From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon Jan 07 2002 - 20:22:57 GMT

  • Next message: "RE: CRASH CONTAGION"

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 15:22:57 -0500
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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 10:54:57 -0000
    >Hi Everyone,
    >I wondered how long it would take Paul and others to make this comment. A
    >few problems with it though. First is the assumption of a causal
    >relationship between widespread dissemination of Sep 11 attacks and this
    >boy's actions- is there any evidence yet to confirm that this boy heard
    >about bin laden through the media, as opposed to friends and family etc
    >(teenagers are notoriously low consumers of news- including in the US), and
    >thus open to interpersonal influence.
    Well from what I've read from AP wire reports on the kid had read a paper in one of
    his classes about 9-11. I haven't found anything on how he was exposed to
    news of the 9-11 events, but even if not directly from media sources (TV,
    radio, newspapers) wouldn't dissemination from friends, family or school
    faculty be considered indirect media influence? I wouldn't consider
    simplistic cause/effect relationships anyway, because in human behavior one
    can look at multiple causes (starting with proximate "how" questions and
    ultimate "why" questions). Media exposure (direct or indirect) is at best
    one of many possible factors including multifarious personal factors such as
    disposition, attitude or whatever. Evolutionary and contagion factors might
    take a back seat to personal factors.

    As investigation proceeds more will come out on the news wire which may help
    people understand the circumstances of this tragic event.

    Very important would be access of small planes to people with personal
    troubles, or even worse than the case with this kid, actual al-Quaida or
    other terrorist cell affiliations.

    The building which was struck by the plane wasn't damaged very much, so
    small planes may not be as much a threat as jumbo-jets filled to the brim
    with fuel, but someone could load a small plane with explosives or whatever
    making the impact more severe. This case in Tampa appears the outcome of a
    troubled kid having access to a small plane, but someone with training and
    affiliations with a terrorist network could do much worse.
    > Saturation coverage is no answer to
    >this, because the second problem then emerges- such a view ignores why many
    >others haven't done this. In other words if it is merely the dissemination
    >of such actions that cause them to be imitated by others why haven't we
    >more attacks, especially given the level of coverage globally?
    Good question. It may not be a case of contagion *per se*, but as IIRC Paul
    Marsden asked would this particular tragic event have taken place if 9-11
    hadn't happened?
    >With Phillips-like research, in which such views are rooted, the 100%
    >increase in people flying a plane into a building deliberately would be
    >proof of cause and effect, but I see no evidence of this. Paul predicted
    >such copy-cat attempts pretty soon after the original attack, but several
    >months on there has been this one case.
    There may be multiple factors involved as with any other case of human
    behavior with whatever outcome. Seeing jumbo-jets hitting the WTC on TV or
    hearing about it indirectly *may* be but one component in a very complex
    web. The note which was found at the scene makes one wonder, though I don't
    think this (or any other case of human behavior) to be a simply explained
    matter. Beyond understanding what led to this tragic event, other questions
    about domestic safety arise. It think the recent event with the shoe-bomber
    guy is also a serious concern.
    >How long does media coverage
    >resonate with audiences with contagious effect? In other words what is the
    >period in which such contagions remain powerful? Is it only on immediate
    >exposure, does it seep into people to reemerge weeks, months, years later
    >what? There's no coherence to this kind of contagion idea to my mind.
    People have a capacity for memory storage and can ruminate for a long period
    of time before action is taken. Maybe it only impacts a small number of
    people in a manner leading to such horrid outcomes and is not likely to
    become widespread, though the spread of a notion is one thing as contrasted
    with access to means of carrying out something bad. There could be lots of
    people with not so good ideas floating around in their heads, but hopefully
    they won't find access to means of carrying out behavior with disastrous
    >This poor young lad obviously had particular problems that led to this. He
    >also had access to flying lessons, and some ability to fly a plane. One of
    >the problems with contagion theories is the problem of context- from social
    >ones (e.g. why most people don't go on killing sprees after watching
    >Born Killers- we know it's wrong, or at least that we'd probably get
    >caught), to logistical ones (in this case getting a plane, and having a
    >skyscraper to hit).
    That's a good point.
    >On a mor polemical note, again the risk of this kind of argument- even
    >its clear relevance to memetic debates- is not seen by its proponents.
    >solution is there, IF such things are being caused by information
    Or dissemination among other factors leading to tragic outcomes. Many causes
    lead to one effect.
    >There is only one, something both US networks and the US
    >public (if the Pew Center surveys are anything to go by) agree with,
    >censorship. Yet censorship of al-jazeera didn't stop this lad.
    There should be some protection of certain critical information from
    reaching the public too soon. I don't think we should be privy to detailed
    knowledge of troop movements in advance which could jeopardize military
    operations. Let me know after it happens. Implied here is trust that
    military brass will make the right decisions.
    >Oh and a belated happy new year everyone!
    > > ----------
    > > From:
    > > Reply To:
    > > Sent: Monday, January 7, 2002 1:18 AM
    > > To:
    > > Subject: Re: CRASH CONTAGION
    > >
    > > In a message dated 1/6/2002 7:56:33 AM Central Standard Time, Paul
    > >
    > > <> writes:
    > >
    > > Hi Paul.
    > >
    > > ABC news here in the USA reported this evening (1/6/2002) that the boy
    > >
    > > left a 4 paragraph note applauding the September 11 attacks and
    > >
    > > support for Osama Bin Laden. The target building was also a financial
    > > office
    > > tower. The evidence strongly indicates that the idea of flying a plane
    > > into a
    > > building had propagated as a result of previous ideologically-motivated
    > > crashes, and not as a result of some prior accidental crash or a prior
    > > crash
    > > whose cause remains unknown. I don't think anyone would suggest that
    > > Florida crash would have happened without the prior ideologically-based
    > > crashes of September 11, and without the immense publicity that those
    > > crashes
    > > gave to the ideologies involved and to the idea of deliberately crashing
    > > planes into buildings for ideological reasons.
    > >
    > > --Aaron Lynch
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > > Kas Graham of kindly forwarded a link to today's
    > > > news report of what appears to be an example of contagion (thank you
    > > Kas).
    > > >
    > > > I wonder if anyone seriously thinks that this would have happened had
    > > 9-11
    > > > not occurred?
    > > >
    > > > from BBC; Jan 6, 2002
    > > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > A 15-year-old boy has died after the small private plane he was
    > > > crashed into the side of a skyscraper in Florida.
    > > >
    > > > The teenager was supposed to be having a practice flight, but took
    > > in
    > > > the single engine Cessna without permission, crashing into the 28th
    > > floor
    > > of
    > > > the Bank of America building.
    > > >
    > > > Lesson
    > > >
    > > > As the young pilot, Charles Bishop, started his usual flying lesson,
    > > his
    > > > instructor told him to do a pre-flight check and walked away: but
    > > instead
    > > > the boy took off.
    > > >
    > > > Under-16s are not allowed to fly alone on the US, so the coastguard
    > > sent a
    > > > helicopter to stop the plane.
    > > >
    > > > The teenager ignored the coastguard's signals to land, but it's not
    > > > known whether he flew into the building on purpose or couldn't avoid
    > > > crashing.
    > > >
    > > > Reminder
    > > >
    > > > The FBI say the crash is nothing to do with terrorism, but it's a
    > > reminder
    > > > of the 11 September attacks when two hijacked planes slammed into the
    > > side
    > > > of the World Trade Center.
    > > >
    > > > Luckily there were very few people in the building at the time and no
    > > others
    > > > were hurt.
    > > >
    > >
    > > ===============================================================
    > > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    > > see:
    > >
    > >
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