Not a Flash Mob, but a Flash Rob

Demonstrating the double-edged sword that technology so frequently represents, and the human propensity to make use of it for both good and evil, this new form of theft—shown in the below video—is, apparently, coordinated using cell phones.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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12 Responses to Not a Flash Mob, but a Flash Rob

  1. andrewclunn says:

    Buy a gun. Buy a gun. Buy a gun.

    • santitafarella says:

      Well, there’s also corporate flash mobs (“too big to fail”), so what do you recommend we do with the criminals who drew strength in numbers and bundled bad debts to conceal their nature, etc?

      Reregulate the banking industry?


      • andrewclunn says:

        Let them fail. Let them fail. Let them fail.

      • santitafarella says:

        Good response. I can accept that.

        Is that your position on Greece as well? No Potemkin villages, even on a temporary basis, to ride out a storm?

        Is it your position that GM shouldn’t have gotten help either?


      • andrewclunn says:

        Honestly, I don’t know enough about Greece’s situation to have an informed position on it. But I was and am very much against the auto bailouts.

      • santitafarella says:


        I’m, frankly, ambivalent about the whole bailout issue (whether of bankers, car corporations, or nations). At one level, I want to say, “Fuck em.”

        At another level, I think this: in a time of serious economic upheaval and instability, when you are trying to keep people trusting and trading with each other, you don’t want to set up a negative feedback loop. It’s better, in other words, for everyone to work and trust one another than for everyone to withdraw and sulk and not do anything especially productive for a couple of years (or more).

        The reality of our human 21st century existence is that we have a global trading regime because we have a certain degree of (inherently unverifiable) faith or trust in our fellow humans that they will pretty consistently make good on their promises. We believe we can make deals across borders and have some confidence the adult politicians in those countries will guarantee, to some reasonable extent, that most capitalist exchange will be somewhat above board.

        Thus, to simply walk away from a country like Greece (for example) might well result in businesses around the world not trusting that they could safely trade with Europe. Hence, all of the global economy would contract. This would be tragic and unnecessary because something could have been done to keep trust up. Strictly speaking, however, it is, I agree, grossly unfair to the German taxpayers who will essentially guarantee the loans and bailout of Greece.

        But, in a global economy so profoundly interconnected, it can’t be good for the world, even in the long run, to dial back on production because we cannot trust one another. A bailout of Greece (or an auto bailout, for that matter) is a vote of confidence by a nation or continent in the fundamental goodness and quality of the people who work there. We think they’re good, in the longterm, for whatever we loan them.

        In the recent car company instance, Obama was proved right.

        The alternative is distrust and isolationism. Not a good model for a positive human future.


      • The Greece thing is interesting because the issue is not really about bailing Greece out or not. The EU is committed to bailing out Greece. But, to do it, Greece needs to have a financial model that achieves stability. To achieve such stability, there will obviously have to be serious cutbacks on spending – which is where the problem occurs. Greece does not bring in the revenue to be able to pay for all the things that their citizens and state workers desire. So, of course, they pressure politicians to not take measures to cut spending. I wonder where the Greeks think the money for what they desire will come from. Are they going to impose new, insane taxes on those that do earn money? Are they going to go even more communist and have the state take over private companies? Obviously, there are limits on what they can do, since foreign money is invested in the companies they might try to take. Other nations will not sit quietly by as their citizens get fleeced by the Greek government in an attempt to pay for a citizenry that does not want to earn its own way.

        Does anyone have any insights into how the Greeks that are opposed to austerity measures think that the Greek government will find a way to reach a fiscally feasible budget? Americans should be looking at this situation with a wary eye. We are no more than a couple of decades from something like this if we keep current course and speed of idiotic spend.

      • andrewclunn says:


        What? You gave a very wishy-washy defense of bailing out Greece (which I didn’t talk about) and then simply asserted that Obama was right about the auto bailouts (evidence please?) I found that wholly unconvincing and contrived.

  2. Karrel says:

    Thieves should be made to pay. Period. I am very hopeful that the next time this happens the shop owner(s) will open fire and take out half the mob with a few well placed shotgun blasts. Sound a bit tough ? Oh well.

    ** If its not obvious, I detest thieves.

  3. Colin Hutton says:

    It amuses me (a perspective from down under in Australia) to see the extent of the vengefulness, sanctimony and American parochialism in some of the above comments.

    Individuals, groups, nations will always rob others if they get a chance. Human nature. The US is no exception. (gold at US$35/oz – Nixon – 1971 – now $1,500 – etc.)

    Greece’s national debt amounts to 8.3% of its GDP.

    USA debt (currently $14t) amounts to 10.8% of its GDP. Truly the emperor with no clothes. Nobody wants to point this out (or the fact that USA will never repay its debt) because (since 1971) the US$ is the de facto world reserve currency.

    The Chinese are biding their time, however, with more than US$3t in their reserves. When it suits them, strategically, they will point that finger at the emperor. Be afraid.


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