Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thoughts on the Penn State Situation

Like many dads, and many people in general, I have focused a lot on the situation unfolding at Penn State University this week. The entire mess makes my stomach turn. It has reminded me of a few things. For one, evil exists and it must be dealt with. Mr. Sandusky will have to answer to his Maker for his actions but what strikes me even more than his depravity is the actions, or lack thereof, of others involved in this mess. It is clear that several people at several different levels had at least some knowledge of what was going on and yet did not do what it took to stop it. From the grad student who witnessed sexual victimization of a child happening at the hands of a trusted mentor, yet did not step in to stop it, to a world famous coach who may have taken care of his legal obligation, but not his moral one, and even beyond him, people in power failed to use that power to help the powerless.

On the drive home from our kids Wednesday night church activities I saw a sign that contained a familiar saying that rings so true in this situation. "Character is what you do when no one is looking." No one was looking and those that had the knowledge and responsibility to act failed to do so. I am also reminded of another saying: "All it takes for evil to rule the world is for good men to stand by and do nothing."

The words of this phrase provide a hauntingly accurate depiction of what seems to have happened here. Wins, losses, titles, and legacies pale in comparison to the human toll that was taken by Jim Sandusky and enabled by the fact that good men stood by and did nothing. No one wins today.