Terrorism and the Trolley Study?

According to police reports, violence is decreasing (murders, assaults, etc.), which I find surprising.  I don’t feel as though violence is actually decreasing, I think that its method of expression is changing (Alessandra’s post referred to shifts in violence, which got me thinking about this).  A personal anecdote to illustrate my belief: my brother is a consultant for an international securities organization and they just opened up a new branch: cyber terrorism.  This branch never existed before because this was never an issue before.  People may be knifing each other less, but they are now creating computer viruses that can detonate nuclear weapons, which I think we can argue is just as violent.

As I thought about this shift, I realized it could potentially relate to my presentation today on morality.  As the trolley study illustrated, it’s easier for someone to flip a switch than push a person off a bridge.  I think this can be directly applied to cyber terrorism: a person may be too weak-stomached to stab someone (moral-personal?) but may not feel the same emotional salience from sending a deadly virus in an email (moral-impersonal?).  This could potentially increase the number of people you see willing to commit violent crimes because violent crimes become emotionally easier to commit.  That is a very dangerous concept.

What do you guys think?  Can you see cyber terrorism relating to the trolley study or am I reaching here?


One thought on “Terrorism and the Trolley Study?

  1. I definitely agree there is a link there Kelsey. Simply pressing a button is a whole heck of a lot more impersonal than actually pulling the trigger to fire a gun. Also, on a much smaller scale, it may relate to cyber bullying because it takes the personal out humiliating another.


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