"An 11-year-old and two teenagers acknowledged their roles in attacking and robbing several pedestrians in downtown Philadelphia.
"The trio admitted to allegations including robbery, conspiracy, rioting and assault in connection with the July 29 mob attacks.
"The admissions made ... are the equivalent of guilty pleas. Judge Kevin Dougherty characterized the trio's actions as 'hunting humans for sport.'
"The judge ordered the 17-year-old and 16-year-old to remain in state custody. The 11-year-old will remain under house arrest in his grandmother's custody.
"Philadelphia's mayor and police chief have ordered a crackdown and curfew for teenagers to help curb recent mobs of young people responsible for random attacks and property damage.
"Last month, a man attacked by teens ended up hospitalized with broken teeth and a wired jaw."
Particularly instructive in this instance is where the 11-year-old ended up: in the custody of his grandmother. We don't know what the boy's mother and father are doing right about now, but we know what they aren't doing: parenting their son.
Michael Nutter, the Philadelphia mayor referred to in the news story, has taken some heat for imposing the curfew on teens. You'd think Nutter was the villain in all this. Will we hear Nutter's critics say any disparaging words about the parents of the 11-year-old boy in particular, or flash mobbers in general?
Now there's a "Do Rockefellers eat Spam?" question if ever there was one.
Excuses for the flash mobbers -- many of whom are black, with some attacking whites at random and others bum-rushing convenience stores to steal merchandise -- have been coming fast and furious. They need jobs, the excuse makers tell us. They need recreational facilities. What they need are parents who don't hesitate to put a foot squarely in their derrieres when a foot in that spot is needed.
The only thing Nutter did wrong in Philadelphia is to focus on the teens. I'd have advised the parents of flash-mobbing teens that if their kids were caught in the act, they, not their children, would be held accountable.
An alternative to the foot in backside option might be this one: Some of the flash mobbers would simply be better off with another set of parents.
That's why the 11-year-old referred to in the story is at his grandma's house. Several years ago in Baltimore, residents of that city learned why a 13-year-old ended up in his grandmother's custody.
Jerrod Hamlett was a man in his 20s who was the father of a little boy. One day, some 13-year-old punk chucked a bottle at him, striking Hamlett in the foot. Hamlett rightly chided the punk.
The punk left but returned with a companion, who handed him a gun. The punk then fatally shot Hamlett. At his hearing, where a judge sent the punk to an out-of-state juvenile facility, the punk's mom came to court sporting a baseball cap with the words "Stop Snitching" on it. Is it any wonder the punk was in his grandmother's care, and not his mother's? Not that it helped Hamlett any.
I don't think I'd be going out on a limb if I suggested the average flash mobber in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and Milwaukee fit the following profile: young, black male from a home without a daddy, who just might be in the care of his grandma.
Today about 70 percent of black homes have no father. Forty-six years ago, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan told the country that this was a national crisis, that figure was 25 percent.
Did anybody listen to him?
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.