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Death by Crowding


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In the aftermath of tragedies, it’s easy to focus on the assignation of blame. But how well do we understand the causes of crushing crowds?

One would think, given frequent duplications of these events, that enough preventive strategies would have been introduced to end the cycle. But if one trait sets apart the crowd crush from other disasters, it is persistent and harmful mischaracterization.

Time and again public discourse and media coverage pertaining to crushing tragedies has linguistically distorted the reality of what truly happens. Indeed, as the incident in Seoul began to weave its way into the online ecosystem of trending topics, common misnomers apportioning blame to the dead were already making the rounds: “panic,” “mob,” “stampede.”

A salacious rumour spread that the reason for the crush had been that the crowd of young revellers were charging to catch a glimpse of a local celebrity. You would be hard pressed to find any other man-made disaster where the demonization of victims is so easily tolerated.


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I was talking about this with a co-worker. I've never been in such a crowd before, so I haven't experienced the psychology of it all. Why would the crowd continue to push forward when people are screaming and being crushed? 

Edited by DieChecker
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