Why Peaceful Protestors Turn Into Agitators

“Hysteria is an audiovisual contagion. You have to see and hear someone exhibiting symptoms in order to find yourself replicating those symptoms. See it enough, and it becomes you. This is hysteria’s essential and most terrifying threat: Anyone is susceptible.” 

Quote by: Nashyiela Loa Zavala, Psychiatrist | The Expulsion of Evil and Its Return: An Unconscious Fantasy Associated with a Case of Mass Hysteria in Adolescents | International Journal of Psychoanalysis, October 2010

Are we a selfish species?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” By: Martin Luther King

People generally seem to have a very visceral reaction to damaged property and any sort of protester-incited violence or destruction. Why is that, and is that changing? It’s pragmatic. No one wants to see their own property damaged. If you are a business owner, who puts your entire livelihood into a business, you probably don’t want it to be the sacrificial lamb of a movement.
One evening when I was going out, researching for my book on the 1992 LA uprisings, I ended up in this South LA shopping center where there were a couple businesses burning. There was this older black man standing. He was watching everything unfold and told me, ‘See that over there; that’s my record store.’ He said he would give it all up to see something positive come out of this.
In other words, he meant that things have to burn to get attention, to get people to realize that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the system. Yes, he might be a victim of the looting because his shop was burning, but he was willing to make that sacrifice to hope that the movement would advance in a positive direction. Not everyone might feel that way, but there are some people who do.” Excerpt from There isn’t a simple story about looting

Commentary: Hysteria effects youth to young adults, mostly those who are border-line ‘PTSD’ because they have experienced anxiety due to the environment of a broken family, systemic discrimination, or a catastrophic event. Many have endured or witnessed physical and/or psychological abuse in the community, in person or viewed it in the news media. ‘Mob mentality’ is a cousin to ‘mass hysteria’. Fear causes two responses ‘fight or flight’. The riots occurring all over the country are a manifestation of a futile fight against a future fear they perceive closing in on them. The only cure is a therapy that maintains a clear division between what culture accepts as normal and what has become a ‘corrupted state of mind’. But if the ‘thin blue line’ separating them blurs, there is a danger that the hysteria will continue.

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