If These Are Your Kids. . ..

A Palisades resident wrote: “We were driving past the entrance to the park [Palisades Recreation Center] at 7 p.m. and saw this group of kids setting off fireworks in the ‘bowl’ picnic area below the playground. We got this video of them as they left. When they saw us filming, they ran like cowards towards the library to hide….”

If these are your kids, have a conversation about how fireworks are illegal, how this entire Pacific Palisades is in the Very High Fire Severity Zone and how if a fireworks would misfire, it could disfigure them, they could lose fingers or a hand, a scarred and burned face, or even death.

Then parents might also read this June 21, 2024, article in The New Yorker (“How a Homegrown Teen Gang Punctured the Image of an Upscale Community”) “The authorities didn’t seem to pay attention to the Gilbert Goons until one boy was dead and several others were charged with murder.”

Not unlike the Palisades, the story wrote that “In December, the Arizona Republic reported that Lord’s death was not an aberration but the culmination of an alarming trend: a group of largely upper-middle-class teen-agers had been wreaking havoc in Gilbert and the surrounding East Valley communities for more than a year, with few consequences.

The paper reported “that the group called itself the Gilbert Goons, a name that apparently originated in a Snapchat group. High-school students knew about them—one victim later described them to law enforcement as ‘a group of kids just harassing Arizona’—but the Gilbert police seemingly did not. ‘We do not have documented incidents associated with that group name,’ officials told the Republic.

“The newspaper detailed seven violent attacks by members of the group, many of them captured on video. Others soon surfaced. The Goons seemed to be a loose association of some two dozen kids, mostly but not entirely white and wealthy, who attended high schools in the Gilbert area.

“(The Republic would eventually identify ninety-five Goon-related assaults, stemming from eighteen incidents. Michael Soelberg, chief of the Gilbert police, called that number ‘exaggerated.’ He added, ‘Any teen-violence case, they’re lumping them all together as a Goon-related assault, and that’s not accurate.’) The videos were shaky, chaotic, difficult to follow; the person filming would sometimes gasp, ‘Oh, my God,’ sounding shocked or thrilled or some giddy mixture of the two.

“‘You’re talking all crazy on Instagram,’ a girl yells in one, before shoving another girl against a car and hitting her repeatedly. Others depicted unprovoked blitz attacks: a group of kids swarming someone, knocking him to the ground, and kicking him over and over.” click here.

The story reported “Before Lord’s death, police had treated the beatings as isolated incidents. Many people assumed that the boys’ wealth had insulated them from consequences. ‘The cops know who these kids are,’ said the woman whose son was beaten unconscious in December 2022. ‘It’s crazy. The law isn’t doing anything.’”

Parent Katey McPherson felt the Goons’ transgressions were a symptom of parental neglect and decadence.

“‘Our home tripled in value in ten years,’ she said. “So, as part of that, there’s this fast-money, fast-life-style thing, where people that didn’t have money gained equity in their homes and bought a boat, bought a Jet Ski. The parent community became very, well, I call it California—they were trying to be like reality shows. I’ve even seen my own friends morph, where they’re swinging and having Adderall parties.”

Another parent said she believed that parents were “too concerned with maintaining their public images to admit that their children were out of control.”

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2 Responses to If These Are Your Kids. . ..

  1. Deborah Tennant says:

    Can’t access the video

  2. CC Fischer says:

    Circling the News rocks.

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