Excerpt from The Huffington Post: (click for entire article)
The fact that Philadelphia is now in the throes of our second experience with violent teen mobs in two years should surprise no one. What we are seeing is the City of Brotherly Love's version of the events taking place in many cities in England: dispossessed, frustrated, bored kids looking for something to do and a way to express their anger. In a city where our pools barely had funds to open and where rec-center camps and summer schools often lack the funds to keep the lights on and air conditioning running, what is amazing is that the mobs didn't happen sooner and weren't bigger and more destructive.
In Philadelphia, as in Tottenham, Toxteth and Handsworth, we have been here before. The young people who are cast as the folk devils du jour come from the most disadvantaged of backgrounds. Steep budget cuts have pared down education and social services to bare-bones levels. Endemic violence plagues their neighborhoods -- in Philadelphia we average a murder a day and over 1,000 non-fatal shootings annually for the past decade. And most tellingly of all, the gap between haves and have-nots has increased inexorably, condemning many to a marginal, socially isolated and powerless existence.