About 200 readers responded to Tuesday's column on recent "flash mob" incidents in Center City.

It's heartening to hear from so many people, but disheartening how many see this public safety issue as a racial issue.

It's old news that all sorts of people are obsessed with race. Like other obsessions, this one sucks up so much oxygen it snuffs out conversation. And why talk anyway, when shrieking is so much more exciting?

The most ominous, and saddest, responses were not those from people rather too eagerly predicting a bloodbath in the streets, but rather from residents, workers and others who say they may abandon Center City altogether.

"My wife and I decided to go elsewhere last weekend for dinner, and I have to admit, last Friday's Flash Mob incident influenced our decision," one gentleman said via email.

"It's so difficult to live in this city," said one caller.

Said another: "I'm afraid."