A notable aspect of these fads, however, is their propensity to spread on a world-wide basis. Since the advent of social media networks - especially with everyone owning smartphones now - this sort of thing can happen in one place before reaching an international audience within days.
So what happens when one of these fads is actually quite dangerous? What if it could affect you and your loved ones in such a way that it led to serious injury or even death? Well, that's something that might well be coming to you sooner than you'd think.
The fad is called "Wilding" and it is essentially a form of violent flash mob. Normally, when one thinks of a flash mob, they think of something like this:
They're harmless, well-organised and quite entertaining when they happen, and involve quite a large number of people.
But what if, rather than sing Hallelujah or dance or whatnot, that mob of a hundred or more people started wantonly attacking random people? Or smashing in shop windows? Or destroying public property? What if, in the middle of a mall or shopping center or public event, 100 to 300 people simultaneously started creating violent and destructive chaos for 5 minutes, then dispersed as if they were never there?
That, people, is what "wilding" is. It is a real thing, and it has started happening across The United States of America.
The trickiest thing about it is that it's organised via social networks, and the people involved have no connections to one another, or even necessarily know each other. People just "get on board" and sign up to do it. They're given a time and a place, and they blend in with the general populace until it's time to get violent. Once it's over, they disappear back into the crowd before law enforcement can stop them or contain the situation, and even if police were there, there are literally hundreds of people doing it in some cases. Even if the officers are armed with handguns, you just have to do the math to figure out that they won't last long.
Oftentimes, it hasn't even been the "wilders" that cause that much damage, but instead the literal stampede of crazed civilians trying to get away from the horror of it all.
It's not always a super-large group of people doing it, either. Sometimes it could just be 5 or 10. But the amount of chaos and destruction that even a small group of people can do in a heavily populated center can be catastrophic - particularly if weapons are used.
This isn't some minor occurrence, either. There are plenty of incidents that can be read about. But the question we must ask ourselves is this:
How long until it spreads internationally?
It happens with everything else, so why not this? In many instances, copy-cat-crime has done more damage than the original crime. As soon as the media picks up on something it reaches a vast audience and becomes imitated by tens of thousands of people. Currently, the media have kept quiet about wilding, but it's only a matter of time. When people hear about it, it WILL spread, so you need to be aware of it and prepared for it.
So here, I have a few tips to keep in mind, should you find yourself caught in the middle of a wilding attack:
Don't fight them any more than you have to
You won't immediately be able to judge the scale of the wilding attack, so don't assume you know how many there are. You may be able to take on one or two if you're a fighter, but there could literally be 100 more coming. Fight to escape, don't fight to contain.
Maintain awareness of multiple escape routes
Whenever you enter a public place, you should make a mental note of multiple exit paths should you need to get out of there quickly. Don't just pick one, as it might be blocked or become otherwise unusable. When the shit hits the fan, you'll already have in your mind multiple paths of escape and you won't freeze up. Seconds will count.
Don't use a weapon
Just in case we have international readers in the audience, don't pull your weapon in this scenario. A handgun will have roughly a dozen bullets, but the wildings will have 100 or more people. On top of that there's the high risk of collateral damage in a mob scenario. The attackers will be indistinguishable from the general populace.
Make escape your number one priority
Not only is there risk of attack from the wildings, there is risk of being trampled by the frightened mob. Move with the crowd, not against it, or lateral to it, to prevent getting crushed. Try and find a means of escape as quickly as possible.
Choose your safe zone carefully
Don't retreat inside of a shop to find safety. In many instances of wilding, the aggressors will smash through shop windows and do a bit of looting while they're at it. If you plan on taking refuge inside of a building, make it something like a hotel lobby where there would be nothing of value for the wildings to enter.
Think only of yourself and those with you
I know this sounds cold, but in a mob scenario, stopping to help a stranger could mean death. You need to focus on keeping yourself and those in your charge alive. It's horrific, but it's every man for themselves in this sort of scenario.
If all else fails, blend in
Keep in mind that large wilding groups don't know each other, so the only way they can distinguish one another is by their violence. In fact, many reported cases of this happening have shown wildings attacking each other in the confusion. If you don't have any clear means of escape, try to blend in. Shout, scream, wave your arms, do a bit of destruction - nothing serious. Perhaps throw something or kick over a chair. Just do enough to look like you're one of them, and, during this, edge your way to an exit point and escape. It may be your only way out.
It's terrifying, yes, but these tips could save your life.
Stay safe, and let's hope that this horrible and ridiculous trend doesn't spread to where you live.