Lynch Mob“?

What’s so new about this term?


Well, the new thing may be (1) your encounter with its history or, (2) up-coming trouble in America that may not be so “awfully” new after all.


For a gander at any of that, use the DOOR.





   A lynch mob is, of course, a group that more-or-less considers itself representative of a larger group that has somehow been wronged, and decides to take the law into its own hands and dispense justice, usually first in the form of beatings and then execution by (usually) hanging. An obvious advantage to such a mob is that the process is quick, and if later a “mistake” has been made, the group action can, perhaps, shield its leaders from the horrors they initiated.

   A disadvantage is that it puts lawyers out of work…and, yes, often cruelly punishes the innocent.

   Albert Jack adds these pieces of information¹ about the world of such “vigilante men”:

   “These mobs…in the southern states of America were as much a part of life in the late 19th century as the cowboys were. In ten states alone, authorities recorded 2,805 deaths at the hands of the mobs between 1882 and 1930. Of the victims, 2500 were black, hanged without trial by white lynch mobs.

   “More than a hundred years earlier, Colonel James Lynch of Bedford County, Tennessee, and Captain William Lynch of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, were struggling to keep law and order in their respective states, and so in 1780 William Lynch made a formal agreement with his neighbors to deal with troublesome and lawless men in their area. He formed a group of men and declared that if the troublemakers ‘will not desist from their evil practices, we shall inflict such corporeal punishment on him or them, as to us shall seem adequate to the crime committed or the damage sustained.’ ‘Corporeal’ (now ‘corporal’) punishment meant a horsewhipping and beating at that point, rather than execution. The group became known as “Lynch’s Mob” and this eventually led to the term being used in the New-England Magazine in October 1835 as the title of an article: ‘The Inconveniences of Being Lynched.’ A piece from 1843 in the New York Daily Express tells of a person who was ‘lately taken from his house at night by some of his neighbors and severely lynched [thrashed].’ And so the lynch mob was born.”


   In our highly technical age, a surge of EMP can strip our country, perhaps the world, of commercial electrical power, bringing civilization as we know it to a halt that cannot be quirky started again. Luxuries like lawyers, medical assistance, police protection, and rehab could easily disappear. Groups, however, will form to save what’s left of society from its misfits and the results of how this takes place won’t be pretty. Watch for vigilanteism and lynch mobs to draw new lines in the sand. It will be a brutal struggle for survival–and be the only out and up.

   Old ways of establishing order will reemerge, and society–on the whole, right or wrong–will welcome them. It will be the rare place that offers food and medicine where people will stand in  line and wait their turn.

   Some good fiction: One Second After by William R. Forstchen came out in 2009, warning of EMP. Several months earlier, my book was published, Earth Is Not Alone (see right). My upcoming novel, The Blood of Three Worlds, takes the story further.

   I recommend all three books, of course.  🙂


   ¹ This comes from Albert Jack, Black Sheep and Lame Ducks (2007). Be aware that this should be considered a secondary source. Original sources are not indicated.