Tuesday, February 6, 2018

#37 / Now It Seems To Happen All The Time

On January 24, 2018, The New York Times' front page had a story with this headline: "A School Attack Every Other Day." As is so often the case, the online headline was a bit different. You'll see that one when you go online to track down the article. Alan Blinder and Daniel Victor, who wrote the Times' article, pointed out that school shootings used to be rare, but "now it seems to happen all the time."

Malcolm Gladwell, the well-known Canadian author, spoke about the school shooting phenomenon at The New Yorker Festival in 2015. A YouTube video is available if you click the link. Gladwell subsequently published his thoughts in the magazine, under the title, "Thresholds of Violence - How School Shootings Catch On."

Gladwell's analysis is that the early perpetrators of school killings were, intentionally, intending to "model" behavior, hoping that others would duplicate their efforts. And, in fact, such has been the case.

This is, in my view, an example (a horrible example, of course) of how we tend to "do what we think is expected." Most of us take our cues about what we "should" do by watching to see what others do, in fact. If that theory holds, publicizing what happens "every other day" will not be a discouragement. 

Translating the concern into other arenas, presidential displays of belligerence and bigotry won't have benign effects, either!

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