Mob Violence Study: Why and how Ferguson is ‘cannibalizing itself’

The reasons behind the violence in Ferguson, Missouri are entirely known and predictable. The reasons why it continues are also known. The solutions to stop community of Ferguson, Missouri from “cannibalizing itself” are readily available.

The Forensic Panel exists to answer the who, what, where, why and how to stop the unabated violence seen in Ferguson since August 9, 2014. But will President Obama, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and the media listen?

ferguson suicide

For a larger view click on the image. Cartoon by Ramirez.

The following is from The Forensic Panel:

Unabated riots and looting in Ferguson, Missouri continue to arouse anxiety in cities watching what appears to be a fruitless effort to douse the agitation. Adding to that, the State of Missouri and Department of Justice’s tentative, ambivalent response has failed to return the community to normalcy.

Forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner, M.D., tasked by New York state prosecutors in 2011 with studying mob violence and recommending approaches to it during riots that broke out in London, England, asserts that experiences of previous unrest provide ready solutions. In a 2011 analysis based on his work that was later published for ABC News, Dr. Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel, elaborated on the psychology and myths of mob violence and looting, why it spreads, and how to prevent it.

Key triggers to mob violence in Ferguson revive tragic mistakes in earlier riots in England, France, and elsewhere. Looting and violence typically perpetuate, notes Dr. Welner, when the media, political figures, and public authorities explain away violent and predatory behaviors as understandable anger and provide an intellectual cover to devolved criminality that bears no resemblance to free speech and protest.

“In the experience of The Forensic Panel’s practice, police shootings happen, and some are controversial. Those controversies that degenerate into a community cannibalizing itself are absolutely caused by news media that milks controversy, provokes the agitation of its audience, and brings a gasoline can to the scene,” Dr. Welner noted. “Heightened media interest invariably attracts provocateurs and criminal instigators in tow; when that press gasoline meets the manipulative lit match of crisis parasites like Al Sharpton and others who scheme to pit people against one another for their own political attention-seeking, distraction and profit, the explosion is predictable,” relates Dr. Welner. Such messages carry with them an entitlement that legitimizes lawlessness.

The solution for eliminating mob violence is for elected leaders, community leaders, teachers, parents, mass media and the police to first identify it as criminal deviance, rather than an expression of social change. “Really now, is a looter a civil rights activist? No, he just wants a TV set without having to work for it.”

Evidence from numerous communities demonstrates that publicizing the identities of looters and ‘knockout’ assaulters committing hate crimes over social media, shaming them for preying upon their own innocent neighbors, is a far more powerful deterrent than armed riot gear and arrests with brief periods in jail. Challenges Dr. Welner, “if every store camera, and every digital camera of residents filmed looters and rioters, and publicized their identities for the general public to take in their selfishness, and to reflect upon what kinds of families they came from, those who create and take advantage of lawlessness would be accountable and choose to behave themselves as they customarily can. Right now, the opposite is being done; a voyeurism to let anarchists vent, which betrays citizens of all ethnicities. That the news media is party to effectively goading and cheerleading this criminality is journalistic malpractice.”

Eliminating predatory social disintegration is necessary, Dr. Welner adds, for peaceful protest to flourish without provoking fear and overreaction.

Read Dr. Welner’s analysis here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson Slams Media for ‘Glamorizing’ and ‘Giving Platform’ to Ferguson Rioters



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