Living Armor
Living Armor

"It doesn't take much for the world to go down hill these days.

Reactions to recent events such as natural disasters, politics (often a disaster itself!), legal decisions, protesting, etc.. have shown us that there is a thinner veneer than we prefer to imagine between civilized behaviour and that more closely related to the “crowd mentality”. Sometimes known as “diffusion of responsibility” examples of it are rampant throughout history. For those with study in psychology, perhaps one of the most well known cases was that of Catherine Genovese.

In 1964 Catherine was killed near an entrance to her apartment building while walking from her car. Over a time frame that spanned about a ½ hour, she was stabbed repeatedly, robbed and raped. Several people were aware of the attack, but none acted to help her. Although it has been found that the initial details may have been exaggerated by the local newspaper (which claimed 38 witnesses stood by and did nothing), the occurrence nonetheless spawned an enormous amount of research within the field of social psychology.

The essence of the crowd or “mob” mentality is that people in a group tend more easily to lose their sense of identity as individuals. This in turn can result in the loss of personal accountability, and a person may be more likely to exhibit behaviour they would not normally consider characteristic under more individual circumstances. This is certainly apparent in examples such as law abiding citizens participating in riots, looting during Louisiana's hurricane Katrina or standing by while someone is being beaten by a group as in the January 28, 2010 beating of a 15 year old girl in a Seattle Washington mass transit tunnel.

This mentality, especially when combined with an element of desperation, is a prevailing aspect of danger for a post event environment. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we recognize it, understand it, and be mindful to expand and adjust our concept of security preparedness and exposure accordingly. "

-S. Greenfield, C.P.S.
from "The Guide To Post Event Survival Tactics"

Back to Articles »