The Madness Of Crowds

One of the aspects of self defense is being aware of your surroundings, particularly the behavior of people nearby.  If someone is moving against the flow of foot traffic, for example, or if someone is wearing heavy winter clothing on a hot summer day.  Pay attention to the patterns, and these anomalies will stand out.

Long time reader knirirr brought the following fascinating and historically important photo to my attention.

(Click to enbiggen.)

This is a street party held on August 15, 1945.  That is known as Victory Over Japan Day, and for most it signaled the end of World War II.

Why all the kids?  Massive numbers of children were evacuated from London and other major targets of German bombing raids during the war.  They were mainly sent to small towns where they were cared for by total strangers until after the war.  The picture depicts the tea party thrown by some of the townspeople for their charges before the children were shipped back, probably to the great relief of just about everyone involved.

It isn’t just movement and dress that depict harmful intent, it also expression and body language.  All those faces looking at the camera, most bored and waiting for the shutter to snap so they can get on with the festivities.  Some are goofing off for the picture, wearing silly hats for example, and one or two even show a smile that appears genuine.

I didn’t notice any of that at first glance, not even a single detail.  Instead my eyes were instantly drawn to the one face amongst all the others that shows hatred and anger, and my attention flashed along the enraged person’s sight line to discover the object of all that enmity!

Do you see it?  Go below the fold to see an altered version of the photo where I reveal what was instantly apparent to me.

(Click to enbiggen.)

Don’t ask me why the kid was so hateful towards the old guy, as I have no idea at all.  I also doubt much came of the rage, as we are dealing with a child after all.  All I know is that someone was alone in showing some very bad feeling during a single instant of time a long time ago.

knirirr directed me towards the picture because he is supportive of my keen interest in history, but that noble and thoughtful attempt was sidelined for a few minutes by my baser instincts.  I’m afraid that I just can’t help it at this stage of my life.

As you might imagine, I come across as rather distracted when in a crowd.  I keep seeing these red flags in the periphery of my vision as someone moves against the flow of traffic to visit a rest room, or if they frown at their cell phone when something doesn’t go their way while they play Candy Crush.

Hey, you know what!  I bet this is why I don’t get invited to too many parties!

3 thoughts on “The Madness Of Crowds

  1. I don’t see him looking at the man; I think he’s have to turn his head much more to be glaring at him.

    I’ve met a woman who was sent to the country by her parents. Said she was with the Hillary’s (later, Sir Edmund) and was treated like one of the family. Which, she said, a fair number of the children weren’t.

  2. Well spotted on that detail. Picking up on details, the thing that’s out of place, is a useful skill.

    However it is just one moment in isolation. Maybe the next moment the kids face broke out into an ultra-wide grin as he realised that Uncle Harry was just about to break into his Charlie Chaplin routine.

    Well, maybe.

  3. what about the young lad in the front row, leaning over the rail to stare at the last girl on the bench?……she appears to be a person of color…….he does not appear to like her much…..

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