You have the right to remain dance-less
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
I consider myself a true and proud Buffalonian. I eat wings any chance I can get, lake effect snow doesn’t scare me, and I still have a glimmer of hope every fall that this will be the season the Bills make it to the Super Bowl.
Yet I’m a little embarrassed by how out of touch the City of Good Neighbors has seemed within the last few weeks. I don’t know how to say this respectfully, but old people, you’re disconnected and a recent incident had some serious repercussions because of it.
On August 29, WIVB reported that 17-year-old Lancaster teenager Ryan Paolucci was arrested and charged with sixth-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal nuisance and disorderly conduct.
His crime was attempting to organize a flash mob at the Millennium Hotel in nearby Cheektowaga. Police received the tip thanks to their new TIP411 technology.
A flash mob. The kid wanted to dance.
WIVB reported Paolucci posted an invite on Facebook, inviting 910 guests to his “Storm the Millennium Party.” Emphasis on party.
Seventy people accepted and 34 people said “maybe.”
The TIP411 technology was implemented in August, and it allows people to anonymously text police tips on potential criminal activity or help the police receive information regarding ongoing investigations. Police said that it appeared Paolucci’s intent was to cause damage and create chaos.
I read this and thought it was a complete joke. When I picture a flash mob, I see a group of people who assemble and dance or sing a quick number, and then disperse just as fast as they assembled. I’ve never heard of any flash mob becoming violent or dangerous.
So how out of touch is this city?
I sat down with my stepmother a few weeks ago and asked her if she knew what a flash mob was. She answered with a definite “no.”
I then asked her if she thought it would be something violent, and she answered without hesitation: “yes.”
After asking the people in my family over the age of 40 whether they know what a flash mob is, I heard “no” more than “yes.”
While being fully aware that my family members’ ignorance doesn’t mean all of Buffalo doesn’t know what a flash mob is, the media’s coverage makes it seem that way. I think the bigger issue here was the media made this story out to be a bigger deal than it is. Now a young kid is facing serious allegations.
The police are making the flash mob bust out to be a huge victory in the fight against crime. A meager 70 people were attempting to meet up, start dancing and then disperse.
This is not a victory.
A real victory would be using the TIP411 hotline to help bust one of the hundreds of stabbings, shootings and robberies that happen every year in Buffalo.
An even bigger victory would be allowing a peaceful and lighthearted gathering to occur in a world where we all could use a little bit of fun.
Seriously, are we in Footloose right now?