is that? Because you’re so worried that black males prey on other black males?

    Race itself is an arbitrary distinction. It’s a made-up category. We could as easily decide to divide society by hair color, eye color, height, weight, degree of body hair, blood type, etc… Sex is actually real. There are clear and meaningful differences between genders. But of course you dismiss that. Of course you do. Because it makes you and me the problem and not some “other.”

    You need a lot of “other” Ice. Rage-o-holics always do.

  • Drew


    You poor, demented soul. In fact I did not mean “black.” But it is insructive to witness your reflexive response. I meant underclass. In case you hadn’t noticed, that includes, Latino, white (ever heard of Mayor Daley’s original neighborhood?), Russian, Polish…………

    Just underclass. It has become fashionable to separate “the 1%” vs “the poor,” and make excuses for any anti-social behavior of “the poor.” Its pure BS.

    They were described as “mischievious youths” on WGN TV here. They were no such thing. They were thugs, malcontents, brats, lawbreakers.

    I could get mugged by any of the ethnic groups, plus others, depending on where they came from and decided to descend upon Chicago’s elite areas.

    Why you insist upon making yourself so shallow and cheap at times is interesting. Oh, wait. Liberal. Never mind.

  • Icepick

    As Dave points out you personally have very little to fear from African-Americans. If you’re ever murdered it’s likely to be by a white guy.

    Hmm, let me think about this.

    I live in a predominantly black neighborhood.

    The house next door is empty, and local gangs have started putting their marks on it. (The bank that owns it keeps painting over them, thank God.)

    The house I’m living in was invaded by three or four large black men that lived in the neighborhood just a few years ago. Fortunately no one was hurt.

    Meanwhile, the park I take my daughter to has a mix of races, but whites form a solid majority. The moms hanging out with their six year-olds don’t look terribly dangerous, but I’ll make certain to not turn my backs on them. Meanwhile I’ll cancel the alarm service and start making a show of keeping all my windows open and doors unlocked at the homestead. Because black people would never ever hurt me or mine.

  • Drew


    “it was in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, about six blocks east of Oak Park…………..From google streetview, it looked like an honest working class block.”

    Uh, er. I have a friend who lives on about if not the most eastern N/S street in Oak Park: Ridgefield. Austin? Honest working class? Not so much. Austin, Lawndale etc make it on the news alot. And not because of the girl scout cake sales…..

  • PD Shaw

    Drew, I simply looked at the 1300 block of North Central on Google, wandered up and down the street from the comfort of my office, and wrote what I saw. It doesn’t look anything like the neighborhoods around the old Cabrini Green and it doesn’t look at all like the neighborhoods I went through coming home from the Museum of Science Industry last year, heading West-by-Southwest.

    And I’m a sucker for flowers and plants, it means somebody cares enough to invest the time and energy for something for others.

  • TastyBits


    I would suggest that knowing the difference between potentially violent vs. potentially non-violent behavior is a skill you can use world-wide. Predatory behavior is the same in every major city in the world, and you do not need to speak the language. (Being able to distinguish when falling down drunk is a plus.)

    If I were a black person, I would want to know why I have to know if I scare you. Perhaps, you should get out the house more. The world is a lot bigger than the few blocks and people you are familiar with.

    Young white males scare me. They are unpredictable. Many were raised with the notion that the world consists of rainbows and lollipops. When they learn the cold hard truth, they cannot cope, and bad shit usually happens. The “everybody is a winner” notion is another aspect of the problem.

    I will assume that you are not a racist but that you are ignorant, and your ignorance causes your bigotry. You are describing “white flight”, and I do not label that as racist. A lot of the problems are caused because of the “War on Poverty” and the “War on Drugs”. These two have created cesspools at the bottom, and people become trapped like in a tar pit.

    There is also “black flight” out of these areas also, and many of the black folks you meet will have moved for similar reasons.

    I know a lot of people like you. I try to educate them, but it is difficult. You have seen similar boisterous behavior among white people, but you do not notice. At any gathering of males, there will be lots of aggressive behavior, and it will lead to aggressive actions. Males tend to engage in many contests to determine who is able to withstand the most physical pain.

    The “other” crap has been thrown into the discussion. This is an explanation by people who do not know and do not want to know why one group has a problem with another group. Their science is crap also. It is easier to create some “theory”.

    Until your concerns are understood and addressed, nothing will change. If you are like most white folks I know, you are not a racist, and calling you a racist is not going to make anything better. I can assure you that things white folks do are baffling to black folks.

    The greater problem is that the police are not able to distinguish the different behavior. A black male is assumed to be threatening, and too often, the result is a dead black male. In your case, the result is usually hurt feelings.

