Flash Mobs, Auto Insurance, and Johnny Cash

By: Steve Huston

Last Sunday, in Torrance, a Los Angeles suburb, police received reports of “a large crowd of juveniles fighting among themselves.” Police estimate that there were a thousand kids “watching” the upheaval, but no arrests were made, in spite of reports of at least one gunshot.

Just a half hour after the Torrance incident began and roughly 400 miles north, reports started rolling in to the Emeryville Police Department of a large brawl at the Bay Street Mall. Fifty kids were escorted from a store, and not long after, hundreds of kids were gathered at the mall, a gun was fired, and one kid was stabbed nearby.

That two incidents so similar would happen within half an hour of each other, but 400 miles apart, ought to be incredible. Sadly, it’s just another weekend for California’s metropolises.

Two Sundays before on August 13, a group of thieves walked into a crowded Nike store in East LA and calmly walked off with several thousand dollars worth of merchandise. This store is believed to have been hit several times in the last few months with losses of $83,000. On August 12, a mob of 20-50 people helped themselves to $60,000 worth of merchandise at a Nordstrom. That was the second time that particular Nordstrom – Nordstrom’s flagship store – was hit in recent years. They announced this month they’re closing because of the thefts.

Similar incidents happened this month at an Yves Saint Laurent store and a Gucci store in the Los Angeles Area.

It’s happened so much that the LA mayor launched a task force of local and federal agencies to confront the issue.

But it’s not just flash mobs robbing stores and it’s not just in California.

John Sexton reported for HotAir.com that several national companies – Home Depot, Walgreens, Target, Dollar Tree, and Dick’s Sporting Goods – have noted the growth of “shrink” in their industry. Shrink is defined in the article as “the industry term for shoplifting.” Companies like Walgreens and Walmart deal with this issue by enclosing everyday items behind plexiglass.

Late last year, one feminist’s rant went viral upon discovering diapers in a locked enclosure at a Rite Aid in New York City. “just let people steal [them]!” she chastised the store.

But, it’s not just flash mobs and shoplifting that’s on the rise.

Someone close to me who lives in the Detroit metropolitan area recently told me he doesn’t lock his vehicle at night because if someone steals his stuff out of it, he’d rather not have to replace the window as well. This is a common practice in large population centers. Back to Los Angeles for a moment, actor Seth Rogen said in 2021 that his cars have been broken into at least 15 times there and described it as “part of living in the big city.”

Having your property damaged and stolen is just part of living in the big city? Since when? When did we begin expecting our neighbors to steal from us?

Certainly our car insurance companies do. “Motor vehicle thefts are up about 34% during the first half of 2023 compared to the same time frame last year, and they are 104% higher than in the same period in 2019, the year before the pandemic,” the author of the Council on Criminal Justice’s crime trends report tells us. This being true, a Forbes Advisor article tells us, “Auto insurance rates were up 16.9% overall in June from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

The article continues: “Auto insurance premiums are rising for a number of reasons beyond the increase in thefts. In a blog post, the Insurance Information Institute also cites: Increasing accident frequency and severity, More fatalities and injuries on the road, leading to increased attorney involvement in claims,” and “thefts of vehicle components such as catalytic converters.”

In a time when the popularity of socialism – and thus a disregard for private property – is on the rise, when theft is advocated among BLM activists as a form of reparations,  and when there is no higher authority – no law of God or nature that we can agree upon – to which we can point to call anything “wrong,” how can we expect anything else?

More importantly, what must we do as God’s people in this wicked world? Protect yourself, your family, your neighbors. Have each other’s backs. Share the love of God with those who don’t know Him.

The late great Johnny Cash dealt with the frustration we feel when he wrote this imprecatory psalm:

“Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down”

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