The Hug Seen Round the World — The Antidote to Evil

Ferguson Hug

“Ferguson Hug” (from Oregonlive.com)

By now, we’ve spent months waiting for the outcome of the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri.  Probably, there was not a newspaper in the free world that failed to print a headline declaring that the grand jury had declined to indict the white police officer.  I don’t even need to tell you who I’m talking about.  There has been rioting, looting, and violence.  Talk of injustice from all sides, angry people saying and doing angry things.

I am not inclined to further dissect the circumstances; enough of that has been done.  What grabbed my attention a few days ago is what I call “the hug seen round the world.”  It’s all over social media now, and if you happen to be a technophobe or a recluse, then this:

Photo: Police officer and young demonstrator share hug during Ferguson rally in Portland

As thousands gathered to make their voices heard during a rally earlier this week, one officer and a young man paused to hear each other out.

This image, shot by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen, shows Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum hugging 12-year-old Devonte Hart during the Ferguson demonstration in Portland on Nov. 25, 2014.

If you follow the link to the original story, you’ll find another link to more about young Devonte Hart.  Lazy ones, I’ve included the link for you.  🙂

This is the antidote to evil, pure and simple!!! 

Back in the Stone Age, I got my BA in psychology.  In Psych 101, I learned about the famous Milgram experiments.  I also learned of the research of social psychologist Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo is one of the most distinguished living psychologists, having served as President of the American Psychological Association, designed and narrated the award winning 26-part PBS series, Discovering Psychology, and has published more than 50 books and 400 professional and popular articles and chapters, among them, Shyness, The Lucifer Effect, The Time Cure and The Time Paradox.

The following, a lecture by Philip Zimbardo, is an absolute must-see for anyone struggling to understand the nature of evil and psychopathy:

Here I’ll take a tangent into my own story of a close encounter with a psychopath.  I saw her first rage in October of 2009.  For a while, she kept her mask tamped down.  I was not used to being screamed at and called vulgar names, at least not on a regular basis by someone who claimed to love me.  Initially, I was shocked and dumbfounded.

I’d seen minor instances of road rage at home in the US.  But my wife?  One time, an elderly man was a little too slow in making a turn at an intersection (junction in Britspeak).  No harm was done; the traffic was crawling anyway.  But she jumped out of the car, ran to his window, and shook her fist at him.  For a moment, I thought she was actually going to hit him.

When I had to endure her rages, I would bite my tongue as long as I could.  Eventually, she would say something so below-the-belt, that I’d respond.  I hated myself for responding in kind, as I had long ago learned about fair fighting in relationships.  So, I only did it once or twice.  I quickly saw that it was against my nature, and made the situation more incendiary.

In one particular instance, she had been going on and on at me for a long time (hours?).  I couldn’t sit idly by and passively take the abuse.  I recall the moment exactly.  We were standing in the doorway to our bedroom, her halfway inside the door.  Her hands were flailing about, and I did my version of the “hug seen round the world.”  I’ve lost my exact words, but I reached out and cupped her large hand in my small hands, and said something akin to, “Paula, I love you.  I know you are angry and hurting, and I want to hear you out.  Let’s sit down and talk about it.”

She looked at me, surprised.  We sat on the bed and talked and she cried.  I held her and listened to everything she had to say.  I thought we’d had a breakthrough.

Sadly, the next time she flew into a rage, and her vulgarities were decimating my self-confidence, I tried the same.  But she blocked me as if anticipating my overture.  Never again did she respond to my peace-making olive branch.  Instead, her anger escalated to physical violence.

Not everyone can be reached by a hug or a sign of peace, but some can.  Don’t waste your precious time on the ones who are too blind to see, but everywhere else, let your light shine.  That is the antidote.

Be a hero!!!

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About DogDharma

Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
This entry was posted in antidote, evil, Ferguson, healing, hero, hug seen round the world, Philip Zimbardo, psychology, Stanley Milgram and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Hug Seen Round the World — The Antidote to Evil

  1. georgiakevin says:

    I like others really needed to see this post, thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DogDharma says:

      You are welcome. Trying to put what I’ve learned at the University of Hard Knocks to good use. I hope that one photograph will trump all hurtfulness that came before it and add a little light to the world. Much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. luckyotter says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. luckyotter says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    This beautiful photo and story following a terrible tragedy shows us that empathy is still alive and well. I have to admit this photo brought tears to my eyes. If only we saw more of this sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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