Driving The Herd

In response to the welter of mass shootings that’s cropped up lately, Malcolm Gladwell observed that it’s a fairly predictable example of mob behavior. I wrote about it almost a year ago.

David French (again) worries that we’re living Gladwell’s prediction out in the worst possible way:

In both my military and my civilian careers, I’ve been in meetings and discussions where someone points out a potentially unsolvable weakness in our systems and says, “Well, I hope the bad guys don’t figure this out.” I have a sick, sinking feeling that a vicious terrorist just “figured out” a path to even greater notoriety.
After mass shootings, we often focus on the instrument of death to the relative neglect of the culture of death. There are very human reasons for this — the cultural problem feels so big, so impossible to address, that we fix our eyes on the things we think we can control. We seemingly can’t control whether shooters become famous. We can’t control the fact that there are young men drawn to their example. We can’t control which aspects of their murders will capture the imagination of the next wave of killers… I’m old enough to remember Columbine vividly. We all recoiled in horror but, in hindsight, weren’t horrified enough. We did not realize that a new cultural script was written right in front of our eyes. I hope and pray that I’m wrong, but the New Zealand shooting feels more momentous even than the killings of the recent past. This was online darkness brought to life, then streamed back online. Another threshold has been crossed, and I fear there is no going back.

The worst among us are causing the herd to logroll the entire society into really, really bad decisions. The New Zealand shooter in particular – he calculated his atrocity’s approach to the media (!) precisely to logroll dim-bulb Americans.

And the herd doesn’t make great decisions even in the best of times.

12 thoughts on “Driving The Herd

  1. Except banning high capacity magazines and assault rifles isn’t a really bad, bad decision, it’s a perfectly fine and reasonable limitation on civilian firearm ownership and entirely consistent with the McDonald decision. And sorry Mitch, no, the New Zealand shooter did not kill 50 people to get the US to ban assault weapons, he killed 50 innocent people to start a religious war.

  2. I should note that, to date, all attempts to start a race war in the US have failed. That’s why we call people who try to start race wars “crazy.”

  3. Speaking of crazy, have you ever read Ta-Nahesi Coates Between the World and Me? He is nuts. He believes that whites hate Blacks and there can never be peace between them. He knows that Blacks will always be over powered by whites. He hates democracy (because Blacks will lose to more populous whites). His solution is to have a non-democratic federal government run by white progressives oppress the racist whites to keep the racist whites’ murderous impulses in check.

  4. Herds don’t make decisions; they mill around until fear, thirst, or hunger takes them in one direction or another.

  5. Except banning high capacity magazines and assault rifles isn’t a really bad, bad decision,

    Define “assault rifle”, you fascist. And how many is “high”?

  6. It tickles me that Liberals view First Amendment decisions as the setting the absolute maximum infringement the government can place on an otherwise unfettered right, but they view Second Amendment decisions as setting the absolute maximum limits of a right which is subject to otherwise unfettered government restriction.

    Compare the notion that an implicit right of privacy hidden in the emanations of a penumbra of rights requires tax-payer funded abortion on demand up to, and perhaps after, the moment of death; with the notion that ownership of military grade arms by private citizens to enable them to resist the government can be subject to regulations and restrictions promulgated by that same government.

  7. I didn’t know “tickles me” could also be used instead of saying “annoys the eff out of me”! Learn something new everyday. 😉

  8. Penigma, how many tens of millions of people have to be killed by their governments before we realize that the kind of gun control you endorse is a bad idea? Let’s be blunt here; long guns of all kinds, including bolt action hunting rifles and pump action shotguns, kill a few hundred people in the U.S. each year.

    In contrast, genocide of disarmed populations killed about a million people per year in the 20th Century, plus of course the genocides in Sudan and elsewhere this century. If possession of large magazine semi-automatic rifles was a recipe for disaster, Switzerland would be a war zone instead of the peaceful nation it is today, as most adult males have one in their home as part of their militia duty.

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