Compassion in the face of terror: a case study of recognizing suffering, co-creating hope, and developing trust in a would-be school shooting

Sarah Tracy, Timothy P. Huffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current theoretical conceptualizations of compassion say little about communicating compassion to people whose suffering is wrapped in a cloak of anger, threat, resistance, and fear. This article attends directly to this issue by examining the conversational particulars of compassion communicated by school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff to would-be school shooter Michael Hill. The case serves as the basis for advancing propositions about communicating compassion to unwilling recipients and suggests the importance of careful conversational timing, face-enhancement strategies, convergence/mirroring techniques, co-creating hope, physical presence, and vulnerable self-disclosure. The case extends current conceptualizations of compassion and provides a vivid picture for enacting compassion when sufferers are angry, threatening, or resisting help.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Monographs
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 1 2016

Keywords

  • Compassion
  • discourse analysis
  • hope
  • school shooting
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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