The Fire This Time
"You've damaged your own race," said Mayor Michael Nutter to the black youths of Philadelphia whose flash mobs have been beating and robbing shoppers in the fashionable district of downtown.
"Take those God-darn hoodies down," the mayor went on in his blistering lecture. "Pull your pants up and buy a belt, 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt."
And the mayor had some advice for teenagers looking for work.
"You walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back and your shoes untied and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you?"
"They don't hire you 'cause you look like you're crazy."
Nutter is African-American and the first leader to speak out about the racial character of the flash mobs attacking people in one American city after another. And where are our other leaders?
At the Iowa State Fair last August, black thugs beat a white man so savagely he was hospitalized. Police only began to look into the possibility of a racial attack and hate crime after fair-goers said the thugs were calling it "Beat Whitey Night."
After Memorial Day, Chicago cops had to close a beach when a flash mob formed, attacked people and knocked cyclists off bikes.
In Miami Beach, there were beatings and shootings that same weekend. In D.C., flash mobs of black youths have turned up a half-dozen times in stores to loot clothes and merchandise and flee.
The media almost never identify the race of the thugs. Their reticence would disappear were a white mob in some Southern city to be caught beating up on black shoppers at a mall.
But the flash mob scourge hitting U.S. cities has been eclipsed by the pillaging and burning of London and other British cities in the worst violence visited on that nation and its capital since Goering's Luftwaffe executed the "Blitz."
Thousands of hoodlums, thugs and criminals have firebombed buildings, looted stores and stripped, beaten and robbed people for no reason other than that they were white.
Overwhelmed cops virtually surrendered the city for three days. By the fourth night, the rampage had taken on a multiethnic caste as Asians and white trash appeared to join in the festival of criminality.
Asian and black store owners, too, are victims. In Birmingham, three Pakistani men defending their neighborhood were run over and killed by a truck reportedly driven by a black rioter.
In a country-and-gospel tune recalled often in the '60s, the one that gave James Baldwin the title of his polemic, this couplet appears:
God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water, the fire next time.
A half-century after the long hot summers of the 1960s and two decades after the worst riot in U.S. history since the New York draft riots of 1863 -- the Los Angeles riot of 1992, in which blacks and Hispanics attacked Koreans and whites -- the "next time" may have arrived.
In Europe, the harbinger of the new century came a half-decade ago when North African youths in the Paris banlieues went on a days-long rampage of firebombing cars and attacking police and firemen, many of whom drove off and let the fires burn out.
This week, it was London's turn. And when the fires burn out, we shall hear anew the old liberal litany about poverty, despair, inequality and unemployment, the excuses that long ago ceased to persuade.
For poverty existed in far greater measure in the Depression. Yet our parents and grandparents did not form mobs to burn, beat and loot.
The West is in decline because the character of its people is in decline. In Europe, Christianity is dead. The moral code it gave men to live righteously is regarded with mockery. The London riots were the work of moral barbarians with no loyalty to the people in whose midst they live and no love for the society to which they give nothing, only take.
In America, millions of fatherless young seek out in gangs the familial ties they never knew. Those gangs are now almost always formed on the basis of ethnicity or race.
What were the British thinking when they threw open their doors to mass immigration from the Third World?
Over centuries, they had failed to assimilate a few million Irish, who were European Christians. So, having failed to assimilate the Irish, they decided to invite in millions of Hindus and Muslims from South Asia, Arabs from the Middle East, Africans from the sub-Sahara, black folks from the Caribbean.
But with no common faith or culture to hold the nation together, Britain is coming apart. Multiculturalism has "utterly failed," said Germany's Angela Merkel, only to be echoed by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron.
Is multiculturalism a success here? Or does the sudden eruption of flash mobs suggest that the curtain has begun to be pulled back on diversity's dark side here in America?