  • jan

    It’s too bad we just couldn’t change the ‘colors’ of all human beings to a single shade — let’s say lavender. People then, would just be a universal people — boring, yes, but decreasing inflammatory labeling — by not wearing a distinguishing exterior pigment, which, if containing too much (or too little) melanin, becomes an easy target for political exploitation and manipulation. In this way we could dramatically reduce the usage of the word racist, substituting in it’s place perhaps performist, as actions and behavior would be the primary screen for observation and judgments of others.

    For instance, when a gang of people, all lavender colored, were involved in terrorizing someone, social commentators would have to dig further for a cause and effect, other than provoking the old racial battleground rhetoric. Maybe people might even examine Sam’s Mother Jones’ article, regarding lead and crime, more closely. Who knows? But, color would definitely be a muted variable, if not off the table altogether, while other human merits and demerits would be higher up in the frontal lobe of humanity as to why some people negatively act out and others don’t.

  • steve

    @jan- We always have religion.


  • Icepick

    Drew, see why I said “Why bother?” Reynolds makes factually untrue statements that match up with HIS preconceived notions, and when called on it he claims that the facts don’t matter. There’s no point in arguing about it at all. Liberals just don’t give a fuck about black people killing each other (or anyone else so long as it isn’t one of the elite liberal ruling class) so long as they keep voting for the Dems. They don’t care about blacks except as a voting block and something to use as a moral crusade against other whites.

    (For example note that the likelihood of Reynolds moving into a black neighborhood now is zero . Typical for well-off liberals.)

    Last night I eyeballed some of the homicide stats on men by race. Black men are about 8 times more dangerous than white males when it comes to committing homicide. That’s largely true across age groups, though there’s some variance from age group to age group.

    Libs don’t really care about this, as I said, because all their “caring” is really just about getting their guys in office. If they did care they’d actually want to do something about it, or at least acknowledge that a problem exists, instead of arguing endlessly that race doesn’t exist. Since “race” doesn’t exist, there can’t be a problem with the “black” “race” and homicide rates – that’s just some arbitrary racist distinction, man! Problem solved. Just ignore the dead bodies piling up, that’s just your racist-hick-Klansman imagination running wild.

    (As an aside, how there can be racists if race doesn’t really exist eludes me.)

    I heard that Bob Johnson stepped in it a little last week when he said something to the effect that the nation wouldn’t tolerate white unemployment being as high as black unemployment is right now. No shit, Bob! No one cares because everyone knows that black people will only vote for Democrats no matter what. UE got worse under Obama and blacks still voted for him overwhelmingly. Black unemployment could hit 100% and Dems would still get 90+ % of the black vote. Look at Detroit for a case study of how that works.

    Until blacks decide that they actually give a shit about their problems and vote accordingly (that doesn’t necessarily mean voting Republican, because they don’t give a shit either, but it sure as Hell means not voting for the Democrats anymore) no one is going to give one thought to what’s going wrong in the black community. But please, keep voting for the guys that deny there is a problem with violence or poverty or family breakdown or the economy in the black community because race doesn’t really exist and their guy is running a B+ economy. I mean really, the stock market is soaring, so all you stupid Negros just shut the fuck up already. They’ll tell you when they need your vote. If you vote Democratic enough times in a row you’re bound to get different results eventually!

  • Drew


    I used to live two blocks from Cabrini. You know what they called the area? “The Gold Coast!”

    Back in the day you could hear the gun shots. That’s city living. Two blocks is an eternity.

    Cabrini is gone. The people disbursed to Section 8 housing all over the metro area. Just trust me here. Austin isn’t gods country…….

  • PD Shaw

    One of my partners is back from a long weekend in Chicago, stayed a couple blocks from some of these events, and he’s not concerned about ever going back with his family. Neither am I.

    But he noted what I’ve noticed — Chicago is an expensive place to take a family and the city tries as hard as any city to tax or structure admission prices to hit tourists. I commented last August, that we were spending more on a two-day trip to Chicago than we would on a two-day trip to Walt Disney World if we didn’t count air-fare. But its sounds like the city is looking to raise admission rates again, particularly the Field Museum.

  • PD Shaw

    @Drew, when I was younger and single in the 90s, I visited the area around Lincoln Park a lot, probably almost every New Year’s Eve, and the damn mapping programs always took me past Cabrini. I hated whatever stop sign I met where I would first realize where I was. I’ve seen some studies suggesting that tearing down the projects might have exacerbated Chicago’s problems.

    I poked around some more and saw that Austin had more homicides than any other neighborhood in Chicago last year, so I see your point. But the particular address here on the Northwest side of Austin is in a census tract that shows median household income around $65k, while the southeast tracts of Austin are around $25k.

    My intuition is that use of social-media to organize violence is not the product of poverty, but neighborhoods or families struggling to avoid poverty. The hopelessness of teens.

  • As long as they keep taking guns away from legal gun owners in Chicago. That’s what counts. They have their priorities straight. They aren’t dealing with the core problems.

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