Thursday, November 10, 2011

The 800 Pound Nittany Lion In the Room

So, let me start out by saying that I don't do "serious" very well. I've read through some of my earlier posts and I've found them trying to be stuffy and important (like you do when you're starting out). I can do "funny" or "irreverent" or even "witty" on occasion, but "serious" has always been a stretch for me. But, since there's no real way I can not not talk about it without seeming out of touch, I shall do my best. Please forgive, gentles, if this comes off as crude.

Let's start out with this: one of the few -- very few -- points that all Americans seem to agree on is that child molestation is always wrong.

Abortion: toss up.

Capital punishment: maybe.

Clean & water: perhaps.

Child molestation, however, doesn't get any gray area. While I can't say I've thought about it too deeply, I don't think anyone could really come up with a mitigating circumstance that defends child molestation. In fact, I would say that the only gray area we seem to tolerate is whether child molesters should be locked up indefinitely or whether they should be chemically castrated.

We're pretty solid on this particular point.

Now, we get to Joe Paterno.

If you've read the Grand Jury report, you'll know that Joe had second hand knowledge of an incident involving Sandusky in which Sandusky, I believe the description is, "anally raped an 11 year old in the shower". That's a pretty damning charge. Elsewhere in the complaint, there's talk of inappropriate "hugging" and "wrestling", which one could rationalize as being perfectly innocent. I would argue that "anal rape" is probably not perfectly innocent.

(Wait. Why am I qualifying that with "probably"? There's no probably about it!)

Now, Joe did report the matter to his boss, which is what he was supposed to do, per school policy. What he didn't do, however, was pass this information onto the cops. Did he do right by the school? Yeah, probably. Did he do what was ethically or morally right? No. No. A thousand times no.

One could ask, however, that without the benefit of hindsight if we were in a position like Joe's, would we know the right thing to do?

The answer of course is, "What? Are you f*cking crazy? You've just been told that a coach anally raped an eleven year old boy? Yes, you go to the f*cking police, you a-hole!"

Now, personally, I don't understand the deification of JoPa. Perhaps it's because I didn't go to Penn State; perhaps it's because the smarter half of my family went to Pitt. So, you'll understand that I don't understand why the students at Penn State would riot in support of him. I'm just assuming that Penn State students would riot over anything, in much the same was as any WVU student sees any couch as tinder.

Should Joe have been fired? Yeah, he should.

Is he taking an unreasonable amount of the blame for this? Probably; if you read the Grand Jury report, you see a string of missed opportunities and people ignoring what should have been an obvious to spot crime.

Should other people also be charged as complicit in a cover up? I think we're going to find out that answer really damned soon.

So in summary: child molestation is bad (and I feel awkward for feeling like I even have to write that).

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