RULES FOR EVERYDAY PEACEMAKING
Hal Pepinsky, email@example.com, skype name halpep, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com
April 25, 2013
I recently responded to someone who asked me to recommend a punishment for some offense. I repeated my mantra that I prefer building trust and safety to punitive responses to anything. My short reiteration of why I don’t think punishment works was persuasive, and so followed the question: what system would I implement instead of punishment?
Again, my answer related to involvement in any category of violence at any level. I thank Cameron Kobielski at Gannon University for provoking a response I’ve never put quite this succinctly before, to myself let alone to anyone else. I wrote Cameron:
I used to try designing things. I'll also attach my first book. You can see that I end up writing "model" laws for controlling crime. Compare that to the approach I take in the draft I forgot to attach last time. I no longer believe in laying down "best practices." If you feel you want what I say I want, and you're somewhere, anywhere, in the system, make up a way to divert people from trying to decide on giving "consequences" and refocus them on dealing with the consequences, the fears, the threats, the losses, the need to set terms for rebuilding trust among concerned parties...All you have to remember is that simple "attitude" toward whatever conflict you're involved in, not only at work, but at home, internationally, anywhere. If that's your attitude, you'll be obeying two rules especially with those (a) most critically hurt as in victims, and (b) those who most offend or threaten you: no name calling, and no interruptions. The aim is to make it safe for people to say face to face (or as between prisoner and faraway victim, by whatever contact is safely, openly available, through any mediator trusted by all, perhaps a letter from a prisoner to a victim's lawyer) what they are feeling, hurts and fears, remorse, till it gets out enough that folks turn to talking about what steps each might take to satisfy others that one is doing one's own part to walk away okay with things. That little bit is all it takes to turn cool a heating social climate, up to and including how all wars begin to end.
Thanks Cameron—love and peace--hal