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.


Vote For Joda For State Representative District 30

Why Allow New Apartments In An Overcrowded School Zone?

Roy Exum: Who Do You Trust?


As a lifelong educator, I have been privileged to meet many talented graduates who have taken their place in leadership of our community. These former Mocs have received strong educational experiences ... (click for more)

I have to ask why the city of Chattanooga chose to put a 60/40 HUD backed apartment complex on Highway 58 across from Lynda’s Produce in a three school zone that is already overloaded. The ... (click for more)

About this time last month a 25-year-old kid with a fresh degree in “public policy” left me a phone call hoping to get my views. Joda Thongnopnua is the Democratic candidate for the State House ... (click for more)


Opinion

Vote For Joda For State Representative District 30

As a lifelong educator, I have been privileged to meet many talented graduates who have taken their place in leadership of our community. These former Mocs have received strong educational experiences and are now in careers that will lead in business, education, and many other fields for the betterment of Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee. One of those talented people is ... (click for more)

Why Allow New Apartments In An Overcrowded School Zone?

I have to ask why the city of Chattanooga chose to put a 60/40 HUD backed apartment complex on Highway 58 across from Lynda’s Produce in a three school zone that is already overloaded. The three schools, Central, Brown and Harrison Elementary, are all overloaded and on a morning run all the lanes of 58 are packed with traffic. Now I can only guess what that might add to the mix. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

WWTA Releases Timetable That Would Have Ooltewah Sewage Treatment Plant In Operation By 2025; Public Meetings Set At Central High

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority has released a timetable that would have a new sewage treatment plant in Ooltewah in operation by 2025. A request for a site at Mahan Gap Road goes before the Planning Commission at Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. It goes to the County Commission Zoning Committee on Dec. 12 and the full commission on Dec. 19. The WWTA also ... (click for more)

Downtown Post Office Finally Getting Handicap Ramp

Chattanooga's Downtown Post Office, after some lawsuits and numerous complaints over the years, is finally getting a handicap ramp. Federal Judge Sandy Mattice said the complaints had increased in recent months and the General Services Administration agreed to fund the project at the historic building on Georgia Avenue. The judge said, "It's a beautiful building, but it's ... (click for more)

Sports

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Opens Ticket Deposits

Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club opened ticket deposits on Monday for its inaugural 2019 season of professional play in USL League One. Deposits ensure soccer fans get to pick their preferred seats early for group, season and individual tickets. By placing a deposit, fans will also have access to priority seating for the new soccer-specific stadium being built for the 2020 season. ... (click for more)

Baylor, GPS, CCS Advance To State Soccer Semifinals

Baylor traveled to Briarcrest in Memphis on Saturday to compete for a Division II-AA final four spot. After play to a 0-0 tie in the first half, Baylor would find itself down 1-0 in the 63rd minute when Anna Strong scored off a corner kick. That lead did not last long as Ara Rhodes scored the game tying goal one minute later off an Avery David corner kick. Two minutes later, ... (click for more)