And BTW... It's not the first time we've agreed on something! He was dead-on-balls right about the electric car, AND... this may be the first time I've gone against Conchobhar, but y'all might want to re-think his advice to invest in Tesla Motors. They just had one of their road testers turn into an $80,000 BRICK during a recent trial run. And UNLIKE the fires in the Volt, which are a matter of complete irrelevance, this failure speaks directly to fundamental flaws in the design of their batteries. I'm sure they'll come around, but please consider any investment in the to be risky in the short term. I'm telling you: WE WORK WITH THEM. And they don't know the first fucking thing about building a car. And GM DOES. (I do still like much of their design, and hope that they work out the kinks, but believe me: The Volt is far closer to being market-ready and defect-free than anything Tesla is offering.)
Anyway enough of that. I want to talk for a minute about JOE PATERNO.
In my *ahem* obituary for
See... I was travelling on Business the the week that story broke, with two of my engineering colleagues, our boss and his boss. And EVERYONE - and I do mean EVERYONE was calling for Paterno's blood.... Except me. Now... I wasn't defending him. There is no doubt in my mind that he did not do enough, and by his inaction much harm was subsequently done. But my point then, as William correctly stated in his comment, was that Paterno did EXACTLY what he was required to do under the law at the time and under exsisting University Policy. He REPORTED it. And there was then no shortage of people who passed the buck and/or dropped the ball. The Dean of Athletics, the University President, the Campus Police, and at least a dozen others. Who? Well, I haven't the slightest fucking idea, because the STORY ended up being all about Paterno! And to me, that does a great disservice to the victims, by letting an awful lot of people who were equally responsible off the hook!
I mean... FINE. So this story grew legs because of Paterno's celebrity and his celebrated Football Program. And if you doubt this would have been a story WITHOUT Paterno's involvement, you might recall that SYRACUSE also had reports of Pedophilic activity going on within it's athletic programs. On th eother hand, you might NOT. Because lacking a celebrated figurehead that anyone had actually HEARD OF, the story had no legs, and thus got a fraction of the coverage that the Penn State story got. And how much have you heard about it in the weeks since Paterno's death? I haven't heard a PEEP. Anyone arrested? Anyone charged? What's going on with Sandusky? I haven't the slightest clue. Lose the celebrity angle, and the public loses interest in the story. Without the Paterno angle? No one wants to cover it anymore! And that sucks enough in it's own right, but I've never shaken the feeling that Paterno and, to a lesser extent McQuerrie (sp?), were being made to take the fall for a awful lot of faceless paper-pushers who, at a minimum, should all lose their jobs and face media and public scrutiny as well. After all... how does anyone else who was around at the time, and was part of that great cavalcade of failure, justify firing Paterno, and not resigning themselves as well?!
Now... Once they all got their emotions out, and we actually debated it, there were some good points brought up. Our director, himself a mentor to all of us and a soccer coach to young people as well, described, in his mind, what it REALLY MEANS to be a "coach." And he expressed a lot of idealism about mentoring and watching out for people, and keeping them out of trouble... all great stuff, and all stuff that I think we all agree coaches SHOULD do. But let's get real for a moment: Joe Paterno was NOT hired to do ANY of that. Beyond keeping HIS PLAYERS eligible, all he was hired to do was WIN FOOTBALL GAMES. That's it. Let's not dress up the role of a COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACH in any more idealistic verbal diarrhea than that. Because that's just a failure recognize the difference between what IS what ought to be.
Bottom line: The failure here was one of the SYSTEM, and hardly Paterno's and/or McQueerie's alone. They played a role, yes, UNDENIABLY, but no more than so many others - including the CAMPUS POLICE, who if I'm not much mistaken, ARE in fact tasked with investigating crimes and expected to turn over to the ACTUAL POLICE any cases they can't handle. But where was their mass headcount reduction?
Now... Later on, I was discussing this with another co-worker, and he brought up a point that I really couldn't argue. There IS a reason that Joe Paterno's failure here is more substantial than anyone else's, and that is because, far more than anyone else involved, including even the University President, whatever Joe said? His will would be done. That's it. Period. Paterno OWNED that School. He was royalty. If he goes in, slams his hand down on the President's desk and says "GOD DAMN IT, I WANT THIS SHIT DEALT WITH!" Well, shit... you better believe it would have been fucking dealth with! If Paterno had used his monumental celebrity, and the pull that comes with it, to the benefit of anything off of the football field... like, say... oh I don't know... shutting down a volunteer program for troubled youths that was being run by a fucking peodphile?! There is no reason to believe that EVERYONE would have gotten on board with that, 100%. At Penn State, when Joe spoke? People ACTED. From that POV, I have to admit that Paterno had the greatest ability of any single person to see that is was handled properly, and he failed to do that. No quetsion about it.
All the same? There is not a single person in that entire chain of command that couldn't have done more than they did - which is to say, more than passing the buck and/or ignoring it - and who thus shares equally in the responsibiliy of what they collectively enabled. Yes: ENABLED, every bit as much as every pedophilic Catholic Priest was enabled by an archdiocese that did nothing more than relocate them. Which is all that was done to Sandusky in the wake of these allogations: He was asked to leave the Campus. OMFG, how could the be so cruel?
