Deception of a Crowd

Karolina Michna, Writer

Safety is just an illusion.

The Halloween tragedy, better known as the Seoul crowd rush, occurred on Saturday 29 October. It ultimately resulted in the death of 158 people as 196 others were left in critical condition. Over 100 ‘000 people were reported present during the events as a false sense of security blinded people’s ability to assess danger. The narrow streets in Itaewon effectively compressed the crowd with over 5 people per cubic metre. The high-density limited individuals’ ability to react as they became dependent on the general movement of the cluster. In consequence, a seemingly harmless stumble set off a chain reaction that knocked everyone off their feet. As tension rose and survival instincts kicked in people began running in all directions and all hell broke loose. People were reported trying to climb the surrounding buildings as the primary cause of death was compressive asphyxiation defined as the inability to inhale due to the pressure of surrounding bodies compressing the lungs. The majority of victims were between the ages of 20 and 30, according to (BBC,2022). This is not the only instance where frenzy made death inevitable.

The Indonesia football stampede took place on October 1, 2022. During a football match in Kanjuruhan stadium. When the game ended Arema FC fans ran onto the pitch after the team’s defeat. Police present could not stop the angered enthusiasts and in turn, decided to release tear gas into the stadium. The gas quickly diffused into the audience and similarly, chaos broke out. People began running in all directions trying to escape, crowding in the exits. The danger became clear as panic washed over the spectators. At least 125 people died in the stadium that day and over 180 were injured. The police officers responsible are now facing legal charges, information according to(Guardian,2022).

Many people don’t realize the dangers associated with large crowds because once the threat becomes apparent all exits close. It becomes a cycle constantly ignited by the rising pressure that ends only when tragedy strikes. Our defense mechanism forces us to react as in the heat of the moment no one realizes the slightest shift could label you your own executioner.