What in God’s name is wrong with us? Is it our upbringing, our ignorance or just our human frailty that propels us to shrink in the moments we should roar?

History is filled with stories of people committing heinous acts while others looked on. Examples range from the collective, such as the 6 million Jews who were allowed to be murdered in Germany, to single individuals as illustrated in today’s story out of Penn State University.

We now know that a 28-year-old assistant football coach named Mike McQueary, came upon a Penn State coaching icon named Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the shower at the school, and did nothing to stop it.

McQueary may have been horrified, but did he rush in, cover the boy and escort him to safety? No. Did he shout out, demanding his mentor Sandusky stop immediately? No. What McQeary did was “exit the building,” leaving the boy in the clutches of the the 58-year-old coach.

Now we’re finding out that Sandusky allegedly preyed on others through his foundation for underprivileged boys. This is much the same of course, as the darkness that emanated from the Catholic church, as good people stood by while abusers in their midst were allowed to continue.

What happens when we’re confronted with situations like these is not born in that particular moment. Our behavior is always a reflection of who we are as we arrive at that moment. To stand up for someone and risk embarrassment, loss of friends or our own standing, is a characteristic needing practice.

Let’s commit to show our kids the nobility of standing in the way of those who would make us less. It’s part of the goodness we all possess and a gift future generations need desperately.


Brian Heath, Hallowell

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