We have been talking a lot about consequences lately. I tend to think about them a lot, both because of how powerless we are at times to control them and simultaneously how powerful we can be to prevent negative consequences from turning into harsh realities. Consequences are complicated.
I mentioned the case of Trayvon Martin, the young teenager who was shot and killed because he was perceived as a threat while the shooter did not face any consequences for killing the young man. People are so scared of this stand your ground law and the relationship between wearing an hoodie and being shot that they are making and wearing this:
After you read through the details, you realize the role social cognition and social perception played in the situation. Of course, the trial was also a big media frenzy, and competing and contradictory attitudes of people became quite obvious. Attributions were made, a child died. The shooter justified this act through means of “proving” in a court of law that Trayvon was perceived as a threat. PERCEIVED.
Counterfactual thinking isn’t always a good thing, especially when it turns into rumination, but lets use counterfactual thinking to address the issue of consequences. Lets rewind in our minds to what could have been and make ourselves sensitive to the realities of consequences. Here is an interesting article doing just that: “The 6 Decisions That Could Have Saved Trayvon Martin’s Life”. My absolute favorite is #6.
Take a pause, use controlled thinking, identify social psychological processes, and reflect on the realities of the world we live in. Not at all the just world we wished we could have been a part of… right?