Mob mentality can come easily

A quick transformation into an angry mob shocked many people, but in the light of human history, it shouldn’t have.

There is something particularly vicious about mobs, and they are more prevalent than we think.

Back in June, Canadians and many other people saw how mobs operate, in the aftermath of the Vancouver Canucks losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins. The quick transformation of a fun-loving group of hockey fans into an angry, raging mob shocked many people, but in the light of human history, it shouldn’t have. Mobs have quickly formed for far less important reasons over the years.

Sometimes, a mob mentality can be created, even without a mob. In our modern society, where we get information very quickly, it is often too easy to jump to quick conclusions when hearing about a specific incident. Usually, conclusions are reached without a full knowledge of the facts.

Last Tuesday, a horrific crash took place in Langley City. Some comments on our website, via Facebook, suggested that the injured driver may have been texting while waiting to turn left onto Fraser Highway at 203 Street.

Other commenters with more knowledge corrected that suggestion, noting that the 19-year-old driver’s cellphone was in her purse. That back and forth discussion was important, because it corrected initial false impressions. But there are many occasions when it is very difficult to do so.

That’s why Mark Marohn, who has been accused of mistreating horses under his care, talked to Times reporter Dan Ferguson outside the courthouse recently, after his latest court hearing. Marohn is ready to accept the judgment of the court — but he is rightly upset that his two daughters have been indicted and shunned by many people for something that had nothing to do with them.

He is asking people in the community to lighten up and treat his daughters with respect. Some people have sent text messages to his daughters, saying they would be killed. One daughter was ostracized by some of her former friends in a pony club, he said.

“I don’t think it’s fair to dump on them,” he said.

He’s absolutely right. Whatever he did or did not do (and that is now in the hands of the court) is not their fault or their responsibility. They were teens at the time, and no one has accused them of any wrongdoing.

It’s also important to point out that not everyone turned their backs on them. Some people did offer assistance to the teens.

Whatever people may think of Marohn, his daughters deserve to be judged on their own merits.

Children, in particular, should not be shunned because of the actions of a parent. How is the treatment his daughters have received, at the hands of some people who should be responsible, any different from actions of the past, when accused witches or heretics were burned at the stake, or babies born outside marriage were called bastards? How does it differ from the actions of a lynch mob?

All of us need to take a deep breath and do plenty of thinking before rushing to condemn someone else.