Universal Triggers for Crowd Violence

Crowd Reactions to Sublethal Weapons: Universal Triggers for Crowd Violence

James P. Bliss, Corey Fallon, Nicole Headen, & Ryland C. Gaskins III
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia

Since the end of the cold war, military forces have increasingly
been required to manage crowds of people, some of which may quickly
turn violent. Frequently, crowd researchers identify “flashpoint” variables:
environmental or social triggers that cause a crowd to become hostile. The
goal of this research was to identify potential flashpoints, to assist the
simulation and training communities in crowd representation. Researchers
exhaustively reviewed crowd literature, surveyed subject matter experts in
crowd control, and analyzed anecdotal crowd events. Survey results
indicated that crowd weapons, alcohol and drugs, crowd commitment, and
crowd desperation may be flashpoints for violence. However, none of
these variables strongly varied with culture. Anecdotal results revealed
additional flashpoint variables, such as aggression and the use of auditory
stimuli by control force members, instigators within the crowd, and
general masculine culture. These findings agree in part with results from
existing literature, and have implications for peacekeeper training.

ай Enid Montague