Collective Moral Panic/Mass Hysteria

I’ve only experienced one case of mass hysteria first hand.  It was in Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, IL in 1980.  After a day when when our company had received a series of three (3) immunization shots.  Towards the time when lights out would occur, one of our company’s recruits all of a sudden fell into a convulsion.  Within minutes, approximately twenty (20) other recruits were exhibiting similar behavior, and as this number grew, more members of our company began complaining of lightheadedness, slowly sliding to the floor or taking to their bunks.

I can recall, as I observed these events, and listening to the murmurs that it was the immunization shots we had received which were the cause of what was going on, feeling as if I, too, was going to succumb to whatever was afflicting my fellow company members, my stomach somewhat nauseous and my head somewhat light.  But as I stood in our barracks watching all this go on, I knew that there was actually nothing physically wrong with me, that if I had been well mere minutes before, I was well now.  And I was.

Navy medics were summoned to our barracks to attend to whatever malady was affecting our company, and it was determined that only the initial individual who had fallen into a convulsion was actually physically ill, and it was not because of the shots we had received.  Within thirty (30) minutes of this episode beginning, our entire company was back on its feet smoking and joking, with the exception of the initial individual who had fallen into a convulsion.  Every other company member had simply been exhibiting psychosomatic symptoms.

I relate the above story because of the collective moral panic, or collective obsessional behavior, currently gripping our nation in response to the Sandy Hook shootings.  This collective moral panic is being exhibited across the United States in the form of calls for more draconian gun control laws.  But it is not a gun control problem which the United States is suffering.  What we are experiencing, in these foolish calls for more gun control, is similar to my boot camp experience, a mass irrationality/hysteria, which is effecting even current gun owners, such as Willliam C. Davis of Los Fresnos, TX.

My own personal and immediate reaction, though, was to take a large-capacity ammo clip and pound it down with a hammer. My ranch rifle works fine without it, and it was stupid to have. I don’t need it, and I don’t think anyone does.

It is as if those individuals shot in Sandy Hook have infected not only the minds of gun control advocates, but those who currrently own guns.  They are all suffering from a collective obsessional behavior, calling for more gun control, which will not cure what is not the problem.  Too bad there is not a vaccine to prevent this.

William C. Davis quote obtained from here.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/11 at 09:34 AM
  1. Many people are still very primitive, reptilian even.

    Best to just stay back out of their way, let em claw each other to death, then shoot the survivors.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  11:01 PM
  2. Many people are still very primitive, reptilian even.

    Don, your point is articulated quite well in
    Daniel Greenfield’s essay The Civilized Savage.

    Posted by John Venlet  on  01/13  at  11:09 AM






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