Don’t follow the hammer

By Sandi Soendker
managing editor


A recent news story reported that corporate India is in disbelief after a nutted-out mob of laid-off workers lost their minds and bludgeoned their CEO to death. The boss – head of the Indian operations of Graziano Transmissioni, an Italian-headquartered manufacturer of car parts – died of “severe head wounds.” Other managers were beaten, but survived.

According to media reports, the attack followed a long-running clash between the factory’s management and workers who wanted better pay and permanent contracts.

The wounds were inflicted by dozens of crazed employees who had been canned by the company.   

Police said they were waiting outside of the factory as a negotiation was going on inside. The boss had summoned some workers to cuss and discuss. One report said more than 150 workers who were waiting outside apparently heard a call out from the inside.   

That’s all it took to send them rushing inside. Chaos took over and someone clobbered the boss with a hammer.

Now, the way this happened is likely how all mob killings go – several want to inflict death from the git-go. Others tramp along behind them mindlessly, following the hammer.

In cases of mob mentality, people acting in a group are capable of losing their personal accountability in an instant. Brain on. Brain off.

We’ve watched it happening a lot here in the U.S. lately. Maybe not as violent as clubbing your CEO to death, but potentially destructive. For example, look at the freaked-out, electronic mouse-pushing herd that is rushing from one investment to another and, with a  click, taking millions in money from one place and putting it someplace else in a split second. Look at spot fuel shortages and the lines of panicked gas-buyers rushing to top off their tanks so they can drive to the mall across town.

Why the heck is that? OK, so we are herd creatures, like any flock, any pack, any horde. The difference is we can reason. So why don’t we?

I am reminded of the quote from “Men in Black” movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Jones’ character said: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals.” LL