Normalcy Bias and Salman Rushdie

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lklawson

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I'm sure some of you by now have seen news of the attack on author of "The Satanic Verses," Salman Rushdie. Some of the things that just pop out are:

  • An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced.
  • The assailant ran onto the platform "and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. At first you're like, 'What's going on?' And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten," Savenor said.
  • "We thought perhaps it was part of a stunt to show that there's still a lot of controversy around this author. But it became evident in a few seconds" that it wasn't, she said.
So a crowd of 2,500 people just stood around thinking, "This can't actually be happening. It is surely something other than what my eyes are telling me!" while a 75-year-old man was apparently stabbed over and over in front of their very eyes.

This is the very definition of Normalcy Bias likely with a dose of Bystander Effect thrown in for good measure.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

isshinryuronin

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So a crowd of 2,500 people just stood around thinking, "This can't actually be happening. It is surely something other than what my eyes are telling me!" while a 75-year-old man was apparently stabbed over and over in front of their very eyes.
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This is the very definition of Normalcy Bias likely with a dose of Bystander Effect thrown in for good measure.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
Yes, these two psychological states show a weakness in the human psyche. Beyond these, however, IMO there is the more basic human trait of belonging to the "watchers" or the "doers." I think it can be seen individually whether one is in a group or not. A propensity for action vs inaction, regardless of what others may do. Is this a prerequisite for courage? Maybe there's a connection. Maybe it's also related to being predator vs prey, or that in-between guard dog that protects the prey from the predator. Deep stuff.
 

isshinryuronin

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We've put too much time and effort into teaching people not to fight back, not to get involved, just be a victim.
This is not confined to the dojo. If a 3rd grader punches a 4th grade bully in the nose for self-defense both get the same punishment. Despite good Samaritan laws in some states, helping out a fellow citizen can cost you in money or even jail time. Society has encouraged non-action. (Maybe a government pushed trend to make more non-thinking, non-doing malleable sheep?)
 

Alan0354

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I saw the clip a few times before, it's quite a ways to get up on the stage, so it's not as if people can come to his rescue in a split second.

Also, people are there to listen to him, not there to fight. It's likely to take a second or two to register what's happening and then the question whether they want to get up there or not. REMEMBER, they are not body guards, they don't have their eyes open to look out for this kind of things.

What is not clear is whether he has body guards since he know there's a bounty on his life. Then it's more the question if he has body guards, where the hell are they!!! They are truly the ones to be blamed.

I don't think there should be a discussion how the audience should respond. Hell, I most likely would NOT go up there unless he's a member of my family or friends. It is NOT my responsibility to protect him. You guys seem to try to put responsibility on the audience. We pay money to listen to a speech, not there to risk our lives. I am pretty sure most of the common people do not have a HERO syndrome that they need to step up to save the day.

I blame the extremist, that's where the blame should be.
 

Argus

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Was there no-one else on stage with him? Those are the only people I think one could judge.

I saw the clip a few times before, it's quite a ways to get up on the stage, so it's not as if people can come to his rescue in a split second.

Also, people are there to listen to him, not there to fight. It's likely to take a second or two to register what's happening and then the question whether they want to get up there or not. REMEMBER, they are not body guards, they don't have their eyes open to look out for this kind of things.

What is not clear is whether he has body guards since he know there's a bounty on his life. Then it's more the question if he has body guards, where the hell are they!!! They are truly the ones to be blamed.

I don't think there should be a discussion how the audience should respond. Hell, I most likely would NOT go up there unless he's a member of my family or friends. It is NOT my responsibility to protect him. You guys seem to try to put responsibility on the audience. We pay money to listen to a speech, not there to risk our lives. I am pretty sure most of the common people do not have a HERO syndrome that they need to step up to save the day.

I blame the extremist, that's where the blame should be.

I kinda agree with regards to the crowd. They're probably too far away to climb up on stage and help within a realistic time frame, as well.
If there was anyone else on stage nearby though, I think the judgement is fair. They'd be both close enough to help and have, likely, more interest in helping / connection with the victim.

