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The Hajj Stampede: Why Do Crowds Run?

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In the worst Hajj stampede, 1,426 pilgrims were crushed in a pedestrian tunnel leading to Mecca in 1990.Related Story. Worldwide, human stampedes are so common-and so confounding-that they’ve inspired their own body of academic research within the larger field of study on crowd behavior. In 2014, 178 people were killed in various Indian stampedes, and the country’s annual total death toll from stampedes has topped 300 four times in the past decade. With a growing global population concentrated in crowded cities, Hsu and his team found in 2010 that stampede incidents were on the rise.

Although it’s easy to assume that stampedes are caused by panicked crowds running away from something in fear, Seabrook found that, in general, that’s only true in fires.

In most stampedes, the crowd is churning toward something.

If there’s a connection between what attracts a crowd and what a society holds dear, then stampedes are a deadly illustration of those values.


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Post Author: Carla Parsons

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