How school shootings catch on.
By Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker
EXTRACT Below the Fold
A riot was a social process, in which people did things in reaction to and in combination with those around them. Social processes are driven by our thresholds—which he defined as the number of people who need to be doing some activity before we agree to join them. In the elegant theoretical model Granovetter proposed, riots were started by people with a threshold of zero—instigators willing to throw a rock through a window at the slightest provocation. Then comes the person who will throw a rock if someone else goes first. He has a threshold of one. Next in is the person with the threshold of two. His qualms are overcome when he sees the instigator and the instigator’s accomplice. Next to him is someone with a threshold of three, who would never break windows and loot stores unless there were three people right in front of him who were already doing that—and so on up to the hundredth person, a righteous upstanding citizen who nonetheless could set his beliefs aside and grab a camera from the broken window of the electronics store if everyone around him was grabbing cameras from the electronics store.
Phi Beta Iota: The entire article is riveting. It is a deep dive into social psychosis that in our view has been brought on by a mix of corrupt governance and corrupt commerce — including corrupt agriculture, education, and health services. In combination, legitimate grievances and the poisoning of the population with bad air, bad water, and bad food are creating massive amounts of cognitive dissonance. The USA is, as one author has said, “a bomb waiting to explode.” Imagine the Watts riots, but this time, instead of black people with stones, think white people armed with automatic weapons. We support the right of the individual to bear arms — at issue here is whether the government merits a nation-wide riot by armed white people. We are very worried about the rash of cop killings. That is a canary in the coal mine, and the government appears to be oblivious, just trying to get to election day and retire, never mind these pesky shootings.
Sidebar: We did not consider the possibility that Malcolm Gladwell might be part of the deep state and writing to “explain” state-driven self-immolation so as to absolve the state until we read Yasha Levine’s most interesting post, Malcolm Gladwell Unmasked: A Look Into the Life & Work of America’s Most Successful Propagandist. The sad fact is that much of what the U.S. Government does and permits is toxic — against the public interest in every possible sense of the word. And much of the media is nothing more than an enabling entertainment and propaganda service. Levine renders a useful service.