Sometimes the world around us appears as turbulent as these waters that rocked my kayak when I was fishing in my backyard on the White Oak River, near Swansboro, NC recently.
As much as the recent events at Penn State have us all scratching our heads, good people are now getting their arms around the situation. While there are likely to more revelations that will shock us, as people are brought to justice and victims are finally given their day, this situation will pass just as the waves rocking my kayak did.
The Penn State events have made a tremendous impression on me because I know a number of people living there. It was one of the institutions that my team covered when I was a regional higher education manager for Apple. I attended a football game there once, and for two summers in the early nineties we took our young son to hockey camp there. I still remember the fields covered with children attending football camp. Happy Valley had some great memories for me. Now it is clear that it was a nightmare for some young people.
Any place, where people live, can and likely does harbor some bad people. And any place with bad people can have people without the courage to stop the bad people from harming others.
The hope of humanity is that when one person won't stand up, the next person will. That is where Penn State failed the most. A lot of people could have done something, but no one had the courage to do the right thing.
It is hard to believe that evil so monstrous can reside in people, but I have seen enough to know that when reputation, fame, or money are at stake, there are people who will do almost anything or nothing if that works better just in the vain hope of keeping that which they have already lost.
Selling your soul to protect your soul is never a good deal even if the money looks good in your bank account. There are times in most of our lives when we have to confront something that we would rather not have to handle.
I have seen more of those things than I like to remember, but the answer is always simple, do what lets you sleep well at night. Most of us know what is right. We don't have to ask anyone for the answers that we already have. We just have to find the courage to do what needs to be done.
Doing the minimum required by state law doesn't remove the obligaton to do what is required morally. We all know that there is a higher law that requires us to protect those who cannot protect themselves. If you forget that, you are already lost.
Sometimes doing what is right and honorable, ends up hurting us most, but not doing what is right is a slippery slope into oblivion. We can recover from the loss of a job or from no longer being the friend of someone, but you can rarely get your character back if you have thrown it away in the vain hope of covering up something that cannot ever really be hidden.
Hidden evil will always be fixed by the light of truth. Sometimes the truth takes time to find its way to the surface, but it almost always does.
Those institutions, businesses and churches included, who insist on a wall of secrecy rarely are hiding good deeds.
We are never going to change the people who care more about fame, fortune, and image than they do about the lives of others. Those folks have already sold their souls.
The rest of us just have to try our best to protect those who need protecting the most. If we don't do it, no one will. You cannot count on the next person having the courage that you don't have yourself.
Turning our backs to evil is an abdication of our responsibilties as adults who care about this world and the people who live in it.