The Psychology of Desperate People: 15 Dead, 40 Injured in Food Stampede in Morocco

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By Daisy Luther

In prepper lore, there is a theory about how badly desperate people are likely to behave. Many folks outside the community scoff at this theory. They believe that we have become more civilized than to utilize violent measures when hunger strikes.

But an incident in Morocco the other day showed us exactly how hungry people behave. And it isn’t pretty.

Food was being distributed in a rural market in Sidi Boulaalam, a poor village. Women had come to the market with baskets to get food for their families, when suddenly, what could only be described as a stampede erupted.

At least 15 women died and five were wounded in a stampede during a food distribution operation on Sunday morning in rural Morocco, government officials said.

The victims were crushed as hundreds of people, mostly women, gathered to collect baskets of food at the market…

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…In the aftermath of the stampede, clothes and other personal items were left scattered across the ground. (source)

That number was later updated to 40 people who were injured in the crush.

Witnesses told local media that this year’s annual food aid distribution at a local market in Sidi Boulaalam, an impoverished town with just over 8,000 inhabitants, attracted a larger crowd than usual.

“This year there were lots of people, several hundred people,” a witness who asked to remain anonymous told AFP news agency.

“People shoved, they broke down the barriers,” he said, adding that the injured had been evacuated to a hospital in Marrakesh. (source)

Here’s a video of the aftermath in this Tweet. (If it won’t play for you, go here.)

The value of the food being handed out? $16

15 families were left without mothers over $16 of food. To be fair, villagers in that part of the world live on about $3 per day, but still – this shows what desperation can do.

It’s not just Morocco.


It happens somewhere in the world every day. Here are some acts of desperation that have happened just in recent months.

When you are desperate, the normal rules do not apply.

Every year, we get a glimpse of this kind of insanity in America


Every year, on “Black Friday” we get a glimpse of the kind of behavior that causes people to be crushed to death and assaulted. The day after Thanksgiving (ironically) people get up before daylight, stand in line, and shove their way through a crowd to get the best deals. (Stay tuned this weekend for the 2017 Black Friday Hall of Shame.)

And they aren’t even hungry.

People climb all over each other for cheap electronics. Fistfights erupt over vegetable steamers. People are ready to throw down and do battle for sale priced bath towels and televisions.

I’d hazard a guess that folks who spend time and money fighting over electronics are not the kind of people who prep. That means that these are the people who will be hungry in a long-term disaster.  Look at those people, stampeding to get to a sale on things that they don’t actually need to survive. Their inhibitions are loosened because those around them are behaving in the same way.

You have to look at the psychology of this.

People can justify pretty much anything when they or their children are starving. And I can understand that to a large degree – who could stand to watch their babies suffering?  But if someone can devolve to the above degree just to because everyone else is doing it, the chaos we saw above is only a tiny sample of what could come if people were truly hungry.

The line between civilization and THIS is very thin.

Desperate people do desperate things.


We need to be prepared by having the essential supplies on hand to keep us from becoming one of those desperate people in the middle of a stampede for a few days’ worth of food, but what’s more, we need to be prepared for the prospect of those desperate people. Keeping a low profile is the best defense but sometimes it’s not enough.

In a desperate situation, you have to be ready for desperate people to behave in a desperate manner. It happens in real life all the time. Somewhere on this planet, someone is desperate and they will do anything to meet their needs.

It only takes one person to start the charge in a tense scenario, and when that happens, the others will follow.

Don’t count on the rules of “civilization” to save you.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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    • IT WAS INFORMATIVE, HOWEVER IT SHOULD HAVE SAID, AS FAR A BLACK FRIDAY IS CONCERNED THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY “SMART” WILL “AVOID” AT ALL COST BEING IN THAT MOD OF IDIOTS THAT GRAB, PUSH, SHOVE, FIGHT AND WRECK HAVOC IN ORDER TO BUY THOSE THINGS.

