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One Last Point: A second mile


In Christ’s time, Roman soldiers were allowed to conscript members of the Jewish population into carrying their packs for up to one mile and would do so frequently due to the heaviness of their packs.

Most Jews regretted the conscription and had marked out where that mile ended, so they wouldn’t have to carry the pack any further than required by the law.

As Christ gained footing among the people he taught that not only should the people go the first mile as required by law, but that they should go an additional mile as well.

Going that second mile is something we should all consider, especially when it comes to the mandatory reporting required with regard to minors and sex crimes.

Many are familiar with the news cycle concerning Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary, and the whole of the Penn State sports program, and there is a lot of emotion being shown over the allegations.

For those not in the know, Sandusky is accused of having forcible sexual contact with, and sodomizing young boys during his time as an assistant coach at Penn State.

A number of officials have lost their jobs over what is being viewed as a cover-up, including Paterno, who is the winningest coach in the NCAA with 409 major college victories.

After the grand jury that indicted Sandusky released their findings, the public became aware of assistant coach Mike McQueary’s knowledge of an incident he called rape, that took place in the Penn State locker room.

McQueary is quoted in the grand jury indictment as saying he left the locker room, talked to his father about what he should do, and the following day reported the incident to Paterno.

A recent email to a friend that has been confirmed by an source familiar to the investigation clarifies the report to claim that McQueary stopped the rape before he left the locker room.

According to Pennsylvania law, all he was required to do was report it to his superior. As a graduate student, his superior was Paterno. 

Paterno then took the information to the athletic director and the senior vice-president of finance to deal with the issue.

The result: Sandusky was told to not bring young boys into the locker room anymore and had his keys taken away.

McQueary did what was required by law, but many think that he should have gone the second mile.

We don’t know if his presence in the locker room was enough to keep the behavior from continuing once he left.

Some feel he should have made sure the youth in question was out of harm’s way before leaving, and reported the incident to the police as well as the school authorities.

I agree with the common voice that he should have done more, but I don’t think vilifying him is going to accomplish anything. He didn’t do anything wrong, he just didn’t do enough.

Paterno is guilty too, of only going the first mile and not continuing beyond his conscription. Unfortunately, because his was a greater position, his fall was greater.

Not only was he fired as a coach but his name was removed from the Big Ten championship trophy.

The trophy, intended to honor two winning coaches, Paterno and Amos Alonzo Stagg, will now just be called the Stagg Championship Trophy.

I find myself in the minority of an ESPN poll regarding the way Penn State handled Paterno’s discipline. In the poll, 21 percent of the 804 Americans polled thought that Paterno should have kept his job. Fifty-one percent agreed with the firing.

I don’t think that Paterno deserved to be fired. It doesn’t seem to me that he actively covered anything up. He passed on his knowledge to his superiors, and they should have handled it.

It is true, he didn’t go the extra mile, but is it enough to lose his job over?

The worst part of this whole incident is that eight, and possibly more, children – our children – were injured: mentally, physically and emotionally scarred for life.

The father in me screams for Sandusky to be committed to the worst possible prison to be found in the United States, and to leak it to the inmates that he is a child molester, letting them punish him in their own way.

The devil’s advocate in me begs that “innocent until proven guilty” be the watch cry during these crazy times.

Whatever the outcome with Sandusky, there is a cautionary tale to be told for Americans of all ages: Don’t let this be you.

Report behavior that causes your moral compass to spin wildly. 

Don’t allow coaches, teachers, religious leaders or others in positions of authority to abuse their position or the people around them.

Report illegal activities, not only to your supervisor, but to the proper authorities as well.

Go the second mile after being conscripted to go the first.


And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

– Jesus Christ 



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