From the Gazette:
Fifteen people were arrested Monday evening after a group of teenagers harassing pedestrians in downtown Silver Spring slammed one man to the ground, breaking his face and drawing the attention of several eyewitnesses.Absolutely heartbreaking. An innocent man was seriously injured by some dumb fucking thugs who clearly had nothing better to do than to harass people. Because of their actions, some people will want to write off every well-meaning, innocent kid who comes to downtown Silver Spring - every kid with a skateboard, every kid of color - as a hood. Because of their actions, well-meaning, innocent adults and families will think twice about coming to downtown Silver Spring.
One man from that group was approaching random pedestrians as they walked by the outdoor eating area outside the Baja Fresh restaurant. About 15 different people were accosted by the man, who was standing inches from the victims' faces and "verbally harassing" and "making crazy sexual comments" to passersby, said Chris Wilhelm, a Silver Spring resident who was reading a book nearby.
One middle-aged man tried to ignore the teens and walk past them, but as he walked toward the intersection of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue, the teen who was accosting pedestrians slapped the man in the back of the head, Wilhelm said. When the man turned around and showed his frustration, at least one other member of the group punched or hit him in the side of the head, according to witnesses and Montgomery County Police.
The man fell, and his head slammed against the red brick sidewalk.
Oh, this won't happen in Bethesda, they'll say.
Perhaps it doesn't. (Of course, the overprivileged teens of Bethesda can engage in some pretty depraved behaviors themselves, but they have the decency to do it in private.) But it's important to remember that events like this, tragic as they may be, are the exception, not the rule.
Downtown Silver Spring is a safe, vibrant, fun place to be. And it's getting better every week, every month, every year. Don't let a few idiots ruin that. Keep coming back. Keep spending your time and money here. Keep being a presence on these streets, because the more good people there are here, the fewer bad we'll attract.
I say throw the biggest book you can find at these thugs for assaulting an innocent man. The beauty of an urban place like downtown Silver Spring is that a lot of different activities can co-exist here - including skateboarding - but that we make it clear what activities aren't allowed.