To explain the concept of mass panic.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes10.1
10.1 The Nature of Mass PanicOVERVIEWThe onset of mass panic can be chaotic and dangerous. Whenpanic sets in, people oftentimes set aside their own values andself-expectations and adopt those of the larger crowd.Some of the more highly publicized cases of mass panic haveincluded:• Hurricane Katrina• L.A. Riots• The Beltway Sniper case• 9/11• The Summer of SamAn ineffective police response will only worsen a mass panic, aswas clearly seen in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
To list and define the various types ofmass panic.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes10.2
10.2 Types of Mass PanicOVERVIEWThe method of containing and de-escalating a mass panic isdetermined in large part by the underlying factors that led to thecrisis. There are four types of mass panic:• Fear-driven panic• Desperation-driven panic• Anger-driven panic• Excitement-driven panic
10.2 Types of Mass PanicFEAR-DRIVEN PANIC• No panic will spread quicker if left uncontained.• People tend to become very egocentric as they shift intosurvival mode to escape the source of the fear.• Containment must be attempted quickly by the police througha high visibility presence to minimize the fear level.• EX: 9/11, yelling “fire” in a theater
10.2 Types of Mass PanicDESPERATION-DRIVEN PANIC• Often seen following a natural disaster. Spurred on by a lack ofresources.• If not contained, can lead to violence as panic increases.• Otherwise peaceful and law-abiding people may loot, riot, oreven kill as a result of their heightened egocentricityoverpowering their rational judgment and decision-making.• This type of panic will be accelerated if there is a perceivedloss of control on the part of the police and other responders.• EX: Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans)
10.2 Types of Mass PanicANGER-DRIVEN PANIC• Typically violent and dangerous.• Rather than heightened egocentricity, participants may adoptthe values and expectations of the larger group. Otherwise non-violent people may engage in violent and destructive activitiesas moral and ethical controls break down.• Police may de-escalate through the use of force. Their use offorce however may potentially cause a peaceful demonstrationto turn into a anger-driven panic.• EX: L.A. riots, WTO riots in Seattle.
10.2 Types of Mass PanicEXCITEMENT-DRIVEN PANIC• Often begins as a celebration following some event, such as asporting event.• Like the anger-driven panic, this type of panic occurs whenindividual participants adopt the goals and expectations of thelarger group, disregarding their own moral and ethical standardsand controls.• Can turn violent if not contained quickly. The police canactually prevent this type of panic through effective proactivetactics, such as saturating potential hotspots with personnel.• EX: Super Bowl celebration in the city streets following the gameturns violent as people begin to destroy property.
To summarize the psychology of masspanic, and to define relevant factorssuch as the Schelling incident,deindividuation, and contagion.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes10.3
10.3 Psychology of Mass PanicTHE SCHELLING INCIDENT• Typically seen in an anger or excitement-driven panic.• Named after Thomas Schelling (1960), the first to describe thisdynamic of panic.• It is an incident that acts to initiate the panic and causeparticipants to abandon their own moral and ethical controls andbehave in accordance with the goals and expectations of thelarger group.The L.A. Riots of 1992: Incident: The jury’s acquittal of the officerscharged in the beating of Rodney King.• Schelling incidents can be something as simple as the sound ofglass breaking, or perhaps the use of force by police. It serves asa signal to participants that they will not be acting alone.
10.3 Psychology of Mass PanicDEINDIVIDUATION• When individual participants immerse themselves in the groupto the point of losing their sense of self-identity and becominganonymous participants with less personal responsibility for theirown actions.• The group reaches a COLLECTIVE MIND, and once it does,individuals who have willingly set aside their individuality begin toconform their behavior to the perceived norms of the group.• People are highly suggestive in this state. Deindividuation canspread rapidly, a process known as CONTAGION.• Like the Schelling incident, typically seen in an anger orexcitement-driven panic.
10.3 Psychology of Mass PanicFEAR AND DESPERATION-DRIVEN PANICS• Whereas anger and excitement-driven panics tend to beconfrontational toward the police, fear and desperation-drivenpanics tend to at least start out as non-confrontational toward thepolice.• Rather than DEINDIVIDUATION, participants in these panics tendto experience HYPER-INDIVIDUATION. Rather than adopting thegroup’s perceived norms and objectives, they take on aneveryone-for-themselves mentality as they shift into survivalmode.• These panics are typically initiated by a perceived loss ofcontrol. Whereas participants in an anger or excitement-drivenpanic are running toward a target or objective, participants in afear or desperation-driven panic are running away from a sourceor circumstance.
10.3 Psychology of Mass PanicSUMMARYAnger and Excitement-drivenPanicsFear and Desperation-drivenPanicsInitial demeanortoward policeConfrontational Non-confrontationalLoss of control Intentional UnintentionalOnset of panic/motivating factorExternal/ Schelling incident Internal/ loss of controlIndividualpsychologicalresponseDeindividuation Hyper-individuation
To describe the police response tomass panic, and to explain whypreparedness, command andcommunication, and contingencyplanning are important.Learning ObjectivesAfter this lecture, you should be able to complete the following Learning Outcomes10.4
10.4 The Police ResponseOVERVIEWThe police response to mass panic, or potential panic, is criticalto containing and de-escalating the event. Either an under-response or an over-response can have deadly implications.Examples:• L.A. riots of 1992: The L.A. under-responded by focusing oncontaining the riot to a geographic area and not moving in tode-escalate. It became the deadliest riot in U.S. history.• Hurricane Katrina (2005): The lack of response by the NewOrleans Police Department set off a desperation-driven riot thatled to the deaths of many.• Seattle WTO riots of 1999: The over-response by the SeattlePolice Dept. turned a planned peaceful demonstration into ananger-driven riot.
10.4 The Police ResponseELEMENTS OF THE POLICE RESPONSE• PREPAREDNESS• COMMAND AND COMMUNICATION• CONTINGENCIES• RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
10.4 The Police ResponseELEMENTS OF THE POLICE RESPONSE• PREPAREDNESSThe less control the police perceive themselves has having, the higher the level offorce they will resort to. Being prepared for all potential outcomes increases theirperceived level of control, and allows them to contain and de-escalate with lessforce.• COMMAND AND COMMUNICATIONAll components of the police response must have open lines of communicationand accurate intelligence and information. Commanders must know what’sgoing on inside the hot zone in order to make appropriate decisions.• CONTINGENCIESThe police response must include plans for any eventual outcome. Mass panicsare fluid and unpredictable. As circumstances change, the police must adjusttheir tactics in order to avoid exacerbating the situation.
10.4 The Police ResponseELEMENTS OF THE POLICE RESPONSERULES OF ENGAGEMENTThe rules and guidelines that determine the collective demeanorthe police will take toward the participants in an active orpotential mass panic.• Anger or Excitement-driven panic: The goal of the police response inthese cases is to make it readily apparent that the cost of participationwill be high. The police proactively address the potential panic with astrong show of force and quick action to prevent a Schelling incidentfrom eliciting violent or destructive group behavior.• Fear or Desperation-driven panic: The police response must befocused on preventing the level of fear or desperation from rising. Theymust respond IN force rather than WITH force. They must be non-confrontational, and make use of public relations to bring calm.