Human behavior is defined by genetics and environment. Dysoxy-Ribo Nucleic Acid, DNA, has effects upon human development. During the development of the body, it directs whether we are susceptible to certain diseases, have birth defects, have certain eye and hair color, etc. Environmental influences are developed by parenting, social interactions, educational influences, reading, physical and mental experiences.
In law enforcement, officers make estimates from their observations of human behavior or deviant behavior at the scenes of social events, crime scenes or in other circumstances. Let’s define the actions of human beings reacting to stimuli in a group.
Mob mentality is define by Miriam Webster in this way:
Definition of mob
- 1: a large or disorderly crowd; especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action
- 2: the lower classes of a community : masses, rabble
- 3chiefly Australian: a flock, drove, or herd of animals
- 4: a criminal set : gang; especially often capitalized : mafia 1
- 5chiefly British: a group of people : crowd
Definition of mentality
- 1: mental power or capacity : intelligence
- 2: mode or way of thought : outlook <the imperialist mentality of the nineteenth century — John Davies>
Definition of mobocracy
- 1: rule by the mob
- 2: the mob as a ruling class
Dictionary.com defines it as mass hysteria:
- a condition affecting a group of persons, characterized by excitement or anxiety, irrational behavior or beliefs, or inexplicable symptoms of illness.
Also called epidemic hysteria.
Other sources refer to it as herd mentality, urban mentality, group mentality, peer-pressure, and other names.
The actions of one person entirely can be different then the same person’s reactions in a group. The following video is an example:
Most people have a herd mentality. Another way to put it is that people act differently when peer pressure is present. This example is one of a police officer stopping someone for a traffic violation. The incident is peaceful until a crowd gathers:
Another example of pack mentality complicated with alcohol consumption led to this:
Dr. Wendy James, Ph.D. explains it this way.
Baltimore was faced with riots due to the actions of mob mentality.
Law enforcement departments are the defenders of peace, security, and order in communities, states and the nation. Whether local, state or federal, the agencies have sworn to uphold the law and to protect its citizens.
When protests, rightfully organized and peacefully acting, turn to mob mentality driven by individuals within the crowd(s) disrupts the peace, it is no longer a protest. It is a riot, a criminal action when people are harmed and/or property is damaged or stolen. It is necessary to return the chaos to order without harming those who have peaceful intent. The challenge is to determine and to protect the peaceful members of the protest.
When laws are broken, arson is committed, thefts occurred, and/or people are injured or killed during the protest, the department(s) must broadcast verbally, electronically that the protest is no longer legal. The agency should warn peaceful persons to flee the scene while officers take control of offenders.
Law enforcement in Ferguson did that in the video from this link. They broadcast that the protest turned into a criminal riot and that all participants should leave the area. Tear gas dispensed helped to motivate the crowd to flee.
The NOPD uses horses to disperse crowds. Warning! Some unruly or intoxicated individuals sometimes use cigarettes, knives, even guns to harm the horses. Take appropriate actions to protect both the horses and the officers. Most times an arrest is made. Sometime mortal action is necessary.
A city, township, county/parish, state or national government demands chaos to be returned to order. Most people demand that actions taken to return chaos to order be peaceful. As officers, we know that enforcement of those actions sometimes requires physical and mental disruptions to incapacitate the offenders.
Your department trains you to conduct your duty with professional demeanor and actions.
Remember: Your family and friends expect you to return home safely. Be vigilant, smart and professional. Protect yourself and your fellow officers, also. In other words, “Watch your brother’s/sister’s back. Maintain 360-degree caution for weapons, dangers.