The recent rape convictions of two Steubenville High School football players have gotten much world-wide attention. We’ve gotten detailed insight, through cell-phone related electronic records of the video, text, and email kind – with a level of accuracy and contemporaneity which would have been unheard of a decade ago – into not just the dark side of high school football players, but of the adolescent American male.
It’s an unnerving, tawdry and at times disgusting display of brutish, narcissistic behavior, confirming that we are not fallen angels, but risen apes.
The record is compelling, eye-opening, but – more importantly – instructive. That record, and the story behind it, should be taught in every high school. High school males need to confront the ugly portrait but also see the light of independent, decent-hearted judgment which penetrated the events through the texting of one male named McGehee, who happened to have been a best friend of one of the two convicted teenagers.
McGehee saw the ricochet of texts and videos but, unlike all other males apparently involved in, or aware of the events, became incensed. So incensed that, upon finding his cell phone battery exhausted, borrowed a friend’s, and texted his best friend, to tell him (in more direct, profane language): you’re nuts, this is revolting, you need to stop now — “I’m going to strangle you.”
That’s it, right there. Extraordinary, pure, volitional ‘right conduct.” The kind that young men everywhere need to study – to learn to similarly think for themselves and to call out evil when they see it.