10 November 2011

Breathtaking stupidity

Thousands of football fans rioted yesterday in protest against the firing of Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who had failed to notify police about colleague Jerry Sandusky's ongoing sexual abuse of young boys.

This is insane. Thousands of people fail to see that firing is not merely justified but a barely adequate response in such a case?

It's so weirdly reminiscent of the Catholic Church child-abuse cover-up scandal, in which the Church dealt with molesters via internal disciplinary procedures or actively shielded them, rather than turning them over to the police. Many Church officials, and even ordinary believers, clearly felt such an exalted institution was above the secular law. Now it seems some fans feel the same way about a football program?!

Look, this is not a difficult concept. If you become aware of child abuse going on, you call the police. You don't bother with your organization's internal procedures. You don't just tell your own boss about it. You call the police. It doesn't matter how admired or important the person committing the abuse is, or how holy or respected your own position is. You call the police. Period.

And all those who behave otherwise, whether they're archbishops or football coaches or whatever the hell they are, need to keep getting slammed across the face with a legal two-by-four by society until they get the message and learn to act on it.

Update: This is the kind of bull$#!T that sometimes makes sports enthusiasts seem like an alien species to the rest of us.

18 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

Ditto. It amazes me that students would rally to support a guy who shielded a sexual predator.

10 November, 2011 12:07  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Infidel753,

I lived through the Cardinal Bernard Law Catholic Church pedophile scandal and watched in disgust as the church high muckety-mucks simply tranferred the criminal to Rome to end his career in a cushy job with lots of perks.

For some reason unknown to me, otherwise normal-witted adults tolerate those in exalted positions who commit crimes against children--these two egregious examples bear this out. The Catholic Church was engaged in covering up the rape of children for years and years, and yet the institution still earns respect.

And here again, in the Penn State scandal, otherwise thinking people are coming to the defense of a person who did not defend children against criminals. Why? Because he won a lot of football games for a prestigious institution.

I'd bet that these are the same sort of people who would tell you, with a straight face, that aborting a zygote or preventing the fertilization of an ovum is "murder."

PS. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse by trusted males, I feel, how should I put it? VERY AGITATED when I see bastards get away with this sort of crime.

PSS. Through the help of caring therapists, I have healed and have been able to get on with my life and deal with the reality of the darker, evil side of human nature.

10 November, 2011 12:11  
Blogger Ahab said...

I was stunned to hear about the riots. Why don't they reserve that anger for the abuser and those who covered for him?

Are Women Human posted a fantastic commentary on the issue.

http://arewomenhuman.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/about-penn-state/

10 November, 2011 12:30  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Ahab, I went to that site, where I read and understood very well this:

"Think of how the victims feel tonight, how they’ll feel tomorrow, watching a crowd riot in defense of a man who did nothing to inform police that his colleague was a child rapist. Think how the victims’ families feel. Think how many other people who survived abuse were triggered last night watching this display of rape apologism."

Thanks for providing the link.

10 November, 2011 14:50  
Anonymous TAO said...

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Joe Paterno and for the standards by which he lived by and those that he instilled in his football program.

The reality is the graduate assistant was the one that witnessed the crime and should have called the police. But, he took his concern to Joe Paterno, his superior, and Joe Paterno took this second hand information to his superior.

Or how about the two police officers who were contacted by the mother of a victim and they determined there was no credible evidence in 1998 and went no further.

How many times have we been told of potential crimes and done nothing? How many times have we driven by a car on the road and not pull over to see if we could be of any assistance?

I think the idea that we feel a moral superiority by watching Joe Paterno fall is sad...really sad.

Then to turn around and compare the situation of an ex coach of one state university with that of the Catholic Church is sad, really sad.

One involved one man and a cover up of one instance while the other involved a systematic cover up within a world wide organization.

How many times in your own life had you found yourself in situations where after the fact you wished you had done things differently?

Or maybe you found out that a dear friend was not the person you thought they were?

Oh, go ahead and criticize the kids who are standing up for Joe Pa....it kind of reminds me of how the liberals attacked Progressives because they don't love Obama like they should.

Yes, Joe Paterno has standards and he lived by a set of principles that are alien in sports nowadays.

Yes, he should have done more in this one instance, he should have done more with this second hand "gossip" than what he did...

That is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

10 November, 2011 15:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Andy: I'm hoping they'll look back on this with shame as they get more mature.

SK: It's the darkest side of the primate (including human) tendency toward dominance hierarchies. If a man is revered enough, some people will just refuse to believe anything bad about him -- or refuse to believe it's important. One sees examples over and over. At least Penn State, unlike the Catholic Church, eventually redeemed itself by firing the bastard.

I'm glad you were helped by therapists. They can be very effective, as I know myself.

Ahab: Why, indeed. The link I posted in the update gives an example of the kind of mentality that's at work here.

SK: It must have been ghastly for the victims, many of whom were apparently rather socially isolated already, to see that. All the more reason why society's legal apparatus must come down very hard on such monsters.

Do check out Ahab's blog if you haven't already -- it's one of the best liberal political blogs out there.

10 November, 2011 16:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tao: Utter bullshit. Yes, the graduate assistant is culpable for not having contacted the police himself -- but so is Paterno, once he knew what was happening.

How many times have we been told of potential crimes and done nothing?

