Domestic disturbances Page: 15
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timid, or even collectively cowardly. When in a crowd they
hesitate to commit themselves to a course of unrestrained
violence, though some of them might readily do so if they
thought there was a chance to escape arrest. Such a crowd
may be noisy and threatening, and if left to its own devices
is likely to commit assaults and depredations which will
excite its members to mob violence. But as long as the crowd
is kept well in hand by law enforcement agencies, its collec-
tive lack of daring remains its most predominant feature.
This reluctance to violence results from a collective sense of
reason, or fear of punishment if apprehended in violence.
Dispersing a crowd may prevent the formation of a mob.
25. TRANSFORMATION OF CROWDS INTO
MOBS. An apparent weakening of the forces of law and
order holding a crowd in check, though only momentary,
may be sufficient to transform a crowd into a mob. Crowd
emotions are often keyed to mob action by the forceful
harangue of a fiery leader, the appearance of a hated indi-
vidual or the accomplishment of a single act of violence.
26. MOB CHARACTERISTICS. A mob represents col-
lective rebellion against the situation that brought it into
being or that it believes exists. Individual judgment and
decision are temporarily subordinated to mob emotion. Unity
of feeling among members prevails to such an extent that
sheer force of numbers dispels doubts, fears, and questions.
Members of the mob are usually ready to join in any action
that will bring the results desired.
27. RIOT. A riot is a tumultuous disturbance of the peace
by three or more persons assembled together of their own
authority, with the intent mutually to assist one another
against anyone who shall oppose them in the execution of
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United States. War Department. Domestic disturbances, book, July 30, 1945; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96652/m1/21/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.