The Whos Down in Whoville and Restorative Justice

 Cheriejoyful/Flickr/Creative Commons

Cheriejoyful/Flickr/Creative Commons

Next to biblical nativity stories, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite seasonal tales. We read it as a family every Christmas Eve.

While we typically view this vintage Dr. Seuss yarn as a reminder that there is more to Christmas than its trappings, it offers something unexpected too. It shares an example of restorative justice at work.

Pepper Spray and Peppermints: How to Occupy Christmas without becoming a Grinch

Office Grinch peppersprays the Whos of Whoville. Image via officer-grinch-21501-

Office Grinch peppersprays the Whos of Whoville. Image via officer-grinch-21501-1321977693-24.jpg

Pepper spray.

Those two words bring to mind two very contrasting images from recent headline news: One is the shocking image of University of California at Davis students seated on a pathway, arms linked in peaceful protest, as they are repeatedly doused with pepper spray by a zealous campus police officer. The other is of the equally zealous shopper on Black Friday who sprayed her fellow Walmart customers so she could buy a discounted X-Box.

On the one hand we have an image of the power of nonviolent protest to expose injustice, and on the other an appalling image of consumer greed.

These are the signs of our times.