Potential crimes? This has never happened to me -- not once. If I were told of actual, immediate (not "potential") child-raping, I would be on the phone to the police the first moment I could.

I think the idea that we feel a moral superiority by watching Joe Paterno fall is sad...really sad.

Utter, total bullshit. He knew there was systematic child-raping going on in the institution for which he worked. He did not call the police. I have never been guilty of such a colossal moral failing. Very, very few people have.

Then to turn around and compare the situation of an ex coach of one state university with that of the Catholic Church is sad, really sad.

Bullshit. The parallel is perfect and exact.

How many times in your own life had you found yourself in situations where after the fact you wished you had done things differently? Or maybe you found out that a dear friend was not the person you thought they were?

Often, on both counts. That has nothing to do with what this post is about. I have never been in the position of discovering that a "dear friend" was raping small children. If I ever had been, I would have immediately called the police. There is no excuse for Paterno not having done so. None.

Oh, go ahead and criticize the kids who are standing up for Joe Pa....

"Standing up"? These violent thugs were throwing things at the police and overturned a van. All to defend an arrogant, entitled bastard whose negligence enabled a child-raper to devastate more and more young lives for years.

That is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

I hope he spends what remains of his filthy life in a prison cell. That's what he deserves.

10 November, 2011 17:11  
Blogger Bruce Gerencser said...

I am a former jock and an avid sports fan. That said...I am appalled by the conduct of everyone involved with this matter. The students chanting and rioting for Joe Pa should be ashamed of themselves. The only people who matter here are Sandusky's victims.

Personally, I think ALL the coaches should be fired. Time for a clean slate. Other coaches had to know.

Bruce

10 November, 2011 18:39  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

BG: The only people who matter here are Sandusky's victims.

Exactly so.

Personally, I think ALL the coaches should be fired. Time for a clean slate. Other coaches had to know.

I don't have that much detailed knowledge of the circumstances, but I'm inclined to agree with you.

Bruce G's blog, Fallen from Grace, is well worth checking out.

10 November, 2011 20:53  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I don't understand the sort of reasoning I read in Tao's comment.

Would it make any more sense if it were put this way:

"The reality is the graduate assistant was the one that witnessed the child being tortured and should have called the police. But, he took his concern to Joe Paterno, his superior, and Joe Paterno took this second hand information of child torture to his superior."

If someone told you that he'd witnessed an employee of yours torturing a child in your company, wouldn't you take that seriously and immediately go to the police with the information?

I cannot imagine any moral human being NOT doing so. And believe me, TAO, child rape is torture and an searing ugliness that child carries with him forever.

There is more disgustingly sordid information coming out about the monster that was Paterno's assistant coach.

For all the good things Paterno may have instilled in his players, it appears he failed in the worst possible way when it came to protecting innocent children.

He didn't do what he should have done, and yes, he has to live with that shame and horror the rest of his life.

I don't feel righteous or superior. I feel angry. Very angry.

10 November, 2011 21:00  
Blogger mendip said...

Well put! (And I totally agree with your response to Tao's bizarre arguments). I might add one other parallel example, that of Michael Jackson's fans to his twisted life. One wonders if it's a matter of simple blind greed on the part of people. They want to listen to great tunes, so they will resent any attempt to stop that; or they want a winning football team, and so resent anything that disrupts that. It would be interesting if the Penn State or Jacko fans would be so compromising on child rape if the coach had nothing but terrible seasons, or the performer had never had a hit...

11 November, 2011 04:56  
Anonymous Green Eagle said...

I am sure none of you will be surprised to discover that wingnuts are blaming this riot on the Occupy movement, for having put the idea in their heads.

11 November, 2011 12:31  
Blogger Craig said...

Good lord! Tao expresses "Breathtaking stupidity" in his comments.
Is Penn State a University or a football factory serving the interests of the NFL owners?

11 November, 2011 18:29  
Blogger Ahab said...

Green Eagle -- Can you share a link with us? I'd love to hear more about this.

11 November, 2011 19:48  
Blogger Truth 101 said...

This may be a first. I disagree with TAO. The Penn State gang put the good name of it's institution and football program ahead of the safety of children. They let this Sandusky on the campus and to use one of it's facilities for a football camp for years after the incident that was eyewitnessed and done nothing about but two clowns who said "I told my superior."

I have no sympathy for Paterno.

11 November, 2011 20:22  
Blogger Manifesto Joe said...

Sandusky -- from Penn State to the state pen?

(No, I know it's not original. It's been on the Net. With the many millions of people on Earth, just when you think you have an original idea, it turns out that someone thought of it days earlier.)

I think they will probably give Joe Pa a pass on it because of his age and stature. But it sounds a lot like being an accessory after the fact.

13 November, 2011 00:08  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

Ahab,
Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you- my TV show entered a spiral of madness for a few days there. I was referring to a Jonah Goldberg piece,in which he really held the entire history of liberalism. I don't link to Jonah Goldberg on principle, but here is a link to a nice Alicublog post discussing a few similar right wing articles, ending in the classic Goldbergian conclusion that all of this unpleasantness happened at Penn State because liberals are really Nazis:

http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2011_11_01_archive.html#9067966351073188569

16 November, 2011 05:17  
Blogger Ahab said...

Green Eagle -- Thanks. I'll take a look at the link.

16 November, 2011 06:44  

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