Just Because We Can Doesn’t Mean That We Always Should
Mayor Bloomberg wants to outlaw large containers for soda and sugary drinks.
The Libertarians come crying out, “The government shouldn't be able to tell us what we can and can't have! This is America!” When I tell people that I think this is a good idea, they cry to me about how crazy I am. “You're going to let the government tell me what I can and can't do? Because of your lack of self control?”
Yes. Because drinking large quantities of soda is bad for you and I learned the bad habit because it was available to me, anywhere and everywhere, and I took advantage of it. And I've fought my body ever since.
Just because we can (either in our minds or legally) drink 40 oz. sodas, doesn't mean that it's a good idea. Nothing good comes from that.
James Holmes was arraigned today on multiple counts of murder.
He shot 70 people with a high powered assault rifle that costs a little over $1,000 and can be bought, legally, in a store and picked up with a short background check within the hour. He bought 6,000 rounds of ammo on Amazon. It was legal for him to own the gun and to buyt that ammo. He could do that.
We, as Americans, can own weapons that allow us to defend against ourselves. We can do this, legally. But, does that mean that we should?
Today, the NCAA handed down unprecedented sanctions upon the Penn State football program.
Sandusky was accused, JoePa was fired and then died, Sandusky was convicted, anyone else powerful at Penn State University who had any connection was also fired, the Freeh report came out and made the situation appear even worse than we all feared, they removed the JoePa statue, and the program's reputation that had once been legendary was ruined, not simply tarnished. Joe made a huge mistake that cost him everything. Jerry made several huge mistakes that cost him everything. Spanier made a huge mistake that cost him everything. And together, with a few others, they cost the university's football program everything.
Today it got worse. The NCAA had the power, because of their system, setup, power, influence, and total control over anything college sports related to do what they did. They had the complete ability to flex their muscles. They had the ability to make an example out of a once untouchable football program. And they did.
But just because you can, should you?
(I'll forego the argument for the sake of this post that the NCAA completely stepped out of the way of due process, allowing the almighty Emmert to personally intervene, unlike anything he has done with programs that violated specific NCAA regulations…**grunt grunt** UNC **grunt grunt**. I'll also forego the argument that this is a criminal act and therefore is left for the legal system, not the silly constantly over reaching NCAA)
Did the NCAA need to come down this harsh, effectively killing this program for an entire generation? Was this necessary?
Many say, “Yes! Child molestation and the covering of it up is atrocius and unacceptable!” Those people are right. Child rape and molestation is unacceptable. Those who cover it up for the sake of a program are in some ways just as guilty as those who committed the atrocities, too. This is unacceptable.
But, should the NCAA destroy the future of the program, making it effectively impossible to recruit for, simply because it can? No. Should it make an example out of a group that has already through the court system and the media been made an example out of? Again, I don't think so.
When we drink 40 oz sodas, we must ask ourselves, what good does it do?
When we buy assault rifles, we must ask ourselves, what good does it do?
When we enforce unbelieveable penalites on people who had nothing to do with an atrocity, we must ask ourselves, what good does it do?
What's hoped to be accomplished? Show the world child rape is wrong? We're already there, guys. We get that. Show the world how powerful you are? The good in that is questionable. Make a change so that this doesn't happen again? Maybe, but in order to make that believable you're going to need to articulate your process for how in a very convincing way.
If the NCAA hadn't done anything, they'd been looked at as weaklings. But they needed to flex their muscles…to show the world that they're actually paying attention and that they are the almighty voice to which programs must listen or else all the benefits from having an athletic program might be lost.
What's the good in that? Little. What do I think they should have done? They should have invested in figuring out ways from preventing this from happening again (the $60M fine is the one sanction I can understand). They should have done investigations into all programs. They should have helped Penn State football recover from such a devastation. They should have sent the message in another, healthier, better way. In a way that brings good, rather than stabbing in the dark hoping that good would be found somewhere.
They could flex their muscles. But should they? Not unless they can clearly articulate the good that will come from this.
I shouldn't drink 40 oz. sodas, even though I can. I shouldn't buy an assault rifle, even though I can. I shouldn't flex my muscles even though I can either.
Because, in all things, I must ask myself, “Can I clearly articulate the good that will come from this? Can I point directly to the good that the world will see from this?”
Otherwise, it's useless punishment and an example. And that's not good enough.