A car drives in reverse a fast as possible. Trying to get away from the mob, the car drives faster and faster until it can’t drive backwards anymore.
Debris scatters the roadway and the car has to stop. A man jumps on the roof of the car, two of its windows already smashed by bottles and fists, and wreaks havoc.
Fear envelops the driver and he high tails it out of there, into a crowd of people.
At least three people are run over by the car before it disappears from view of the television helicopter above.
It’s not a scene from a bad prime time reality television show. It’s Philadelphia. It’s South Street. It’s Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras celebrations turned ugly on Tuesday night as drunken, crazed people turned the tradition into something barbaric. An estimated 40-50,000 people turned out on Philadelphia’s trendiest strip to celebrate the once religious holiday.
People start a full day of drinking by 8 a.m. and don’t stop until the bars are forced to close late into the evening. Girls flash their breasts for beads and guys ogle and love it. And, because it’s Mardi Gras, there’s no shame. Because it’s Mardi Gras, there doesn’t need to be.
But that’s the civil part.
Later in the evening, things turned ugly on South Street. Stores were looted, fights broke out and Fat Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent – went crazy.
WPVI Channel 6 news cameras were there to capture it all, like they were for the Thomas Jones incident.
The bandwagon mentality took over on South Street Tuesday night and for that Philadelphia has another black eye cast upon it.
The first store that Channel 6 showed looted was Blondie’s Boutique. People, many presumably drunk, smashed the store’s windows and stole its clothes and even mannequins. Girls on the street ripped garments from each other taking away any of the clothes’ original value.
Guys, forgetting the fact it was a women’s boutique, stole whatever they could get their hands on.
At Tower Records, where windows were bashed and merchandise stolen, cops were seen arresting one man as another rabble-rouser threw a mannequin from Blondie’s at one of the cops.
Fights, some brutal and beyond comprehension, were broadcast on TV straight out of the ring. A guy takes a swing at another before being pummeled in the back of the head and falling to the ground, then kicked and stomped into submission.
Anchor Jim Gardener lets people know they aren’t watching the Rodney King verdict, this is Philadelphia.
The looting and violence was just as bad as the Rodney King violence, just not as prolonged. Mobs of people, for fun, for enjoyment, god knows, went at each other like wild animals.
One person wouldn’t have done this. Not even 10 would have done this. Thousands did this. And the worst part is they did it together. Without thought of consequence, they joined together as a mob and reeked havoc on Philadelphia.
The troublemakers moved in a large pack so as to avoid being caught. Together they had the guts to do it, but apart could they of? They committed their crimes like rodents, hiding in a corner or alley whenever the police helicopter shined its light down.
If you live on South Street or know of one of the businesses that were ransacked, take solace in the fact that these weren’t humans committing these acts of atrocity – they were all losers, rodents and chickens.
But together this group of miscreants and otherwise lower forms of life lowered Philadelphia’s reputation yet again.