The Logic of Hysteria: A Hometown Look from A Thousand Miles Away

Sunday, February 25, 2018

There was a shooting recently in my hometown, in the parking lot of the mall. It made the national news and I was reading the user comments on the story. Someone was giving their experience about how they heard some rounds fired near the Sears. The next comment was, “They still have a Sears?”


So what the heck happened? The police say there was never an active shooter, that there were no shots ever fired.

That’s insane, then how was the entire mall put into lockdown, how did they get to that point? Why did so many people who were there claim they heard gunshots? I don’t think those people are making it up. I think there are a number of possible reasons they make those claims.


I think it’s possible they heard something that sounded like gunshots, maybe sounded similar to gunshots but weren’t. Maybe the adrenaline was so high and the fight or flight instinct so intense that they genuinely believe they heard gunshots when there actually weren’t any. It’s possible one person said they heard shots and everyone else decided - subconsciously - they must have heard them, too. Or maybe it’s a police conspiracy, but my money’s not on that.


What I really want to know is how everyone became so hysterical. From what I can piece together from the news, folks who were at the mall, and from second-hand reports of folks who knew folks at the mall: a fight broke out between three dudes in the Sears parking lot (yes, we still have a Sears) one of them pulled out a gun, someone else in the parking lot saw them pull the gun, shouted “GUN,” and ran back inside. Then from there the word spread, possibly like a game of “Telephone,” that there is a person firing a gun in the mall and everybody needs to hide. 


I’m sure many of us are thinking the same thing: would this situation have escalated to the point it did if it were not for the recent shooting in Florida? I don’t think we can really say, but it’s hard to ignore the association the two might have. While I would love to say that, no, the reaction would not have been so extreme if not for a the recent tragedy, I don’t think that would be completely fair to the reputation of human nature and groupthink.


While I mean no disrespect to those involved, the entire story piques my curiosity. Is it better to be safe than sorry, vis a vis, is it a smarter idea to take the word of the herd and cover your head in the Sephora stock room, or is it smarter to break formation and judge the situation for yourself?


Greg Rambin Jr.

Elizabeth Baker Has Been Fighting For Us

My fellow Republicans of District 2, I have good news for you. We have a citizen who has been working for us at local and state levels to protect our county assets (fighting the Gardenhire bill), to ensure our children have opportunities of public education  (fighting for the rights of the students on Waldens Ridge to not be excluded from their county school in Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Fortunate To Have Greg Martin

The residences of the third district in Hamilton are fortunate to have had Greg Martin as our county commissioner since 2016.  Greg Martin served District 3 as the representative on the Hamilton County School Board from March of 2012 to November of 2016. Greg and his family have attended the schools in third district of Hamilton County and Martin’s wife, Sheila, is a teacher ... (click for more)

Person Killed, 2 Injured In Accident On Suck Creek Road Saturday Morning

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and traffic investigators were on the scene of an accident that occurred at approximately  8:45 a.m.  near the 2100 block of Suck Creek Road. The accident involved two vehicles, a van and a car. Reports at this time are only preliminary, but two people sustained injuries and were transported by HCEMS to a local hospital. ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Mongar Succeeds Massey As Lady Owls Softball Coach

In an absolute twist of fate, Kerilyn Mongar has taken over the Ooltewah High School girls’ softball program following the resignation of Jon Massey shortly after the 2018 state tournament. Massey has since been named boys’ baseball coach at Silverdale Baptist Academy and Mongar, who coached at East Ridge for three years, now has the task of continuing the Lady Owls’ highly ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Resigns

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced the resignation of wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger today.  Eslinger, who spent nine seasons as head coach of his alma mater, informed Wharton of his decision this morning.  "It was always my hope that Heath Eslinger spend the rest of his career leading our wrestling ... (click for more)