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19 arrested at Chicago mall – where were moms when teen melee shut the mall?

19 arrested at Chicago mall in teen melee after the sweet, but unfortunately named, boy band “Mindless Behavior” brought a  teen crowd together. Mob mentality might have been prevented if the "Mom's Taxi" brigade had been waiting out in the parking lot.

By Lisa SuhayCorrespondent / February 25, 2013

Some 200 teens rioted at the Ford City Mall in Chicago after a fight between two boys escalated.

Norfolk, Virg.

A boy band performs, a music-driven teen powder keg explodes into violence and mayhem, the date is March 17, 1968, the place London's Grosvenor Square and the band is The Rolling Stones protesting the Vietnam war. That was not what happened in a Chicago mall Feb. 23 when the sweet, but unfortunately named boy band “Mindless Behavior” brought together a lot of teens who ended up in a demonstration of primal mob mentality that could have been prevented by “Mom’s Taxi” waiting out in the parking lot.

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Correspondent

Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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When the band is named “Mindless Behavior” it seems like a no-brainer to blame the band for the melee, but my biology professor pal,   Arthur Bowman, from Norfolk (Virg.) State University, explained the Chicago incident as not something caused by thoughts implanted by lyrics, but rather an animal instinct spreading through a crowd of teens, triggered by a fight that had taken place between two boys.

“That’s the nose-brain at work right there.” What he meant was that the teens were giving in to their baser instincts and being ruled by the part of the brain so ancient it uses scent as a trigger for behavior.

I suppose that could be the basis for a new riff on a Nirvana song we could dub, “Smells like teen riot.”

According to the Associated Press, about 200 teens rioted at the Ford City Mall in Chicago after a fight between two boys escalated into a swarm that spilled into the parking lot, wreaking havoc and destruction on anything in its path. Nineteen youths, ages 13 to 18, were arrested, charged with misdemeanor mob action. A 16-year-old is charged with battery of a mall security guard who was trying to evacuate the mall, AP stated.

Ford City Mall senior general manager John Sarama says the incident wasn't related to an appearance by the boy band Mindless Behavior, which ended about 45 minutes earlier, and I completely agree. Just watch any of the videos by the band and all you will come away with is a sticky feeling from the sweet lyrics of teen love and searching for the one who will understand your soul.

However, back in the day when bands worked hard to create public unrest we had Michael Philip (a.k.a. Mick) Jagger, then 24, striding toward the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square tossing musical matches at the teen powder keg with every step he took.

Jagger and the Stones didn’t sing of finding Mrs. Right; the song largely credited with the London riots 40 years ago was “Street Fighting Man.”

Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy

'Cause summer's here and the time is right

for fighting in the street, boy

But what can a poor boy do?

Except to sing for a rock'n'roll band

'Cause in sleepy London town

There's just no place for a street fighting man

Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution

But where I live the game to play is compromise solution

Well then what can a poor boy do

Except to sing for a rock'n'roll band

'Cause in sleepy London town

There's no place for a street fighting man, no

So when parents say “I smell trouble,” there’s reason to pay attention. As parents we need to sniff out the trouble spots and add some prevention to the mix.

It’s hard to attend the events with your teen, but perhaps the knowledge that a parent awaiting in the parking lot (where most of the damage and animal behavior took place) would have short-circuited the riot, looting and arrests.

I know how hard it is to be “Mom’s Taxi Service” but in the cases like these we need to be more nosy about who’s in the parking lot for our teens. I’d rather drive to the mall for a pickup than the police station for a bail out.

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