Damage control is an immediate reaction for people today. The immediate reaction to any situation has become minimizing backlash no matter who is at fault.
We see that from politicians, religious organizations, businesses and just about anyone who has come out on the wrong side of a news story.
While maintaining a good public image is vital for brand value, the alarming rate at which people try to come out on top just to advance their agenda is creating the false illusion that humanity can do no wrong.
The latest instance of this occurred in the aftermath of off-duty police officer Amber Guyger walking into the wrong apartment when she came back from work and fatally shooting the occupant, Botham Jean, whom she mistook to be a burglar.
This was an automatic open-and-shut case. Guyger was charged with manslaughter, and the only debate should have been on the severity of the charge.
All this changed when Dallas police released information that they had executed a search warrant in Jean’s house, and Jean was found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana.
The timing of this new information seems to portray Jean as a criminal rather than the victim of a shooting.
The Dallas police department seems to be painting a picture of Jean being a criminal in what seems like an attempt to somehow justify the actions of Guyger.
This is only the latest instance of organizations trying to minimize damage and put on the appearance that they make no mistakes, that anything they do is justifiable.
If a woman claims sexual assault, there is an automatic attempt in character assassination if the alleged perpetrator is someone in power. If someone questions a decision, it is portrayed as an attempt to negatively impact an organization or individual.
In fact, many national issues that have sparked differences across the political spectrum could take steps towards resolutions if only people accepted that they could be wrong rather than pretend that they are always right.
People are imperfect, and that is the truth. We make errors; there is a lapse in judgment, and decisions are made that cannot be taken back. Pretending that these errors didn’t happen only delays the repercussions and magnifies the damage; it does not avoid it.
An important characteristic of humans is that we learn from our mistakes. Pretending that we don’t make any mistakes ensures that we miss out on those lessons.