So while I don't take back my condemnation of Paterno (or Breitbart) I will happily agree with William that there were MANY OTHER people who dropped the ball there, and reitereate the dismay that I feel at the fact that we need a celebrity angle for a story like this to become front page news. It does truly speak to a misplacement of our cultural priorites. (Last time I checked thought, it wasn't Liberals who elevated College Football to this status of nigh sanctity.)
I do want to add a little bit about McQueerie though. See... He didn't have any authority to act, at the time, but he did say - at one point before his story changed multiple times - that he witness Sandsuky anal-raping a ten year old boy in the showers, and reported it. Um... wait a sec... REPORTED IT? How about... STOPPED IT?! How about INTERVENED?! How about KICKED THE SHIT OUT OF SANDUSKY?! He initailly said at the time, that he was scared and that it was a youthful misjudgement not to have done more. But see... I don't really buy that. I can't. The poor judgment of youth? In this case? Would have been an excuse for OVER reacting. Like say... KICKING THE SHIT OUT OF SANDUSKY! It doens't exaplin WALKING THE FUCK AWAY. McQuerrie, if his first story is to be believed, is a coward. And if it isn't? Then he's a liar.
Now I said all of that, becuase I'd like to answer one question William asked me that I haven't answered. (Despite his protestations to the contrary, I HAVE in fact answered all of his others as far as I am aware.) He asked me if I consdiered myself a GOOD PERSON.
Now... I think this is a question that most people, if asked, would immediately answer, "Yes," to. Becuase in all honesty I don't think anyone truly believes themselvs to be a bad person. But in all fairness, I'd like to point to a few things that I think might actually JUSTIFY this opinion.
1) I hate to see people being victimized. I cant abide the weak getting bullied by the strong.
2) I believe that people should live together in peace, and that peaceful coexsistance is worth striving for.
3) I ALSO believe that evil truly does flourish when good people do nothing.
There's more to my ideology, of course, but I'd say that anyone who can claim these things, and has the common sense to reconcile when (3) is more important than (2), has the right to consider themselves a good person. Strive to do GOOD, and in your actions or inaction do no harm. I think that's a reasonablly "good" ideal to have. And, among other less relevant principles, I do hold that ideal. I don't always live up to it. But then... any man who never fails to live up to at least some of his ideals from time to time, has set the bar WAY TOO LOW for himself. I expect a lot of myself. And I AM willing to take risks and make sacrifices in accordance with that.
So... What does this have to do with McQueerie? Well... During that business trip, I was more agressive in my judgement of McQueerie than Paterno, and to my suprise, my co-workers were more forgiving of him. And they asked me: How can I really know what I would have done in that situation?
Well... One time I was almost run over by a car. And after narrowly missing me and a co-worker, that car went off the road, over the sidewalk, accross the field in front of our office, into some nearby woods, down a ravine and into a creek. Turns out the the driver was pregnant, with gestational diabetes and blacked out behind the wheel. I learned this becuase I was running after that car, at top speed, cell-phone in hand, calling 9-1-1. I was the first on the scene, and I helped carry one of the passengers - a child - up the sliperry embankment to safety and waited with him for the paramedics (the REAL heores) to arrive. (We didn't dare try to move the driver - that would have been incredibly reckless. The kid was FINE. Just shaken up a little.)
On several other occasions (at least three, that I can recall right now) I've stopped what I was doing - usually driving somewhere - to pick up a stray dog, check for a collar, and see them returned to their owners.
One night, after working out, I saw a scene in the parking lot that gave me a bad feeling - between a woman outside her parked car and a homeless guy that used to hang around that area. I just didn't like the body language - he was too close, her hands were raised... it just felt all wrong. So I got out of my car, and walked over to a spot under a lampost about ten, fifteen yards away. Easily close enough for me to cross the disatnce in just a few seconds if anything happened. She could see me, and I made sure that HE knew I was there. I didn't know for sure if any more intervention was needed, I couldn't hear what they were saying, but someting didn't feel right and I stood by until she had safely driven way. There was NO FUCKING WAY I was leaving that parking lot before she did.
I've saved my own mother's life - now a sixty-five year old diabetic herself - more times than I can even count, and I've saved my own son from drowning.
And the only time I've ever been hit in the face? (Outside of sparring practice?) I hit back, and knocked the other dude's ass to the floor.
Why am I saying all of this? Just to point out that, unlike McQuerrie, when I've been called on to act at various times in my life, I'VE ACTED. Decisively. No excuses. No thoughts of myself. No fear. No complaining. No griping. No whining. And no CONSIDERATION, even for a second, of NOT acting.
I am a man of action and I do not fuck around.
And, of course, there are countless, less dramatic, examples of me simply going out of my way to HELP SOMEONE WHO NEEDED IT. And no: I'm sorry to say that I have not served in our military, nor have I ever volunteered at a soup kitchen. I will add the latter to my bucket list. But I've halued dirt for the old guy accross the street, I've walked for autism, I've donated toys to homeless shelters, I've pitched in around the neigborhood and at work when people have needed help, and I'm never too busy to listen to someone when they need someone to talk to.
Now... I don't know if all that makes me a good person? But when I've had to go out of my way to do what I think is right? I can HONESTLY say that I have never failed to do exactly that. What ideals I possess? I've ACTED upon, when called to do so.
And it is with that sentiment in mind that I say that McQuerrie is nothing but a gutless coward.