And The Best Story of the Year Is ...

12-19-2020:  “Boy (2) Abandoned at Mississippi Goodwill”

Maybe you haven’t heard about that recent headline in the news lately, but lots of people have. Lot’s of people have read the headline and:

 … just had to shake their heads (with no clue why)

 … were outraged (with no clue why)

 … have seen this too many times in the past and knew what was in store for the poor boy

 … had many negative thoughts towards the child’s parents … and -- uh oh, you did too, well aren’t you just the perfect little thing you big know it all, good thing you aren’t judgmental, get real already

What hit you the most about this story, you know, in your emotions  (yes guys you obviously have them too now, right?). I didn’t know how to react at first, but I know I was going to try to make the case that I actually admired (in a sense) the parents for their realization that they couldn’t properly care for the young kid, that he deserved better than what they were capable of providing (things like love, security, maybe even food and shelter), and at least they weren’t beating the crap out of him (that happens to thousands of kids every day). I might go back and see if what I was going to say was true enough to post, but as it stands right now I was wrong… and you were too and I hope that offends you, you were WRONG and you are wrong about things every day and I’m not sorry that you have to hear it from me first, but it’s true and I hope that bothers you, unfriend me please.

Whether I was wrong or right about my opinion and observation, I WAS DEFINITELY WRONG about what I think is very important about it … the truth!

Disclaimer, I’m not really the person that you want to try to learn much from… if you’re into professionals, or doctors, or teachers, or whatever. I’m just Chris, a relatively uneducated man according to most people, I graduated High School, had a crap-load of life happen to me, then 2020 biological warfare hit the globe in the form of a covid-pandemic … and it drove me nuts, partly because I couldn’t control anything that I felt I needed to. I think I’ve escaped 2020 with the most mental clarity than I’ve ever experienced, but maybe not, time will tell and so will you, tell me when I’m nuts.

My point from the main story is that most people that heard about it, or actually took the time to read a real article about it were rightly outraged but for the wrong reasons, you know, over-emotional, or outraged or something else.

To me the ‘obvious takeaway’ was that no child in the world should have to experience abandonment in it’s purest form like this. The young boy is missing many simple things that a child really needs in life, and then gets abandoned a couple weeks before Christmas on top of that … that was the thinking behind my outrage.

I’m a ‘right-wing religious conservative’ as many would label me, some of that is based on certain values, some of it is because I tend to follow news from a few sources of media so I keep feeding myself the same ego-stroking sensationalism that I love and enjoy … maybe. I know that after I read the original story on Fox News I scrolled down past ads straight to the comments section, this what I read:

 … Judgmental, Ignorant me writing nonsense because I think I know something worth sharing to the world even though I’m completely ignorant and have no understanding of my own putrid words.

 … That poor poor poor poor boy, poor poor poor

 … This happens every day, and statistically speaking 1 out of blah blah blah blah

But which, if any of the hundreds on nonsensical commenters knew one sliver of the truth? My point is this—these 2 sentences were pulled from the same USA Today article:

“Two suspects accused of abandoning a 2-year-old boy at a Goodwill donation outlet in Southaven, Mississippi, are facing federal kidnapping charges, U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant's office announced Thursday. “

A few more sentences down explains:

“Prosecutors allege the boy was kidnapped as a part of a scheme that started with an attempt to blackmail his mother into prostitution.”

But wait, what about the first reporting’s of the news where it was all about how the boy’s mother had decided to abandon him?

What does that say about our initial reaction to the first story? To me it says that we are so clouded by our own egos and ignorance that it’s too easy to condemn someone else prematurely, because we are quick to make decisions, poor intelligence derived quick condemnation, but I might not be correct either, but at least make the effort to know why you feel the way you do before you want to condemn someone with your heart, maybe just offer a bit of grace instead of our ignorance when we don’t know facts…even though your ego wants to tell you that you know all about it.

But one more quick point, I was once told by a non-family loved-one that I was a ‘slave to fashion’, that was about 30 years ago, she was spot-on, but rather than ending it there I wished she had followed it with something like this…

Merriam-Webster’s Definition of herd mentality:

“the tendency of the people in a group to think and behave in ways that conform with others in the group rather than as individuals “. Then the followed it with this example:

“Stock investors, riveted by recent market gyrations, need to resist emotional responses and the herd mentality when investing …”— Ken Schachter

Don’t lose the point by focusing on the actual quote, but the fact that he mentions “emotional response” led me to google “herd mentality and emotion”

There was a short decent article written in non-fancy words (for someone like me) that gave me some better insight, but I don’t want you to lose focus on the actual words that she defines below, but rather take-in the definitions themselves …

“There are a number of explanations for mob mentality within social psychology. These include:

*** – when people are part of a group, they experience a loss of self-awareness.

*** – when people are part of a group, they can lose their sense of individual identity.

*** – being part of a group can lead to heightened emotional states, be that excitement, anger, hostility, etc.

*** – behaviours that are usually seen as unacceptable suddenly become acceptable when others within a group are seen to be carrying them out.

*** – people feel anonymous within a large group, which reduces their sense of responsibility and accountability.

*** – being part of a group creates the perception that violent or unacceptable behaviour is not a a personal responsibility but a group responsibility.

The larger the group or crowd, the more likely that there will be deindividuation and diffusion of responsibility.

It is generally believed that everyone is capable of this mob mentality.  However, research does suggest that some personalities or circumstances make it more likely.  For example:

Adolescents who lack a stable family can gain a sense of identity when part of a group.”

 -- The Psychology of the Mob Mentality By Dr Nicola Davies, healthpsychologyconsultancy on August 9, 2011

Smart people understand that most people fall into some type of Heard, or Mob, or Demographic but most people don’t realize that they are stuck in the various heard that we are in.

Other smart people have taken that knowledge and figured out how to manipulate people across many herds by exposing us to images, videos, songs, articles (and other things that I’m too simple to realize) that will incite enough of an emotional response that most people in those herds will do what they want us to do. Maybe things like…

 … buy their products

 … Love something or hate something

 … Love someone or hate someone

Don’t just blindly love or hate, know why something is worthy of your desire, your love, your hate, your emotional state … it’s possible for you to hand your emotional state over to some smart people that you’ve never met because they know how to manipulate you. You and I are manipulated every day, especially you, and I hope that offends you… at least enough that you won’t dismiss this post as some random dude that thinks he has everything figured out, because clearly I don’t, and neither do you.

Read the title again

“And The Best Story of the Year: “Boy (2) Abandoned at Mississippi Goodwill”

It’s sad, and it’s not the best anything, but it was helpful to make my point.