Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Loudspeaker Effect

We know that people are different, they learn in different ways, they act in different ways, they have different motivations for the things they do. This known is an unknown when dwelling on the motives of individuals with extremist viewpoints that might wish harm to others. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" and other sayings exist in our culture because of the loudspeaker effect - the willingness of people to listen to an idea that is being said or communicated just because an individual or group says or communicates said idea. We live in a world where being outspoken is highly valued and admired or hated depending on the message.

When we speak or write about the Loudspeaker Effect and how it impacts the silent majority we can begin to understand how this effect might affect those who are impressionable and just plain angry at the world - for example the school shootings that some of our communities here in the United States have endured. The negativity and Pessimism that is part and parcel of some media outlets and even some extremist religious groups here in the United States could very well be considered capable of turning "normal" people into weapons of extremism.

I feel that it is important that we as a country learn to turn to both our silent majority and our Loudspeaker minority and ask that we begin a culture of inclusion, a culture that seeks out a better understanding of others. A culture more tolerant of opposing viewpoints that isn't afraid of the harder discussions. If we really want to prevent school shootings, we can ban all guns, but growing up where I did, even my high school had it's wayward son. It was no gun that went off in a trash can that came very close to nearly killing or injuring our band leader when I was in high school. It would be my hope that a culture of inclusion would help temper these wayward sons in ways that banning tools that can be used for evil - just will not and cannot do.

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