Rupert Ross, in his seminal book on restorative justice, Returning to the Teachings, calls this process "sacred justice."

"The peacemaker is thus an investigator, a teacher and a guide," writes Ross. His or her primary responsibility "is to help each person come to understand that life is relationship, and that a healthy life requires constant effort to provide as much nourishment as possible to every relationship that engages you."

The New York Times story does point out that Mark Kelly, husband of wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has said publicly that he is open to the idea of meeting with Jared Loughner's parents, recognizing that they're "hurting in this situation as much as anybody."

This reopens the circle and invites some of the ostracized back in. What troubles me is that the state affects no interest in this process. Healing can happen or not, but officially we care only about the bureaucratic pursuit of punishment and the perpetuation of the cycle of violence.

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