Culture

Why There is No Star Trek Death Cult

Apparently, some people don’t know it is make-believe or at least that is what British authorities thought.

According to recently released 1997 report, Scotland Yard feared young viewers might be inspired by Star Trek and other sci-fi TV to commit suicide or mass violence. While it is true Star Trek fans can get pretty zealous (They keep track of how many people show up at conventions in costume. The current record is over 1,000.),  Trekkies certainly never turned into the Manson Cult.

There are lots of reasons to scratch your head and wonder what Scotland Yard was thinking back in the day.

Media can be used to inspire madness.  ISIS has used its presence online to add to its ranks, raise recruits, fund raise and even motivate terrorist attacks against the West.   But it is not just ISIS’ online abilities (which, of course, wasn’t around in the 1990s) that is the problem.  What makes radicalization on social networks so dangerous is when they can be linked to human networks—where people engage with one another face-to-face.  The merging of social networks and human webs can be formidable force.  No country in the West has a bigger challenge in dealing with that challenge right now than Great Britain where radicalization of Muslim youth is a major concern.

I bet Scotland Yard is wistful for the good old days when they just tracked Trekkies.