To See a Problem and Do Nothing is to Become Complicit in the Problem

When the house on the corner of the street has a loose dog that bites you as you walk by, what do you do?  Do you try to persuade the homeowner to chain up his dog?  Do you try to summon the dog catcher to come seize the dog?  Do you invite the police to get involved?  Whatever you try, you might fail.  Others might claim that you provoked the dog and had it coming.  They might claim that they have passed that dog countless times and always found him friendly.  They might note that the neighbor’s house and lawn are so well maintained that he couldn’t possibly have an aggressive dog.

If you choose to do nothing, you don’t have to worry about people second guessing you.  You don’t have to wrestle with frustration when your efforts fail.  But if you choose to do nothing, then you also make yourself complicit in the next dog bite from that dog.  Even if he only occasionally bites passersby, you become part of the causal story of each attack (or at least part of the causal story behind its not being prevented.)  If you try but fail, you are exculpated.  But if you don’t even try then you owe explanation to every subsequent dog bite victim.  Remember: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Now consider the situation of those calling attention to abuse they experienced as teachers in the Ozark School District (  Should they go away quietly, in order that we can all believe the best about that nice dog on the corner (even if we have to close our eyes to the dog bites, close our ears to the ambulance sirens, or manufacture justifications for why it was good that the dog attacked THOSE people)?  Or should they warn neighbors and invite community intervention?

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