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Tolerance towards overreaction?

Reader comment on item: How the Cartoon Protests Harm Muslims [by Leading to a Separation of Civilizations]
in response to reader comment: Cartoon protests backfiring

Submitted by Paul (Canada), Feb 15, 2006 at 17:28

Eric brings up a very good point here. One thing that most of all (at least in the West) agree is that we have very little tolerance for overreaction. But before I go on, let me clarify, for those who tend to read things that are not there, that I am not implying or endorsing the idea that the defense of someone's prophet, or deity, or whatever must be classifieed as overreaction. It is simply being said that, in general, outbursts of rage and irate behavior over what normally is considered "small potatoes" by a large portion of society is taken as being excessive, very often dismissed, and subsequent outbursts tend to discredit the enraged fellow.

Far from trivializing the issue, the "overreaction paradigm" fits the bill, by providing some models that anyone can visualize: road rage, some cases of violence at home, and so on. I think it's not wrong to formulate the overall dislike for overreaction along the lines that "no matter how despicable you may **perceive** that my actions are/were, that does not give you the right to harm me or destroy my property". "Perceive" -- perception -- is key here, because it is a completely subjective action.

Terek Fatah is, therefore, right. Frequent outburtst of violence, as righteous it may feel for those, adults and children, burning flags, egging buildings, and harming others, can be seen, in this context, as "overreactions", leading to their dismissal as legitimate, and discrediting entire populations.

Cordially,

Paul
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