If you can do more, then why wouldn’t you? Can anybody answer that question? Is there ever a good reason not to do more, if it is feasible to do so? This was the main question on my mind as we learned more about the inaction of many men which facilitated horrific acts that victimized many young boys over the past decade or so.
Many have stated that Joe Paterno, as well as the janitor and grad assistant who witnessed assaults firsthand, did what they were legally obligated to do. That is equivalent to doing the bare minimum, is it not? This is not excellent in any manner, and there was an opportunity for excellence in this event.
An excellent response would have been to follow through on the initial report. An excellent response would have been to strongly encourage the grad assistant to file a police report. An excellent response would have been to go to the police directly. An excellent response would have been to find Sandusky personally and call him out on his actions. No individual or group responded excellently when they had the opportunity to do so, and this enabled more pain and abuse to be inflicted upon innocent boys.
Now the damage has been done and there is no fixing the past. What happened has happened and this must be accepted by everyone. Parties involved are being punished and calling for more blood would be unproductive. Rehashing the events and continuing to criticize would most likely get us nowhere. Getting nowhere is not excellent.
In order to be excellent one must do all that they can possibly do. This involves making decisions and acting. Sometimes this is difficult for humans because so many emotions are involved. There are sticky situations, gray areas, personal connections, loyalty, etc. I could see how these things could make a decision harder and make one feel that there is no clear choice, but in serious matters such as this we must eliminate emotion and use only logic. We must essentially become computers.
Are these actions acceptable? No. Should I alert authorities? Yes. Should I alert everyone? Yes. Should I confront this individual? Yes. Can I do more? Yes. This is what the inner dialogue should be in a situation such as this. Simplify it as much as possible so as to not become paralyzed by overanalysis, fear, and indecision.
If you can do something, do it. If you can do more, do it. Again I ask, why wouldn’t you? While doing the bare minimum is legally acceptable, why not strive for excellence. Imagine if everyone just did the bare minimum. We wouldn’t know excellence. Is that acceptable to you?
I composed a track by doing the bare minimum to show you how this plays out in other realms. “Legally” and “technically” speaking this is a song, but is it acceptable? Is this what you want?
PS: If you are a musician I encourage you to cover this song. I think that’d be entertaining. Also, if anyone wants to remix the track hit us up via email and I’ll send out the stems. All four of them.
Bonus: Check out the article that current Penn State student and friend of the blog (we met her on the plane back from Lollapalooza), Anna Thomas wrote here. Also, she makes a brief appearance in a video package about the scandal that can be viewed below.