In this anecdotal study of public apology, Edwin Battistella shows that our anxieties and confusions about confession are rooted in a deeper ambiguity: the tension between the culpable self and the apologetic self.
On April 1, Robert Powell resigned from the Dallas police force. Powell is the rookie police officer who stopped NFL player Ryan Moats for rolling through a red light. Moats explained that he was rushing his wife to her dying mother’s side, but the squad-car video captured Powell berating Moats and holding him for 13 minutes—the last 13 minutes of Moats’s mother-in-law’s life.
To make a real apology has always been hard. Our forebears in the garden, when confronted with their wrongdoing, passed the blame to others. Adam had the gumption to blame God as well as “the woman whom you gave to be with me.” Eve blamed the serpent.