On April 16, over 400 teenagers took to the streets outside of Millennium Park in Chicago in an incident referred to as “teen wilding.” This disturbing outpouring of youthful exuberance ended in the arrests of 15 people. Gunfire, mass vandalism, fires, and assaults were part of the festivities.
It’s the teenage version of the left’s “peaceful protests,” only the participants aren’t protesting anything and, while two people were shot and a man severely beaten while in his car, there were no fatalities.
While Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson labeled the activity as unacceptable, he went on to clarify, “It is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”
The term “wilding,” or as some euphemistically call it, “flash mob crime sprees,” originated in 1989 to describe packs of unruly teenagers who gather for no other purpose than creating chaos. The trend has been seen in cities across the country, including Austin, Texas, New York City, and San Francisco.
For Chicago, it’s a seasonal party that starts when the weather gets warm. Saturday the 16th marked the second night of the fun, leaving Chicago residents to wonder if it will be another summer of wilding. For them, it’s just another reason to stay home and lock the doors, as if they needed another one.
Outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued her statement, saying, “We as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct. Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions.”
It’s important to understand that Lightfoot was central to the decision to allow shoplifting of up to $1000 in items to go unprosecuted. On January 1, 2023, the city backpedaled after, predictably, shoplifting drove businesses away from Chicago. The newest guidelines state that theft of up to $300 is a misdemeanor, while incidents involving over $300 could be classified as a felony.
Teen wilding is not new for Chicago. In 2019, teens assaulted tourists and stole cell phones and purses. They smashed windows and looted from businesses.
In 2021, a throng of teens swarmed downtown, brawling, vandalizing police cars, and setting off fireworks. Sixty-one people were arrested, and two police officers were injured.
In 2022, a group of teenagers killed a 16-year-old, with 26 juveniles and four adults arrested during the flash mob crime spree. This incident led to the Millennium Park curfew, requiring all kids under 18 be accompanied by an adult.
The most recent incident had police officers busy as Chicago Transportation Authority employees were assaulted, bottles thrown at CTA vehicles, people were maced and robbed, and shots fired. There was an attempted break in at the Art Institute of Chicago, and as previously stated, two teenagers suffered non-life-threatening injuries following two separate shootings. Large groups of teens blasted music from their Bluetooth speakers and blocked traffic.
But they were in good company, as a similar incident occurred in the Compton district in Los Angeles. This incident, labeled an “illegal street takeover,” centered on a gas station and mini mart, which sustained significant damage following mass looting of snacks and alcohol.
It will be interesting to watch the Summer of Wilding across the nation, especially if the affected cities respond to the activists call of “defund the police.” As much fun as it is to watch Democrats suffer from their own policies, it should be remembered that there are many innocent people in these cities, too, who deserve to be safe from marauding teens.
Earlier this month, Chicago was selected as the site of the August 2024 Democratic National Convention. convention will be the gathering place for the elite leftists to tout their accomplishments, but it may be a potential concern since it occurs during prime wilding season.
If 2024 follows the same path of recent Chicago summers, those limos won’t stand a chance.