It's hard to know what one would do without experiencing the situation directly. What would I have done? I don't know. I think my instinct would be to help -- because witnessing someone assaulting someone else, especially someone weaker, frankly, makes me mad. Like, what right do you have to think you can take someone's life like that? I can't claim it's smart from a personal safety or legal standpoint, as by helping someone else, you risk serious repercussions (either you succeed, and no good deed goes unpunished, or you fail, and probably get seriously injured or killed yourself), but it's hard for me to tolerate such BS, especially if I perceive it to be life threatening to someone. I'd likely be motivated to just run up and knock the guy out, were I near enough to help, and aware enough to realize what's going on within the window of opportunity to interfere. But I can't presume to know if that's how I'd actually act, because frankly, it's all speculation until you actually experience such a thing, and learn for sure how you would react.
 

Holmejr

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Security- either asleep at the wheel or complicit. Considering the bounty
 

Alan0354

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Security- either asleep at the wheel or complicit. Considering the bounty
That's where I would look into. I have not heard anything whether he has body guard. It's hard to blame on normal security of the place, it's before the speech, I don't think people are exactly in the on guard mode yet.

Like I said before, blame on the extremists, they are the ones that are evil. then blame the body guards if he has any. as for audience, it's easy to say "I would have done that" sitting on a comfy chair and type on the computer. I bet it would take a few seconds for people to even register what they see, then to react to it. Not everyone is master of MA, people do have second thoughts whether to engage. AND, what if the attacker has a gun, there goes your MA. even the attacker only has a knife, that still change the whole balance even if you are a master of MA. So don't be judgemental and Monday morning quarterbacking. Be in the situation before you can say.
 
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mograph

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It's bigger than just fighting: we've become a spectator society, which I'd say started with television. Think of it: how much of peoples' lives (for those who have access to technology, anyway) are spent watching other people do things? ... or interacting in a predetermined manner with things created by someone else? How often are we fed scripted entertainment, to the point where we cannot tell the difference between real and fake?

We need more direct engagement with the real, sensory world. We need to recover our own agency and stop watching other people use theirs.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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It's bigger than just fighting: we've become a spectator society, which I'd say started with television. Think of it: how much of peoples' lives (for those who have access to technology, anyway) are spent watching other people do things? ... or interacting in a predetermined manner with things created by someone else? How often are we fed scripted entertainment, to the point where we cannot tell the difference between real and fake?

We need more direct engagement with the real, sensory world. We need to recover our own agency and stop watching other people use theirs.
Maybe. It wasn't until the late 50s that TVs were a household item (by 55 half of the households had one, but not a majority yet, by 1960 90% of households had one). The big incident that paved the way for the bystander effect, kitty genovese's murder, where supposedly close to 40 people watched her get raped and murdered without acting, happened in 1964.

Whether or not that's accurate (there are disputes about the number of witnesses, what the witnesses could see, and whether or not any of them called the police and the police were the ones that ignored it, I don't think any of it can really be proven 60 years later), within the next few years study started on the bystander effect, and found it to be a real thing. This was all within 5-9 years of TV becoming popular, which I don't think would be enough time to have everyone become 'spectators', especially since from my understanding even once everyone had a tv, TV was not a ubiquitous, constant thing back then like it is today.
 
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lklawson

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Also, people are there to listen to him, not there to fight. It's likely to take a second or two to register what's happening and then the question whether they want to get up there or not. REMEMBER, they are not body guards, they don't have their eyes open to look out for this kind of things.
Spectator culture has overridden Good Samaritan responsibilities.

What is not clear is whether he has body guards since he know there's a bounty on his life. Then it's more the question if he has body guards, where the hell are they!!! They are truly the ones to be blamed.
"Somebody else will take care of it." Bystander effect and distributed responsibility syndrome.


. Hell, I most likely would NOT go up there unless he's a member of my family or friends. It is NOT my responsibility to protect him.
This is about the only part that I actually do agree with.

(mobile)
 

Bill Mattocks

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During the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there were numerous examples of people choosing not to be passive victims, regardless of the final effects of their self-defense. However, it does seem as though it takes a great deal to break through the veneer of complacency and fear that surround us today. I think several people in this thread have given good reasons why this is so. I'm not sure what the cure for it is.
 

Alan0354

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Spectator culture has overridden Good Samaritan responsibilities.


"Somebody else will take care of it." Bystander effect and distributed responsibility syndrome.



This is about the only part that I actually do agree with.

