The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

The photo above shows what 500 people filling up St. Petersburg's BayWalk shopping center looks like. This was the scene yesterday evening, when some jackass calling himself "the Money Man" spread the word that he'd be tossing $2 bills into the crowd, which caused injuries to 12 people.

I almost was at this mob scene. I had been considering going to the movies at BayWalk, and maybe hanging out afterwards for the nightlife. The only reason I didn't was because I was pretty well wrecked all day yesterday, the result of too much partying and too little sound sleep during the previous night.

I wonder how word of this stunt got around. It's strange that such critical mass could have built throughout the Bay area. I suspect this Money Man (I originally read the headline as "Monkey Man", which, upon reading the article, fits better) worked at making sure a big crowd would materialize; doubtless it's designed to drum up more business for his realty operation. I sure didn't hear about it, but again, I was out of it for most of the day.

Of course, you have to lay a lot of the blame on the idiots who were trampling each other for a measly few bucks. It's amazing what people will do.

Update: I was wondering how the word spread so far and quick about this, leading to such a crush of people showing up. Turns out Money Man had the foresight to alert the media:

Several TV stations, radio stations and newspapers carried advance stories about the giveaway on Friday night or Saturday morning. At least two television stations used the Money Man story in commercials to attract people to their Friday newscasts.

I figured it had to be something like that; there is no real "word on the street" buzz in this area that would enable news like this to spontaneously travel. As I never watch or hear the local news, it also reinforces why I didn't hear anything about this.