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Why Do People Riot?


In light of the riots that took place in West Baltimore beginning last week, many of us tend to reflect on the causes of such violent behavior. The riots in Baltimore was out of a response to the death of a 25 year-old African-American male after sustaining a spinal cord injury under police custody. But why the mass pandemonium?  Riots are often due to a form of mass psychology in which people want to feel part of a larger group and some then resort to violent behavior. Crowds are usually made up of people who want to preserve the peace with a few individuals who are violent. Mob behavior is often contagious. When looting and violence erupts, it leads to a release of moral norms; those who would otherwise be peaceful, have the protection of anonymity and are allured by the idea of being part of something meaningful.


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