August 31, 2005

950 Iraqis Die in Stampede.

No bomb is needed to kill hundreds of people once they are gathered in a big crowd. Merely yelling that there is a bomb is devastatingly effective. It happened in Baghdad, but it could happen here or anywhere that a crowd gathers in a tight space.
"They started crashing into each other, no one would look back or give a hand to help the ones who had fallen. People started running on top of each other, and everyone was trying to save himself."

25 comments:

Brando said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Brando, that's an intentionally stupid misreading. You're a troll. You've proved it now. Shape up or face deletions.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, screw the warning. I'm not leaving trash like that here.

Brando said...

Ann, the tone strikes me as off and a little disconcerting, given the context. What is your point?

Paul said...

Survival is a basic instinct, even at the expense of our fellow humans, though we are quite sad about it afterwards.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's unreal. I wouldn't have thought that a stampede could kill that many people. So sad.

Ann Althouse said...

I think what people like Brando want to have said is that today's stampede was caused by Bush's war, that the conditions for this tragedy were specific to Iraq. But my observation is that this is not so. Causing a stampede is a terrorist technique that could be done in all sorts of placed. We should be aware of that.

Meade said...

...conditions for this tragedy were specific to Iraq.

No more so than for a Who concert in Cincinnati or a stoning of the devil ritual in Mecca.

SippicanCottage said...

As lawyers like Ann know, yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater is verboten in western societies for a reason. Panic situations are to be avoided at all costs. "Fight or flee" is the most basic of human reactions, so primal it is more a brain stem reaction than a conscious thought.

The idea that all things bad must be lain at the feet of your opponents is troglodytic. The investiture by many of every unfortunate event in the universe onto George Bush's head strikes me as a return to throwing maidens in a volcano hoping to appease angry gods.

There is a kind of glee that is accompanying any reportage of bad news, real or imaginary, that I find distastful in the extreme.

Many seem to think that attempting to harm their political adversaries is the end that justifies literally dancing on the graves of innocents.

Kudos to Ann for 86ing it.

Brando said...

Ann, the point of your original post was quite equivocal, and that is what I was pointing out. Although I think Paul's interpretation of what you said is quite succinct and profound, as I suspected, you weren't trying to make Paul's point after all.

You were rather trying to disabuse anybody from the temptation of connecting this horrible, tragic stampede to the other tragedy in Iraq, namely, the bungled American occupation. Anybody who read the news closely, however, could have seen the the two were (most likely) not connected and, incidentally, that was my conclusion as well.

I find it quite disgusting that you brought this issue up in such a disrespectful, self-serving way. Dear god, ann, 950 people died in the most horrible way imaginable, most of them were women and children, and your top concern is trying to anticipate some flaky leftwing criticism and make sure Bush doesn't get bad press? Your willingness to carry water for Bush has no limits does it?

Ann Althouse said...

So what do you think, folks? Should I delete that sort of garbage or not?

Wasteland Fan said...

It seems to me that at least the magnitude of the panic is directly related to conditions that are, if not unique to Iraq, at least specific to places like Baghdad, where near-daily bombings and consistent, deadly terrorist activity deeply ingrain in the population a real and immediate panic at the mention/allegation of a suicide bomber.

I just can't imagine panic of the sort that would result in this level of devastation and death sweeping through a crowd at, say, a NASCAR event in Indianapolis or Richmond if someone were to announce a claim that there was a suicide bomber. I'd guess a good portion of the crowd does one of the following: (1) rolls its eyes, (2) tongue clicks at the poor taste of such a "prank" or (3) looks around confusedly, but not in a panic, because the notion of a suicide bomber isn't something that results in an immediate "fight or flight" reaction due to the fact that it's a wholly uncommon (and certainly not recent) occurrence. I seriously doubt the crowd immediately beats a bone-crushing retreat from the area.

While there are certainly a number of places in the world like Baghdad in which one could imagine a tragedy of this sort occurring where a big crowd has gathered (or similar tragedies where big crowds simply get out of control, as the link in Imead's comment illustrates), it strikes me as a bit fanciful to suggest that the same dynamic that is at work in Baghdad prevails in Madison or that the threat of terrorist activity (as real as it is) is as immediate "here" and "anywhere that a crowd gathers in a tight space" as it is in Baghdad. It seems to me the awful effectiveness of this particular terrorist attack was due, in large part, to context, both physical and geopolitical.

Meade said...

Delete, delete, delete. Once again, Brando displays disgusting, disrespectful, self-serving comments meant only to personally insult and annoy.

leeontheroad said...

So what do you think, folks? Should I delete that sort of garbage or not?

If the later, non-deleted comment is any indication, the deleted one was bunk.

I appreciate that comments here are do not tend, in the main, to off-topic rants. And I woudl guess, based on your post about rants at that other blog, you'd prefer yours to differ in tone and substance.

IOW, i don't think it's necessary to delete bunk, but I'm not sure there's a clear line between bunk abd trolling.

ploopusgirl said...

Not for nothing, Brando, but Ann's original post had nothing to do with left wing agenda anticipation or defending Bush. Unless I've lost my ability to read, she reported the incident? Lighten up..

SippicanCottage said...

Nah, we would never trample over our brethren to save ourselves.

Cheap dvd players, though? Gangway!

ORANGE CITY, Florida (AP) -- A mob of shoppers rushing for a sale on DVD players trampled the first woman in line and knocked her unconscious as they scrambled for the shelves at a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would say delete. The constant off-topic political vitriol is getting old.

Brendan said...

Don't delete. I liken it to flag-burning. Let the cretins reveal themselves.

Paul said...

Leave it, in some circles Bush is taking the rap because it's in Iraq. It is absolutely worth discussion in several contexts, as it has been here.

Sloanasaurus said...

It is the most tragic of tragadies - so senseless. The terrorists have driven a stake of fear into the hearts of all these people and driven them to madness.

More proof that we should continue fighting the terrorists somewhere other than here.

West Coast Independent said...

Ann

I find Brando’s rants and argumentative comments tiresome. I enjoy reading your blog and the comments others. When the comments section of some of your Iraq related posts were invaded by Brando and others who were clearly only interested in attacking you, I was impressed with the amount of patience you displayed. Frankly, you don’t have to prove to me that you are a decent person and allow others to continuously berate you.

Frankly, Brando contributes nothing to your blog. You could ban him and his pals.

Robert said...

Delete him.

Goesh said...

It is your intellectual property, Ms. Ann, do what you will. You have a high calibre of readers and if you allow too many Brando-type
posts, the quality of this fine Blog becomes diminished - sort of like a wino in the lounge of the Hilton. I haven't read any articles about the stampede, but I recall one headline that alluded to a religious ceremony of sorts. That said, it has nothing to do with Bush or the occupation because said ceremonies were occuring before the US was even a nation. But, what the heck, ban him like a looter. You've never slapped a cat scratching your couch?

knoxgirl said...

When it's off-topic, delete. (To me, this was off-topic--I don't even know what Brando's point is.)

If the topic is Bush or the war, then fine, of course there's going to be trolls. In that situation everyone should just ignore them and they'll go away. But lately it seems like every post is being hijacked into pro/anti Bush/war bickering.

I think you're doing the right thing-- give people a warning, then delete.

Ann Althouse said...

Actually, I don't have a way to ban people, only to delete comments. I'm sorry the comment thread on this post has gone astray. No need to talk about Brando anymore. The subject is the stampede — and how easy it is to hurt people without using any weapon at all by exploiting the fear of bombs. A big lesson for all of us to learn is how dangerous a panic can be and how our own fears can be used to attack us.