Let’s see if this gets as much outrage as the cat-dumping lady. Here is the story:
In May 2006, 20 year old William Modolo was tortured for three days before being stoned to death by six people (four men, two women, aged from 25 to 53). Their trial for torture, rape, acts of barbarism and murder started today. Modolo’s parents required to assistance of a psychiatrist before being told the extent of what their son endured. William was acquainted with his torturers. He had been hanging out with them for months, but his obesity makes him an easy scapegoat and target.
When he committed some petty theft, the group turned against him, deciding first to pull out 15 of his teeth, done by the leader, kept as trophy in a jar. He was then sodomized with a variety of objects, including beer bottles. He was beat up with tent poles, metal and wood. He was burned. Then, all six took a vote to decide to kill him. They stoned him to death by crushing his face, at night, using a cell phone for light. When he was found, his body had been horribly mutilated.
These are not mentally ill people. Of the six, one is a social worker working with pre-schoolers and another is the son of an attorney. They were described as individually well adjusted. It is the group dynamic that sent everything spinning out of control, like Milgram on steroids:
- an easy target: the fat kid in search of social approval, the omega of the group
- every individual upping the ante as part of the group conformity
- the certainty of lack of accountability
- dehumanization of the victim turned into a prop in a sadistic game
- a strong leader who took the first action
Milgram’s obedience study was an experiment. This is reality. Torture and murder are horrifyingly easy under the right conditions.