A thing of the past, right? Well, not entirely. We no longer accuse neighbors of dabbling in the dark arts when crops fail, disease strikes, or one’s horse goes lame, but we do look for some culprit to blame when life goes wrong. The same innocuous seed lies at the heart of an academic research project or a witch hunt—a desire to understand cause and effect so we can keep bad things from happening. The way this human tendency plays out—sanely or insanely—begins with how we think.

Leadership, like any behavior, progresses through thoughts, words, and actions. There is effort involved in that first thought—that first choice—of how we wrap our mind and heart around circumstances that confront us. Actions follow in like kind. “Who or what is to blame?” is a quest that turns trap—it looks backward. “What now can be done?” is a quest that frees us from that trap—it looks forward.

Witch hunts, lynch mobs, demonstrations that violate others’ rights are manifestations of the same insanity that begets police brutality when it happens and other abuses of authority that demean us all. Opposed to that is leadership like that of IMPD, our mayoral administration, and community caregivers such as the Indianapolis 10 Point Coalition. Bless all of our peacemakers.

“First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.”

—Thomas A. Kempis