      ANYONE TO GOES AND TAKES CHILDREN SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES, B/C THOSE CHILDREN ARE GOING TO GORW UP REMEMBER THOSE STAMPEDES AND HOW PEOPLE ACTED, AND MAY EVEN THINK THAT IF THEY ACT LIKE THAT AS WELL IT’S IS FINE, IT’S OKAY, AND IT’S TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE…

      I HAVE “NOT” BEEN IN A STORE ON BLACK FRIDAY INE “YEARS”, AND THIS YEAR IS NO EXCEPTION. THE ARE RARELY ANY PARKING PLACES, AND PEOPLE ARE “NOT” IN THE BEST OF MOODS THEN EITHER…ALL OF THAT CHAOS JUST TENDS TO MAKE ME MORE NASTY AND MEANER AND LESS CARING THAN THE WERE BEFORE THEY GOT THERE.

      SHE SHOULD HAVE INCULUDED THAT IN THE ARTICLE WITH THE STATICS ON HOW MANY OF THESE EVENTS ARE THE ONE WHERE PEOPLE GET SERIOUSLY HURT OIR KILLED FOR THAT MATTER…

      I STOPPED DOING DEC. 25TH BACK IN 2011. IT’S NOT JESUS BIRTHDAY ANYWAY. HE WAS BORN IN THE FALL OF THE YEAR IN SEPTEMBER. THIS HOLIDAY IS NOT ABOUT JESUS. IT IS A FAKE HOLIDAY, BROUGHT INTO THE WORLD FROM THE PAGANS/HEATHENS OF THA DAY AND AGE. IT’S A VERY COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY AS WE CAN VISIBLY SEE. IT IS SUPER TRAITIONAL AND JESUS IS “NOT” THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.
      IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WAY TOO COLD IN DEC. FOR THE SHEPHERDS TO BE OUT IN THE FIELDS KEEPING WATCH OVER
      THEIR FLOCK BY NIGHT. PLUS THE EXACT DATE TAKES SOME STUDY AND RESEARCH. IT WAS “NOT” PRINTED IN THE BIBLE SIMPLY B/C JESUS NEVER WANTED HIS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED IN THE FIRST PLACE.
      HE TOLD HIS OWN DISCIPLES ONLY TO DO THINGS…
      1. REMEMBER THE LAST SUPPER, AND WHEN THEY DRANK OF THE WINE AND ATE THE BREAD THEY WERE TO REMEMBER HIM. AND HE LIFTED HIS CUP AND SAID TO ALL OF THEM, “THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME”.
      2. REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY (THE 7TH DAY) AND KEEP IT HOLY. 6 DAYS HAS THOU TO DO ALL THY WORK, BUT THE 7TH DAY IS HOLY UNTO THE LORD, AND ON THAT DAY, THOU SHALL DO “NO WORK”…

  • I am lucky. By choice I have no TV, no MP3, etc. I have a cheap go-phone that I use only when I travel. There is no cell reception where I live. I do not attend Black Fridays or Tax Free Weekends. I have an older computer that works fine for me. Even our automobiles are brought used. I am not rich, I have several animals that I attend to which provide me with eggs, milk and meat. My husband always says that you are owned by things you have. Less is more. The less ties you have with the system, then the less control they have over you. Yes, I am also off grid. I see people buying new TV when there is nothing wrong with their old ones. I see people buying new cars when their car is only three or four years old. The rest of the world laughs at our wasteful ways. Maybe its the fluoride in the water or the brain being controlled and retrained by the mindless TV shows. I rather shop craigslist!

  • That black friday compilation actually made my eyes watery. Behavior like that is so abhorrent, it makes me ashamed for them. Thank you, now all I want to do is curl up in a quiet place and not come out until Groundhog Day.

  • Looking forward to your ‘2017 Black Friday Hall of Shame’ article as I have NEVER ventured out on that day. I also don’t do the Christmas thing as another has stated. I steer clear of the stores from the week before Halloween (which I don’t do) through to the end of January (usually the finish of the ‘return’ and holiday clearance sales). My preps have given me the freedom to avoid the mass hysteria.

  • Honestly, the world probably looks at Black Friday and thinks, “I wouldn’t do that unless there was something I was truly desperate for”. As for the stampede in Morocco, it is a tragic situation that could be fixed, but problems like these are unlikely to stop in areas suffering from drought.

    But consider this: the desperate people in Morocco had been desperate for a long time. Let’s hope that if there is ever an event where food has to be handed out, that the situation hasn’t degraded so much that people are willing to trample people to death just so they can eat.

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