Thursday, November 10, 2011

For Shame

Everyone is angry. I get it, and you know what, we all should be. In fact, this is the first thing, in a long time, that the majority of Americans agree about. Children were brutally victimized, and a lot of adults, some in very high profile positions, didn’t do everything in their power to put a stop it. It’s sickening, literally.
But I still don’t know that firing Joe Paterno was the “right” thing to do. Which doesn’t mean that I think it was “wrong” either. Something happened to those boys, something terrible. I have no doubt in my mind that this sick bastard being charged is guilty. I don’t know what exactly he’s guilty of, but I know there’s no way to properly punish him either.
That said, there’s still due process in this country. The accused is still presumed innocent until proven guilty. And Paterno wasn’t charged with a crime, so I have a hard time seeing him punished. Look, without question, every single person who saw or heard something, had a moral obligation to run to the police. I don’t give a damn about the law. It was the right, no, it was the only thing to do. Even if nothing actually happened, just to clear the assholes name, you make sure it’s properly investigated. That didn’t happen, and there’s enough blame to go around.
I just don’t know what firing Paterno accomplishes. Penn State is over a decade late to take the moral high road. I’ve heard the, “what if it was your kid?” question. And you don’t have to ask me that, that’s the first thing that ran through my head when I heard about this. “What if it was my family?” My blood boils. But you know what? Unless you’re going to allow me, as the parent, the opportunity to gut the sonuvabitch myself, and look ever one involved in the eye, as I tell them the details of what my child went through, well I could care less how they’re punished. All that should matter is getting those children the help they need. And doing everything possible to ensure it never happens again.
Paterno could hide, until he’s called to testify, and never speak of this again. Not that I expect that he would, but now he has that option. I do not understand or see what firing him accomplishes. I can admit, unfortunately, that I’m not thinking clearly here. I like Paterno, because I like what he’s always stood for. Seeing this tiny, fragile old man, on a sideline surrounded by beasts that would run through walls for him is a pretty remarkable sight. I didn’t want to see his legacy, 60+ years in the making, tarnished. It’s too late for that. I accept that. Someone, please, explain to me how firing him is justice or right.
He could have done more. He absolutely should have done more. Firing him is doing something just to say you did something, and that’s not really doing anything.

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