The families of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 are suing a conspiracy theorist who claims the massacre was a hoax. Their lawsuits are bringing the issue of “fake news” to the courts.
On today’s episode:
• Elizabeth Williamson, a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times.
• The families of eight Sandy Hook victims, as well as an F.B.I. agent who responded to the massacre, are suing the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for defamation. Relatives of the victims have received death threats from those who embrace the falsehoods Mr. Jones has propagated on his website Infowars, which has an audience of millions.
An increasingly ritualized form of violence is attracting unexpected perpetrators.
An intriguing article whose theory seems both applicable and timely. It also seems extensible to additional areas, some of which I’ve noted in my annotations.
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
Most previous explanations had focussed on explaining how someone’s beliefs might be altered in the moment.
Knowing a little of what is coming in advance here, I can’t help but thinking: How can this riot theory potentially be used to influence politics and/or political campaigns? It could be particularly effective to get people “riled up” just before a particular election to create a political riot of sorts and thereby influence the outcome. Facebook has done several social experiments with elections in showing that their friends and family voted and thereby affecting other potential voters. When done in a way that targets people of particular political beliefs to increase turn out, one is given a means of drastically influencing elections. In some sense, this is an example of this “Riot Theory”.
“But group interaction was such that none could admit this without loss of status; in our terms, their threshold for stealing cars is low because daring masculine acts bring status, and reluctance to join, once others have, carries the high cost of being labeled a sissy.” You can’t just look at an individual’s norms and motives. You need to look at the group.
This might also be the same case with fraternity shenanigans and even more deplorable actions like gang rapes. Usually there’s one or more sociopaths that start the movement, and then others reluctantly join in.
If a riot evolves as it spreads, starting with the hotheaded rock thrower and ending with the upstanding citizen, then rioters are a profoundly heterogeneous group.
Granovetter’s model suggests that riots are sometimes more than spontaneous outbursts. If they evolve, it means they have depth and length and a history. Granovetter thought that the threshold hypothesis could be used to describe everything from elections to strikes, and even matters as prosaic as how people decide it’s time to leave a party.
The first seven major shooting cases—Loukaitis, Ramsey, Woodham, Carneal, Johnson and Golden, Wurst, and Kinkel—were disconnected and idiosyncratic.
Seven though? In such a short time period? These must have known about prior ones or else perhaps the theory doesn’t hold as much water. Similarly suicide could be added as a contagion that fits into this riot model as well.
That’s what Paton and Larkin mean: the effect of Harris and Klebold’s example was to make it possible for people with far higher thresholds—boys who would ordinarily never think of firing a weapon at their classmates—to join in the riot.
He disapproved of Adam Lanza, because he shot kindergartners at Sandy Hook instead of people his own age: “That’s just pathetic. Have some dignity, damn it.”
This model of a dialectic suggests that the narrative can be shaped, both by the individual reader and each actor. Can it also be shaped by the media? If these mass-murderers are portrayed as pathetic or deranged would that dissuade others from joining their ranks?
—gandalf511 on Oct 13, 2015
gandalf511, I like the idea you’ve elaborated here, and it may work to at least some extent. One other hand, some of these kids are already iconoclasts who are marginalized and may not put much value or faith in a mainstream media representation. The tougher needle to thread is how to strike a middle ground that speaks to potential assailants?
As hundreds of thousands of demonstrators prepared to march in Washington in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., students on the South Side of Chicago felt sympathy, but also frustration.
Why hadn’t the gun violence in their community earned the nation’s outrage?
On today’s episode:
• Sameen Amin, a senior video producer at The New York Times.
• Video: Ke’Shon Newman’s brother was shot and killed on the South Side of Chicago, where gun violence is a daily threat. He decided to join the march in Washington with high school students from Parkland, Fla.
• For some students who joined protests against gun violence over the weekend, bloodshed doesn’t come in isolated bursts of mass slaughter, it’s a constant urban reality.
• Highlights from the March for Our Lives: Students protesting guns say “enough is enough.”
Amy Klobuchar, the first woman to be elected U.S. Senator from Minnesota, has been been working faithfully toward little victories in Donald Trump's Washington. Now, she's turned her attention toward that unicorn of lawmakers all over the country--a sensible gun bill that can get around the National Rifle Association. She talks to the Atlantic's editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg about how this time might be different, and why she is taking Donald Trump at his word. They also discuss her tater tot hotdish recipe.
Consoler in chief has been a role that President Trump has been slow and somewhat reluctant to embrace — especially in contrast to his predecessor.
Interesting that they seemed to actually find someone to indicate that he had a tiny piece of empathy here when all other evidence seems to be to the contrary.
The ban's critics say it failed, but they're misinterpreting what it was intended to do to begin with.
Not as in-depth as I would have liked, but some interesting quick hit statistics. There are things we could do to prevent these occurences, but yet again it appears as if the almighty dollar will somehow win out in the end.