How The Mighty Have Fallen

“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”

Ain’t that the truth?

In light of the on-going Penn State scandal, I feel I can no longer be silent. I waited and watched what was happening as the details began to unfold, but I said nothing.

I watched as an old man, beloved by a community, announced his retirement, but i said nothing.

I watched as a Board of Trustees fired that same old man along with a university president, but I said nothing.

I watched as students, outraged at the firing of a football coach, rioted in the streets; flipping a news van. And still, I said nothing.

Silence and inaction seem to be a theme here, though.

When the details of the awfulness began to emerge I was dumbfounded. Sex abuse at Penn State?!?! It seemed absurd. Then I read the grand jury report (which if you haven’t, you should. You can find it here. Be forewarned, it’s a terrible read). As I read through it, I was infuriated. I was so angry at the adults – first and foremost, Jerry Sandusky. I was angry with Mike McQueary, the (then) grad assistant who SAW Sandusky. He SAW him, and did nothing. This is your fault, too.

And I was so completely dissappointed in Joe Paterno. McQueary told you what he saw and you only told your boss? For a man seen as the moral compass of an entire university, you have failed us all. You didn’t think to call the police? Or to follow up on a course of action? Joe, it pains me to say this, but this is your fault, too.

The thing that disgusts me the most is the absolute lack of action and urgency from everybody. And Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, this is YOUR fault, too. And you both deserve to be charged.

Then, the students began to riot. I thought, okay, finally this is getting the sort of outrage it deserves. But no. They weren’t rioting because they were appalled at what happened to these children. They were rioting because Paterno got fired. RIOTING! Are you serious?!?!

Joe Paterno deserved to lose his job. And frankly, the fact the McQueary still has a job irritates me, too. McQueary should not only NOT have a job, he should be held accountable for his actions as well. He admittedly witnessed first hand what was happening and LET IT CONTINUE! He made no attempt to save the child. He just walked away. Are you kidding me? I’m a little person, and not very strong, but I have to think that if I had witnessed what he did, I’d have punched Sandusky in the face and taken the poor child to safety. How is that not the first thing that comes to mind? Instead, you called your dad?

Everyone has been focusing on the wrong person – this is not a Joe Paterno case. Every eye, microphone, camera, voice recorder, etc should be focused on Jerry Sandusky. And on Curley. And on Schultz. And on McQueary. And on Paterno. But not exclusively on one person. This is every one of their faults.

Last weekend I watched the Penn State/Nebraska game. I was probably one of the few people not in Beaver Stadium or State College cheering for the Nittany Lions. But I did. Because I always have. And because I probably always will. Because the students are not at fault. They trusted those adults just like those kids did. And those adults let them down, just like they let down those kids. I wasn’t cheering for a football team. I was cheering for an entire university who has to put themselves back together. I was cheering for a community who has to rebuild their identity. I was cheering for humanity to come together to ensure this never happens again.

And Jay Paterno, I understand you miss coaching with your dad. I even understand why you “wish he was here.”

But let me tell you, he doesn’t deserve to be.

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