To Kill A Mockingbird: Mob Mentality By: Joey Ryan

A scene found at most marches today. The raised fist has become a symbol of resistance and change around the world.

At whichever protest, there is this week we can see one thing very clearly. How quickly a couple people can change a crowd. A crowd can go to a peaceful slow march to a frenzied violent charge in mere seconds. Just in the first month of 2017, we have seen this many times. From the protests in Washington DC against our current president to the Black Lives Matter protests in various cities. We have seen protests turn from peaceful marches to cop beating mobs. In this essay, I will explore mob mentality through various examples and the book To Kill a Mockingbird. All of these examples show how a crowd can forget about consequences and hide in anonymity.

The Reign of Terror after the French Revolution shows the concept of Mob Mentality turning violent almost to the letter.

A very telling example of anonymity turning people insane come in the form of the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution. During the Reign of Terror people were beheaded by guillotine in front of large crowds always crying for more blood. These crowds acted as one yelling, chanting and cheering body throughout the executions. This draws a parallel in To Kill a Mockingbird by the way the mob in front of the jailhouse refers to themselves as one. This is shown in this quote “You know what we want,” (Lee, 172) The emphasis in that quote is put on we. They are not individuals anymore. They hide behind anonymity and collectivism. However, this is how Scout manages to dissipate the crowd as well. By calling out Mr. Cunningham and throwing off his protection he is exposed and is like a deer in the headlights. He knows what he was doing was bad but assumed he would not get in trouble. But now he is and people now know it is him.

“Terror is nothing else than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible.” ― Maximilien de Robespierre
This is the point where protests become anarchy

This theory of a single individual changing the mood of the entire protest is exemplified almost perfectly by the recent riots at the University of California Berkeley. Originally a protest on the UC Berkeley campus against speaker Milo Yiannopoulos but soon turned into an all-out riot. The violence included breaking into buildings, setting fires, beatings with rocks and flagpoles, throwing rocks at police, windows being smashed, and roman candles being thrown in windows. Now, what caused all this violence? The university statement may shed some light on the situation.

“This university was essentially invaded by more than 100 individuals clad in ninja-like uniforms who were armed and engaged in paramilitary tactics” - University spokesperson
It seems where these people go fires and riots go with them

Who were these individuals? They were the ANTIFA or Anti - Fascists. ANTIFA acts under the false impression that President Donald Trump is a fascist. They claim to be anti - fascists while they enforce the fascist idea of limited speech. They accomplish these means through extreme violence including beatings and firebombings. This again shows the same similarity to To Kill a Mockingbird. A couple people will rile up a crowd and make them into one. “You know what we want” (Lee 172) “The Royal We” will take over then where a couple individuals will make decisions and everyone will follow thinking everyone made the decision. They do not fear consequences for they believe that in a crowd they are safe and no one will remember them in that huge crowd. Again, they think they are anonymous but they not. Especially in this age of technology a simple video can get people arrested, tried and convicted easier than ever before.

The headless suit has become a symbol of ANONYMITY after the rise of the Hacker/Activist group known as anonymous

However, anonymity is not always bad. A great example of this is the internet. On the internet, you are free to express your ideas, no matter how controversial without fear. So many great ideas have been dreamt up on the internet. However, that protection may soon be gone. As we speak congress has been review some FCC (Federal Communication Commission) rules regarding service providers not being able to collect your data. If those rules are killed then AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Sprint and many others will be able to see everything. From when you use Google to when you order Jimmy Johns or when you buy your next pair of shoes, they will know and will be able to sell your personal information to data mining companies. Now I urge all of you to take action against this potential damaging ruling that will affect all of us. Now how can we protect these rules? Contact your legislators and urge them to save our protections.

Works Sited:

Martin, Michel. "If Congress Kills FCC Privacy Rules, 'Little' Would Protect Consumers From Providers." NPR. NPR, 26 Mar. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

"Maximilien de Robespierre Quotes (Author of Virtue and Terror)." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

"Reign of Terror." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 15 May 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

Mele, Thomas Fuller and Christopher. "Berkeley Cancels Milo Yiannopoulos Speech, and Donald Trump Tweets Outrage." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

Created By
Joseph Ryan

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