It was a burst of hysteria that shows our capacity to generate our own terror even in the absence of actual terrorists, especially when the authorities are actively spreading the flames…. Decades of sociological research have shown that, no matter how many Hollywood clichés to the contrary you may have seen, it is rare for a disaster to produce a mass panic; spontaneous cooperation and emergent order are the norm. But there is little spontaneous cooperation or emergent order in [David] Wallace-Wells’ story – not until the apparent danger has passed….
Why? We’ll need more than one man’s account before we can get anything approaching a full answer to that question. But one theme running through Wallace-Wells’ report is that the people policing the airport intervened in heavy-handed ways that made the situation much worse.
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