(mobile)
Yes, I would expect they have security and/or body guard that is PAID to protect him. I think I would tend to help if I see someone trying to beat up an old person on the street or in the bart etc. Those famous people should know better and take more precaution.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I think I would tend to help if I see someone trying to beat up an old person on the street or in the bart etc.
I stil remember my long fist teacher told his students, "If you have a good reason to fight, but you didn't, I'll beat you up when I find out". All my life, I respect him for saying that.

We all have 2 choices:

1. Pretend we didn't see it, leave safely, and feel ashame for the rest of our lifes.
2. Jump in to help, take the risk, and feel good for the rest of our lifes.

IMO, MA training without "靘 (Xia) - knight spirit" is meaningless.
 

mograph

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Maybe. It wasn't until the late 50s that TVs were a household item (by 55 half of the households had one, but not a majority yet, by 1960 90% of households had one). The big incident that paved the way for the bystander effect, kitty genovese's murder, where supposedly close to 40 people watched her get raped and murdered without acting, happened in 1964.

Whether or not that's accurate (there are disputes about the number of witnesses, what the witnesses could see, and whether or not any of them called the police and the police were the ones that ignored it, I don't think any of it can really be proven 60 years later), within the next few years study started on the bystander effect, and found it to be a real thing. This was all within 5-9 years of TV becoming popular, which I don't think would be enough time to have everyone become 'spectators', especially since from my understanding even once everyone had a tv, TV was not a ubiquitous, constant thing back then like it is today.
I wasn't addressing the Genovese murder: in general, we've become a spectator society. I recall stories of the men in our family (pre-war) making their own fun and getting into trouble, knowing their neighbours, doors unlocked. They spent more of their time doing things rather than watching other people do things, at a distance.

The spectator effect has always been with us when there is a disconnect between individuals; it's a symptom, not a cause, of a loss of a shared community. I believe there are many causes of a loss of shared community, and one of them is the lack of direct engagement with individuals and our environment, replaced with indirect engagement moderated by software, algorithms, scripts, and screens.
 

Alan0354

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I stil remember my long fist teacher told his students, "If you have a good reason to fight, but you didn't, I'll beat you up when I find out". All my life, I respect him for saying that.

We all have 2 choices:

1. Pretend we didn't see it, leave safely, and feel ashame for the rest of our lifes.
2. Jump in to help, take the risk, and feel good for the rest of our lifes.

IMO, MA training without "靘 (Xia) - knight spirit" is meaningless.
I would find another school!!!

This might work in old China and HK back in the days. Here? You have guns and all. You better think twice before getting involve. I don't even think people think like this in China and HK today.
 

JowGaWolf

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I'm sure some of you by now have seen news of the attack on author of "The Satanic Verses," Salman Rushdie. Some of the things that just pop out are:

  • An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced.
  • The assailant ran onto the platform "and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. At first you're like, 'What's going on?' And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten," Savenor said.
  • "We thought perhaps it was part of a stunt to show that there's still a lot of controversy around this author. But it became evident in a few seconds" that it wasn't, she said.
So a crowd of 2,500 people just stood around thinking, "This can't actually be happening. It is surely something other than what my eyes are telling me!" while a 75-year-old man was apparently stabbed over and over in front of their very eyes.

This is the very definition of Normalcy Bias likely with a dose of Bystandeeer Effect thrown in for good measure.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
Some people just can't process violence very well. Mentally and emotionally they can't work out the danger or reality of it. My guess is that the next couple of generations will have a better sense of it with school shoots being a norm. There are a lot of kids out there who have been in shooting compared to the older adults. I don't think they will have that same issue of just watching. My guess is that they will have a very serious perspective on it.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I would find another school!!!

This might work in old China and HK back in the days. Here? You have guns and all. You better think twice before getting involve. I don't even think people think like this in China and HK today.
This is why over 200 Texas cops waited for 77 minutes doing nothing and let children to be killed. Not even one Texas cop had the courage to take the risk to save those children.

When a cop has the idea of de-escalation, avoid trouble, run away, just watching, ..., the world become a sad place to live.
 
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Alan0354

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This is why over 200 Texas cops waited for 77 minutes doing nothing and let children to be killed. Not even one Texas cop had the courage to take the risk to save those children.

When a cop has the idea of de-escalation, avoid trouble, run away, just watching, ..., the world become a sad place to live.
NO!!! That's completely different. They are PAID to do the job, not the rest of us.

Now make sure you be the hero next time when you see something like this. Don't just talk. I'll cheer you on.
 
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