Do you ever notice how the Sacramento mainstream media cover the culture of teen party violence? There’s a pattern, a set of happenings that lead to random attacks and violence. Here is how the media examines the way the violence builds up to a crescendo followed by a brawl, usually outside the party residence. Check out the November 9, 2010 Sacramento Bee article by Greg Bluestein, Associated Press, “Bizarre vow becomes fatal.” That article covered the spat at a teenage party that led to a random attack on another teen just passing by. Also see the article, “Brawlers Beat Random Stranger To Death In Georgia – News Story.”
A party of teens in which no alcohol, no drugs, and no other perceived ‘stimulants’ are offered turns violent when a gathering of a few friends grows from five or ten people into a maddening crowd of 50 to 100 people, often uninvited. The next step is that the parents or supervisors of that party become overwhelmed by the uninvited crowd. To solve this problem, never invite more than five to seven people to a teenage party, and make sure they know one another, are not bringing their own drugs or booze, and are not gang members.
The party needs a purpose. Should you play intellectual games instead of loud music? The festivity might instead be limited to making speeches awarding the party host presents or wishing the host a happy birthday, graduation, or other event or rite of passage.
What makes the problem escalate is that when a teen party is held instead of handing out invitations to five to seven people, teens text and email one another, usually on cell phones. This brings in uninvited guests that overwhelm the host’s home or hall.
What causes the violence is the unruly crowd that descends into mob behavior. The word keeps spreading by email and text messaging, and the crowd grows uwily and disturbing. When a parent is overwhelmed, the party ends and the teens are told to go home. But such a crowd is too tempting, and the party pours out into the street where crowd control becomes necessary.
You get a bunch of teenagers, perhaps 80 to 100 uninvited guests in the street near the home, and the neighbors begin to complain about all the parked cars. Everytime an event spills into the street, especially at night, you might surmise that trouble soon follows.
Sooner or later someone says the wrong words that pushes the hot buttons of someone else. As soon as someone finds fault with someone else, an explosion of temper follows. This escalates in many cases to violence. Someone gets beaten or killed. Or someone is harmed in some way.
Witnesses may be there, but many do nothing but stand by, afraid to get hurt if they come to the rescue of someone being beaten or otherwise harmed. The ages of teens most likely to hurt someone after a party or if asked to leave a party is around 17 to 19. And people getting hurt may be younger teens in the home or anyone walking near the unruly crowd that now has escalated to mob behavior.
The media tends to ask parents not to have parties. Why not invite five friends to dinner instead and listen to music that relaxes instead of incites? Why cause incendiary behavior? Instead, take a video camera, and tape the party host giving a talk on whatever topic is related to the theme of the dinner party.
Suggested by this media? A tea party on a weekend afternoon for the teens. People under 21 don’t really need to be forming a crowd in the street after dark. What good can come of crowds of uninvited party guests in the street near a house where there’s a party? If parents are not serving alcohol, smoking is not permitted indoors, and a door person looks at the guest list to see who is invited, that’s one effort. But it doesn’t really work.
Sooner or later, teenagers will text one another and univited crowds will show up at the door or in the street to taunt neighbors simply by the presence of so many young people in the street late at night and so many parked cars in danger of being raced or crashed as partygoers begin to leave the neighborhood. Forget the teen parties and invite a handful of people for dinner instead. Or take a few teens to your house of worship or to a community center or computer/science/math/art/music camp in the afternoon for a change.