Mentality of the mob

By Adam McArthur

‘Are they getting louder or just dumber?’

“Dumber, sir.”

That would be Mayor Quimby questioning an aide if the crowd outside his office were as unbelievable as they sounded. They wanted the “Bear Patrol” but didn’t want to pay the “Bear Tax.” The solution, or perhaps the problem, was too many immigrants keeping taxes too high. Before the first commercial break, the fear/anger wave had hit bears, taxes and immigrants.

Why? Mob mentality.

There were too many people together at once and nobody was thinking. Is it just an old episode of Simpsons goodness, or are they on to something more? Between the halftime shows and circle chants, maybe a lesson slipped through the cracks like so many Doritos into the couch cushions.

There are certainly different scales of mob idiocy, with varying degrees of damage. Two prominent criminal cases in the United States, involving none other than Kobe Bryant and the Thriller himself, Michael Jackson, are prime examples of Mob-tards. Two grown men (figuratively speaking for the Moonwalker) accused of sexually related crimes, coming to court not in a display of shame, but as if it was just another show at the Staples Center.

Screaming fans, with no rational logic to back their beliefs, were making a spectacle worthy of being shown on A-Channel. If there wasn’t a swarm of media, security and fans, would Mikey still be on his SUV dancing like it was nobody’s business? The crowd fuels Jacko, and he gives back to the sea of people. It’s a vicious circle. Insanity breads insanity.

Similarly, nothing unites people in late January like the Super Bowl. Millions of people watched it live from 230 countries around the world, but I’ll bet three quarters of them wouldn’t know the difference between a Cover-2 and a Double Tight formation, even if John Madden stuffed Football for Dummies into a chicken and served it at halftime.

Still, people get together and get drunk–on a Sunday–and marvel over the number of ways Britney can use her ass to sell a can of Pepsi. For the few of us who watched from week one with a bet on the Pats covering seven points, the experience is ruined. I rarely need an excuse to party, but countless folks are drunk by 3 p.m. and they aren’t even sure why.

“It’s a Super Ball!” some inebriated young lady inevitably screams out.

How is this acceptable in society? Have we gone mad?

Sunday morning I read 244 people died in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj. The particular activity at the time of death was a stoning ritual where pillars representing the Devil are shouted at, pelted with rocks and the occasional shoe.

During this, a stampede started, with people numbering in the hundreds of thousands–possibly millions–caught up in the action.

It could have been worse, I suppose. In fact, it has been.

In 1990, over 1,400 people were killed during Hajj in Mecca during another stampede. In 1998, 180 people were trampled to death. Fourteen died last year. Cause? Stampede.

Is anyone else seeing a pattern with this ritual?

The logistics of so many people in one place, throwing rocks and letting off Holy Steam, you would think someone would organize a system so fellow Muslims would not be killed by people inadvertently walking on their heads. It is simply ridiculous. Someone has to consider these things, and take effective steps to prevent it.

People in massive groups are dangerous when they get fired up. Emotion takes over, and people get hurt.

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