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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 165,345

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If Cops Understood Crowd Psychology, They'd Tone Down The Riot Gear (Great read)

I found this site today and it is really good.


The conventional wisdom behind forceful crowd control deserves a review of its own. Rather than passively controlling a protest, heavy riot gear actively changes the dynamics of crowd behavior, according to the best new behavioral evidence. The twisted outcome is one that too many police forces have yet to learn: the military-style equipment intended to enhance public safety often ends up threatening it.

Let's step back a moment to the classic psychological theory on crowds, which gave rise to many of the tougher approaches taken today. Originating during the political instability of 19th-century France, and later adopted by most 20th-century social scientists, this thinking held that people in a crowd lost their individuality and became suggestible to the aggressive behavior of those around them. That view gave rise to phrases like "mob mentality" and "deindividuation"--the idea of a crowd as a singular entity rather than a collection of independent people capable of thinking for themselves.

Here's where the militarization of local police becomes so problematic. Officers in full-on riot gear give all the individuals in a protest crowd a common enemy. It's not that everyone in the protest crowd suddenly assumes the identity of a violent jerk--it's that the many peaceful protestors feel a sort of kinship with the violent jerks against the aggressive police. Despite their differences, they're united by a single goal: defend against the outside force.

Psychologist Clifford Stott surveyed the latest evidence on crowd behavior in a 2009 report for British officials. Stott explained that an aggressive approach by authorities leads "directly to a change in the nature of the crowd's social identity," a shift from me and you into us and them. The result is a self-fulfilling cycle: As the crowd gains a sense of unity, the authorities become more aggressive against the unified mob they initially feared, which in turn enhances the crowd's sense of unity. Any rioting that results will be perceived as an inevitable outcome of bad crowd behavior, writes Stott, when in fact that behavior was "largely and inadvertently initiated by police tactical responses."

People Aren't Buying Guns


Coming off a year of record sales, the gun market is cooling off. And overeager gunmakers are still struggling to dial down their expectations.
In the recent quarter, Smith & Wesson sales dropped 23 percent, to $131.9 million, and profit plunged 45 percent, to $14.6 million, according to a report late yesterday. Long guns and “modern sporting rifles,” in particular, lost favor among shooters, but handguns cooled off as well. Smith & Wesson shares slumped almost 15 percent on the news.

The problem, according to both companies, is too many guns. Executives are grousing about “high inventory,” stubborn retail partners, and a glut of guns in such stores as Cabela’s. They are less eager to acknowledge that high inventory in any business comes from only two places: low demand and/or too much supply.

What the industry really needs is a few lawmakers advocating a gun-control bill. That’s what pushed the gun business to record highs last year in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings. Those fears, however, have largely abated, and gun sales have gone with them. Even reports of ammunition shortages are dying off.

It's Women's Equality (Suffrage) Day


Rand Paul does the Militarized White Privilege bucket challenge (VIDEO)

A Rand Paul nomination could be a diaper changer

There will be lots of whining and crying but there will still be a spanking* just like in the last two elections.

*this in no way condones or suggests the use of corporal punishments. Please see the American Academy of Pediatricians advisements.

Last night .... on Fox News

We watch Fox so you don't have to

Love this site.

Dear NRA, Would Officer Wilson fit in the "good guy with a gun" category?

Or does the other guy have to have a gun?
What if the other guy was, literally, just walking down the street?

Hadn't heard from you in a while and wanted to check your background on this.

The rest of us

SENATOR Tim Kaine - got him elected twice


A Friday DU appreciation thread .... for DU

Having been a DU member for quite some time I have found DU to be such a fantastic source for facts and BS detection on specific issues and news items. The two that come immediately to mind were the run up to the war on Iraq and Terry Schiavo (the story that never was according to the media as soon as it went up in smoke on them) where DU members provided background, research, and critical thinking that supplied us with what would soon become the final news in the face of a landslide lies. The right wing hoaxes of the Obama administration do not yet all have a finished scripts but I think we already have the information that will make up those stories.

The last two weeks following the murder of Michael Brown is another great example of what DU delivers.

Thank you DU and all DU members.

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