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Pack Mentality: The Dangers of the Mob Mindset


If you need a criminal attorney, Columbus Ohio has you covered

“If everyone else jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?”

Most of us have heard this saying at one time or another. It’s easy to get caught up in a mob mentality, and many of us do it in day-to-day situations without even knowing it. Have you ever laughed at a joke you didn’t find particularly funny because everyone else was laughing? Have you rooted for the home team at a sports bar even if you had no interest in the game?

Although it’s a natural human response to fear being singled out, going with the flow and mimicking the behaviors of those around us can lead to some poor decisions.

When mob mentality goes wrong

Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-Columbus-OhioWhen a large group of people becomes angry or excited, it only takes a few individuals’ actions to sway the entire crowd. The more people that become engaged in an activity, the more people will join in.

One of the classic examples of mob mentality gone awry is the Los Angeles riots of 1992. What started as a civil disturbance in South Central Los Angeles in response to the Rodney King verdict eventually spread across the entire metropolitan area as a full scale, six-day riot. After it was over, more than 11,000 people were arrested.

High profile soccer games are also a classic example of mob mentality. It only takes a few excited fans to leap over the barrier after the game-winning goal to prompt the entire crowd into storming onto the field, sometimes injuring and trampling others in their wake.

Examples of mob mentality in Columbus

Ohio isn’t immune to these kinds of incidents. The biggest example of this is the Ohio State University riots of 2002.

After beating Michigan, Columbus’ perennial arch-nemesis, the Buckeyes had completed a perfect 13-0 season. The celebration was immense, with nearly every campus house engaged in a wild party. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before things got out of control.

The crazy celebration began spilling into the streets, and excited fans that had been drinking since early in the day began setting fires and flipping over cars. Eventually, riot police arrived and dispersed the crowd with tear gas. When it was all over, 20 cars were damaged and 70 arrests were made.

More recently, after OSU’s National Championship victory, fans flooded onto High Street and began setting dumpster fires. Not wanting a repeat of 2002, local police quickly tear gassed the crowd and dispersed the fans.

Need a criminal attorney? Columbus, Ohio lawyers Yavitch & Palmer can help.

When police arrest people during riots and civil disturbances, it can sometimes be difficult to tell who’s actually breaking the law, and who’s trying to just get away from the chaos. Even if you did commit a crime, as you might have guessed, ‘everybody else was doing it’ is not a permissible defense in court.

That’s why, if you’ve been arrested during a riot or celebration, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney from Yavitch & Palmer to review every aspect of your case, and work to get your charges reduced or completely thrown out.

Make an appointment at our downtown Columbus office using our online contact form, or call Yavitch & Palmer today at 614-224-6142.

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