Re: Operationalising Memetics and Jones

Robert G. Grimes (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 14:20:03 -0400

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 14:20:03 -0400
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: Operationalising Memetics and Jones

The concept of keeping certain things out of the paper reminds me of an
incident in Dallas, Texas, back in the early fifties. I was newly married and
we had our first child when the newspapers reported on a particularly grisly
rape where a nurse, who had been on a late shift, was awaiting a late bus and
some lunatic grabbed her, pulled her underneath a bridge, raped her and killed
her, leaving her body to be discovered later.

Well, the paper printed a lot of details about the crime, entirely too many for
most tastes. Then, the strange things began to happen. Another wild rape was
committed shortly after the story, then another and another. After awhile the
whole city was armed and alerted to the strange pathology that was going around
the town. An unusual number of sexual assaults were being reported. I had a
multiband receiver and commenced listening to the police calls during the late
night. Suddenly, there was a sharp increase in the number of incidents
involving window peeping, sexual assaults, etc. Mobs began reacting when
someone was caught during some criminal act of this type.

We became alarmed and finally, the FBI spoke to the newspaper (The Dallas
Morning News) and recommended that they cease writing of the sexual crimes as
it was "inflaming the crazies out there." (my words) The paper ceased
reporting such things almost entirely. But the wave of crime continued its
momentum and to increase for some time. My radio actually had an incidence
where there were seven gangs of citizen's chasing nude men, all at one time,
over different parts of the city. None of this was subsequently reported as
the newspapers had decided the FBI was correct in their assessment.

Racial overtones set in as it had been determined that the original crime had
been perpetrated by a Black American, and the interesting result was that some
of the citizen mobs consisted of Black American's chasing another Black
American offender, apparently incensed, partially, because of all of the
retribution they felt would be inflicted on the Black community as a result of
the one of their own committing an offense, which they apparently felt would
result in them suffering additionally through racial stereotyping. They were
unusually rough with their captured offenders. In those times it was an
understandable reaction.

"Citizen's Arrests" were being performed all over the city at the strangest
times of night. People were catching neighbors (who had lived by them for
years without suspicion) in their back yards, etc. and who would give strange,
unbelievable excuses for being caught there, i.e., one said, "he was waiting
for a bus!"

I personally purchased a pistol for protection during the height of this time
and shortly thereafter we experienced a prowler outside our bedroom window with
a shielded light (tape over the lens so that only a tiny slit was projected).
My wife awakened me but only after great effort to arouse me. I leapt out of
bed, totally naked, grabbed my gun and told her to call the police. I jumped
out the back door, pistol in hand, but the prowler had skeedaddled! Suddenly,
I realized that I could hardly walk in my bare feet because of the gravel where
I was moving and it dawned on me that I was limping, stark naked, and in the
night and that someone might shoot me! I quickly returned to the house.

All of the pistols and other sidearms were purchased from the local pawn shops
and the Dallas police stated, "It will take the criminals several years to
steal all of those weapons back and pawn them again." Finally, an episode
occurred which exemplified the height to which the fear and the concurrent
stimulation of offenders had risen, one family heard a knocking at their door
early in the evening and, in their fright, they simply shot through the door,
wounding a newspaper boy who was just collecting his route!

It was a relatively long period of time before the populace quieted down again
and the crimes (of that nature) decreased. The papers continued their policy
of not reporting the number and details until things "returned to normal" and
then muted the descriptions quite a bit. During this time, when all of the
folks were being chased and caught, it suddenly dawned on everyone what was
occurring. They hadn't been looking out of their windows at night! No one was
alert to who might be prowling about. When alerted by the scare, later mostly
by word of mouth, they became intensely aware of what was going on after dark
and discovered things that had probably been happening all of the time,
previously, but they just didn't know it.

It was a fabulous example of disturbed people being stimulated by the news of
other disturbed people and then a sort of "chain reaction" took effect. How
much of the subsequent crime was actually "stimulated" is questionable as I
personally think a lot of it was just due to the increased vigilance of the
populace as a result of their fear.

Regardless, it was a period that I will never forget as there were
"contagions" loose and it was very evident the city was hyper stimulated in
several ways. It was a frightening experience to see mass hysteria and,
apparently, sexual crimes growing at such a pace.

The "effects of positive feed-back" were extraordinary and I hope that I will
never see such scary examples of such things again.



Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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