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I'm surprised I need to explain this.

I made the comparison to lynching for two reasons. Firstly, because I think the basic social DNA is the same, though the phenotype is different. To whit: an angry crowd jumps to a snap decision and demands rapid, extra-legal retribution. In the case of lynching, the crowd is a group of people in a single place whose only mechanism of demanding this retribution is face-to-face and physical. In our situation, the crowd is a dispersed group of people who can interact in relatively anonymous digital channels, and do not have as clear a mechanism to gather together physically and demand retribution in that fashion. (Luckily - this practical difficulty hampers the groupthink tendencies of the internet.)

Secondly, I made the comparison to lynching because it is an effective rhetorical point. Lynching is something which most people today would find shocking and unacceptable. By drawing and defending a comparison between lynching and this current behaviour, I am attempting to reframe and destabilise this modern trend of calling for blood. People that find lynching shocking might eagerly support calls for the firing of Ortiz or Heymann, but if they are confronted with a logical link between the two activities, they may reconsider their motives and actions.

And broadly I am doing all this, as I have explained, because I think while this behaviour is relatively innocuous now, it's growing teeth, and could turn ugly.




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