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Crowds and Alcohol: (Two things that affect moral judgment)
Posted by Mathax, Dec 25, 2009. 2057 views. ID = 3058

Crowds and Alcohol

Posted by Mathax, Dec 25, 2009. 2057 views. ID = 3058
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This is a piece that I wrote for a College Class. The style is Literary Analysis
This post has been awarded 12 stars by 3 readers.

When people are faced with moral dilemmas, several things can help decide the outcome. Not just your moral fiber and judgment, but also crowds, and alcohol. These and other things like them affect your judgment in different ways.

A crowd can help decide the outcome of events. Crowds and mobs can get people swept up in emotion. One person may not even consider doing something when they are alone or with one or two people. Yet when they get swept up in a crowd, they find themselves yelling and screaming along with everyone else.

The short story called, Shooting an Elephant, (Orwell, 1936) is about a young man in India in the 1920's. He was called by the police to deal with a ravaging elephant. The young man was interested and went to investigate. He was going to see if he could simply contain the elephant until his handler arrived. Before he could do this, the elephant killed a Burman (native). He then sent for an elephant-hunting rifle to defend himself with. He went after the elephant and the Burmans start following him, planning to get the meat off the elephant after he killed it. By the time he found the elephant, he was followed by about two thousand people. He ended up shooting the elephant because that's what the crowd wanted him to do. He said, “I had done it (killed the elephant) solely to avoid looking a fool”. If the crowd wasn't there, then he probably wouldn't have shot the elephant.

A crowd can make people do interesting things. In the Bible, in the book of Matthew, Chapter 27, Verse 11-25, the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was questioning Jesus. His conclusion was that the people had brought Jesus before him because they were envious and that Jesus had done nothing wrong. The crowds, stirred up by the chief priests and magistrates, kept on yelling to crucify him. “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person.” Go crucify him yourselves. Some people speculate that if they were in Pilate's place they would have made a different choice. However, unless they have been in a similar situation, then they can't know.

A crowd can make someone lose their inhibition. Another thing that can make someone lose their inhibitions is alcohol. Alcohol can make people do things they would never dream of doing in their right mind. In a NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) television episode called, The Truth is Out There, five Naval Petty Officers named Gordon, Bowman, Morgan, Carter, and Wong are friends. The other four petty officers played a trick on Wong. They were all legally drunk, and Wong ended up running over Gordon who organized the prank and who was dressed as an alien. The four officers who were left alive tried to cover up how Gordon died.

During the investigation, it came to light that Gordon had $40,000 dollars which he got from an inheritance chack. In the end, it turned out that Wong knew that it was a prank and used it as a way to kill Gordon for his money without the rest of their buddies finding out. Bowman, Carter, and Morgan eventually came clean because “they couldn't live with it.” Wong killed Gordon because he was greedy, but he probably wouldn't have had the courage to kill him if he wasn't drunk. Gordon wouldn't have put Wong in the position if, one, Gordon had not been drunk, and, two, if Wong hadn't provoked Gordon earlier to make him want revenge.

If you have to attend a crowded event, be careful not to get drunk beforehand. Police officers try to keep order in the crowds and there are laws against too much drinking. You need to be careful when you make important decisions and not make hurried ones.
References Page
Kirszner, L. G., & Mandell, S. R. (2010). Patterns for College Writing (11th ed.). Boston: Bedford / ST. Martin's.

The Bible. The Book of Matthew (New King James ed. ). (2009). E-Sword.

Harmon, M., Alexander, S., Weatherly, M., Perrette, P., & McCallum, D. (Actor). (2004). NCIS: The Truth is Out There [Motion picture]. CBS Paramount Television.

Copyright 2009 Mathax. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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