Have you ever jumped to the wrong conclusion and then had to eat your words, or at least your thoughts? I am loathe to suspect my students of cheating because I might be the one at fault. The following is about such a case where people swarmed to an immediate- and incorrect- verdict. This is from April 16, 2006. (See if you can figure out why I printed it in red!)
It was too bizarre. Last week, Logan Young was murdered. A booster of the University of Alabama football program, Young recently concluded a jail sentence for bribery. He became the first ever to be convicted of federal laws making it a crime to violate NCAA recruiting rules. He had given $150,000 to a high school football coach with the stipulation the coach would make certain a coveted player signed at Alabama, where Young was a season ticket holder. The murder at Young's home in Memphis had been so gruesome that dental records and finger prints were required to positively identify the millionaire. The scandal involving Young helped bring sanctions and penalties on the Crimson Tide's hallowed football program. In class, I mentioned the murder and the background of Logan Young. I talked about the corruption of athletics by money and how major college sports, in my opinion, have become cesspools. I asked my students if they believed there was a relationship between the bribery scandal and the homicide. It was unanimous. We all knew there had to be a correlation between the two. A stunning development was on the horizon. On Thursday, police in Memphis amended their prognosis. They now believe that Young fell on the stairs, suffering a very severe laceration on his head. Disoriented, he apparently stumbled from room to room, leading authorities at first to believe they were looking at a crime scene. Further investigation showed no forced entry, a lack of stolen property, or blood spatter patterns consistent with a beating. Logan Young died an accidental death. Somehow, it captured our attention when it appeared he had been the victim of a heinous crime. We jumped to conclusions because we wanted the facts to match our view of reality, even if our view might have been seriously distorted or flawed. We didn't even consider it might have been an accident. That would have been too simple and too innocent. We prefer drama.
This is the time every year in which the world remembers the death of another man, Jesus of Nazareth. Those in Jerusalem at the time jumped to their own varied conclusions. The religious leaders perceived the crucifixion as resolving his being a threat to their position. Pilate felt it was a case of being maneuvered into a corner with no easy exit strategy. The apostles probably understood it as a failure in their master's mission, which they struggled to grasp from the outset. But, the one on the cross knew it was for the redemption of the world from the death warrant of sin. It took time for the tears to dry and the truth to become evident. His death was not the conclusion of the matter. It was the preliminary to the greatest turn around creation has witnessed, the resurrection from the dead of the Son of God. The cross without the empty tomb is incomplete, an unfinished story of love. Otherwise, Easter would be simply just another Sunday and we would remain without hope.
Applicable quote of the day:
"It's impossible to reach good conclusions with bad information. We're all entitled to our own opinions but none of us can afford to be wrong in our facts."
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