We all bore witness to forgiveness at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The congregation members who lost love ones showed the power of that sentiment. They helped all of us learn how forgiveness may support victims and ... read more
We all bore witness to forgiveness at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The congregation members who lost love ones showed the power of that sentiment. They helped all of us learn how forgiveness may support victims and scapegoats by calming grief and empowering prayers and so much more.
We know there are many other emotions felt but left unspoken. The fact that this community accepts the legal framework of punishment makes it easier to forgive. It projects the all too human feeling of anger and revenge–in this case well represented collectively by incarceration and possible death penalty–into the hands of an anonymous judicial system that, if trusted, frees each individudal’s heart and mind to dwell on emotions of mourning.
But if the shooter was not now in the hands of the society but still roaming free , forgiveness would surely be on hold. It is a painful truth that wherever killers are not apprehended and dealt with severely, victims who have the power to take ‘justice’ into their own hands, usually do . The rest of us remember.
Forgiveness? Not until we settle the score with him/her/them.
Dr. Scapegoat is not feeling cynical about the extraordinary outpouring of grace and graciousness by this group . But we all need to feel both heart and muscle at times of tragic loss. Turning the other cheek is the heart in action. Protesting, airing grievances on th social media, hiring a a lawyer (or a paid assassin) to punish killers and exact reparations is the muscle of anger and revenge in action.
In this case the community was buoyed by its immediate ability to display their faith in forgiveness, a shared sacred creed of their religion. It provided solidarity and group comfort and put off living alone with the horror of personal, lonely loss. How long will it take until the feelings of anger, unfairness, revenge and the desperate need for action take over? Social activism and other mechanisms for progress in human affairs, rely on seed energy from these ‘negative’ feelings and sublimates them in working toward transforming the future and remaking it into a fairer place. It is one of the ways we mourn without destroying ourselves or others.
In tragedies such as this one, forgiveness is a first step or perhaps a last one. But the place between forgiveness and revenge is the place we must struggle to find, the place where we create the new reality, where we heal by demanding and insuring justice .
April 20, 2015 Leave a Comment
The effects of group and system behavior are long term, often beyond the scope and time line of what individuals care most about or even know and remember. This has profound effect on ... read more
January 27, 2015 Leave a Comment
Dr. Scapegoat believes complicitor is a noun whose time has come! It’s derived from the adjective complicit, which Merriam-Webster defines as “having to commit a crime ... read more
December 18, 2014 Leave a Comment
Dr. Scapegoat feels obliged to reiterate what we all know. Scapegoating is alive and well as never before. There are so many areas of the world, so many nations and corporations, ... read more
October 21, 2014 Leave a Comment
For a long time, I've been intrigued by the way leadership style trickles down in all beauracracies. The style of the leader, let's say the president or CEO, is emulated, copied, mimicked... all ways ... read more
September 26, 2014 Leave a Comment
Empires rise and fall and it is historically exciting to predict their beginnings and endings. The forces of instability that led to the so-called Arab uprising is linked to the first mention of a ... read more
August 26, 2014 Leave a Comment
What can a leader of a group do about scapegoating in his or her own group? It's too easy to say that it is one of leaderships most important jobs even though successful leaders must protect talent, ... read more