Doing The Right Thing: Jerry Sandusky And You

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November 10, 2011 by David Gillaspie

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times writes a column titled “Personal Foul at Penn State.”

She should have called it “Illegal Procedure.”

She bookends her writing, starting with her Penn State crazed 10-year-old nephew, ending with hope for a new Penn State by the time her nephew’s parents tell him what happened there.

What happened?

David Brooks and Gail Collins call it, “The Horror Show at Penn State.”

Gail says she doesn’t know enough about football to put Joe Paterno in the proper context. Gail, it’s not about football.

In their give and take format David says, “this is the one story more revolting than the Herman Cain groping and the Michael Jackson doctor.”

Mr. Brooks might take it a little further down the road. It’s more Michael Jackson than his doctor. 

The Sandusky story has a cult feel to it. How else can you explain a head football coach surrounded by his former players as assistants. Even his boss, the athletic director, is a former player.

You get that when you stay in one place so long. You know everybody. Everybody knows you. But they don’t know what you know. 

The man who walked into Sandusky’s shower rape of a reportedly ten year old boy was a graduate assistant coach and a former Penn State quarterback.

Sandusky’s child rapes show more than one happened in an open shower.

High risk behavior of any sort appeals to the thrill seeker element. Mountain climbers and sky divers know the rush. When it involves child molestation in public, it takes another turn.

Sandusky gave himself permission to assault young boys, but that wasn’t enough. He needed the excitement of getting caught in the act. When he was caught and nothing of consequence happened, he had more approval for his acts.

A former player working the coaching ladder as a grad-assistant sees an upper-echelon coach, a defensive coordinator coach and former player, slamming a kid in the shower and leaves.

Is he thinking of basic human rights and dignity, or his career? 

The human rights guy stays to help the kid and takes the consequences for his actions; the career guy sees a step up the ladder, leaves, and tells his coach what he saw after checking with his dad. Coach thinks it over before telling his athletic director/former player.

How does this happen?  

The worst example comes from Nazi death camp guards who developed a sense of dualism toward their prisoners; since it was a death camp the prisoners were good as dead, so it didn’t matter how much suffering they caused them. To Nazis, the Jews in the camps were throw-away humans.  

Was the boy in the shower a throw-away to Jerry Sandusky and Mike McQueary? Was he a throwaway to Coach Paterno and his athletic director? The other administrator types? Were all of Sandusky’s victims throw-away kids to the Penn State people? It seems like it.

Sandusky culled victims from his organization for troubled youth. McQueary, a local kid whose father coached youth league, had to know about the troubled youth organization and Sandusky. The organization knew about Sandusky’s actions.

A sports radio guy, Doug Gottlieb, said he played for a legendary coach in his day. The saying on his campus was if you even pass gas, they smell it in administration.

If you need a reminder of what to do if you walk into a shower area and find a grown man thrusting behind a boy bracing with his arms against a wall, you could do worse than the following.

You: Move away from the boy. I’m talking to you old man. Stand back. Do it now.

Man: Aw, come on, we’re just horsing around.

You: Shut up and move away from the boy. Kid? Kid, look at me. Turn around and look at me. Go get dressed. You’re going to the hospital.

Man: Hospital? For what?

You: SHUT YOUR FACE.

Man: Oh, you’re big stuff now. Is that it? You think you’ve got something on me? Me? Don’t make me laugh. You know who I am.

You: I don’t know you. The man I thought I knew isn’t here.

Man: Stop the innocent act. You don’t know me? Good one.

You: Kid, you need help over there? Let’s go. Let’s get out of here.

Man: What’s the hurry. He’s not late, he’s staying in my basement room.

You: Not tonight, pal, and not ever again. Not anyone.

Man: What’s that supposed to mean. You know what you signed on for, don’t you? If you want to move up the career ladder here, just walk out that door. You can do it. I’ll have a recommendation for you on my desk in the morning.

You: (picking up a trash can) Kid, wait over by the door. I’ll be right there.

Man: You don’t have to take him. I like him. You can have a different one.

You: (take the trash can into the shower for the sort of beating that crumbles the steel can and drops the man to the tile floor, then put the smashed can against his head and kick until your leg gets tired. Leave with the boy.)

Kid: Did you hurt Mr. Sandusky.

You: Did he hurt you?

Kid: Yes he did, again.

You: He won’t again. Do you like that?

Kid: Yes.

You: You’re not a throw away.

Kid: What?

You: Nothing.

Kid: I don’t feel so good.

You: Neither do I, kid, neither do I.

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