Sunday, October 6, 2013

Group Dynamics: A Commentary On The SUV vs Motorcycle Band Incident.

When the recent incident made the news, of an SUV being surrounded and chased by a band of motorcyclists, I took a moment to watch the footage and related newsbroacasts, and was appalled. Let alone the horror of the situation itself, I was outraged by the general hesitation of the media to see fault where it laid.

It is really just a matter of numbers: one against many.
Would a passerby or small group deliberately instigate a confrontation with a larger one? Let alone a man driving with his wife and child? No.

What we have here is simple group dynamic:

First, there is a group of individuals, preferably males, preferably YOUNG males, who feel their confidence boosted by their numbers. Furthermore, the individuals feel their confidence boosted by group unity (insignias?) and equipment (in this case, motorcycles).

Now, within this group, there will always be a more volatile individual, one which, particularly defensive, will feel particularly aggressive when within the group. This volatile individual will then over-react at a perceived slight. Why? Because he feels over-confident within his group and entitled to respect, and anybody whom he perceives as not addressing him with said respect is therefore disrespecting him.

The volatile individual at this point will initiate a confrontation with the passerby (who only chanced to be at the wrong place at the wrong time). The passerby will naturally feel intimidated by the volatile individual, let alone the numbers standing behind him. He will panic, and try to run for his life - which is precisely what the man behind the wheel of the SUV did.

Now, the other members of this group, though not directly involved in the confrontation, add to the situation by sheer presence. You see, if the volatile individual were to hurt the passerby, their fault lies in standing there and allowing for it to happen - even keeping an eye out, as it where, for incoming law enforcement. If, by the odd chance, the passerby where to hold his ground and hurt the volatile individual instead, the members of this group would then step in to overwhelm him with numbers (this being the chase which develops during the length of the footage).

Hence, the other members of this group are not without fault. If ANYTHING, these members should have the rightful intuition (if not rightful honour) to halt the volatile individual before he does something stupid. They know who he is. Everyone in a group of three or more knows who the volatile individual amongst them is, yet they prefer not to do anything about it. Why? Because he is part of their group. It is like having a dog which is out of control. What does it matter if it threatens others so long as it is no threat to us? He won't bite. Not really.

Lastly, I saw at one of the news broadcasts that the motorcycle club issued an apology stating they do not encourage nor endorse acts of violence. That is fine, but an apology without reparations is just  words recited. The club knows who was there that day, they know who this volatile individual is. And unless they turn this man in to answer for his actions, they are protecting him sill, thus only perpetuating the problem.

It is to be remembered that, until not too long ago, there were (or maybe still are?) serious and dangerous crime organizations linked to motorcycle groups, here in the very state of New York. And even though this club may be a mere recreational association, it inevitably evokes the fears forged by these criminal bands, especially when they commit acts such as what was witnessed nationwide last Sunday.

Like I said, I am outraged that the media promotes such hesitation in finding fault where it lays. It is disturbing to live in an age where media overshadows common sense, and technology eclipses our understanding of human nature, specially when it comes down to the same group dynamics which have been since the beginning of time.

For all the video footage and commentaries, there is only one truth which says it all: one against many.