Barbara Simpson, "The Babe in the Bunker," as she's known to her KSFO 560 radio talk-show audience in San Francisco, has a 20-year radio, TV and newspaper career in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.More ↓Less ↑
It’s happened again. We’re treated to the spectacle of college students, young adults – the future of America – reacting to a news event by rioting. Tearing things up, acting out and justifying it because they didn’t like the news.
Penn State is the latest scene of such savagery, and the ostensible cause is the firing of long-time football coach, Joe Paterno.
Never mind whether there was justification for getting rid of Paterno.
Never mind that behind the decision by Penn’s Board of Trustees is a scandal and cover-up of massive and horrific proportions.
Never mind that the victims of the scandal are not the coach, the football staff or the administration officials who are finding their careers, their pensions and perhaps their freedom at risk.
Never mind that the real victims are the little boys who were sodomized and raped in the locker room and other places by an adult, male coach.
Never mind that there’s an array of people who should face hard time for what they did, and indeed, what they didn’t do.
All those irresponsible students cared about was football!
It’s the result of years of idolizing the sport and the people in it, especially if they win. We all know what that means – money!
It means lots of money for the department and salaries, to say nothing about salaries for administrators and endowments for the school.
God forbid they would care as much about Penn State’s academic accomplishments.
But no, the really important department is sports and the most important one for Penn is football, with its winning coach Paterno, who’s been there nearly 50 years.
But somewhere along the line, things got terribly skewed, and sex reared its ugly head. No, not affairs with women, but apparently the sexual abuse of little boys perpetrated by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
In case you’re wondering why Sandusky would be around little boys: He founded the Second Mile Foundation, dedicated to helping at-risk youth.
If anyone wanted a perfect entrée to vulnerable children that’s it and, apparently, that’s what was taking place for years. The extent of what anyone might have known or suspected hasn’t been revealed yet, but I’d wager the filth goes much deeper than current headlines. There are reports that Sandusky was “pimping” the little boys to big donors to the school.
I cringe typing those words.
The current revelations didn’t just happen. One man actually saw Sandusky sodomizing a little boy in the shower room. There were at least three investigations of Sandusky concerning such allegations over the years, in 1998, 1999 and 2011.
Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar didn’t prosecute Sandusky on child-rape charges in 1998. We’ll never know why, because he’s been missing since 2005. His laptop found in the river, he was declared dead this year.
Was there ever an uproar over the Sandusky allegations? No.
Were they reported? Yes.
Assistant coach Mike McQueary told the grand jury that in 2002, when he was a graduate student, he saw Sandusky raping a little boy in the locker room shower. He reportedly told his father and then also told Paterno, who reportedly told the administration.
Did anything happen to end it? No.
Was anyone fired? No.
Why not? For that, more people than Sandusky are guilty.
How do we have grown men, in responsible positions, who witness or know about such atrocities against little boys and yet allow it to continue?
How do we have a person like McQueary, who says he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a child, told Coach Paterno about it and yet, when nothing was done, he just continued working as though nothing happened.
What does that say about him?
He finished school, got a job with the team and stayed, working with Paterno. Indeed, he was scheduled to coach last weekend’s Nebraska game until, at the last minute, he was put on administrative leave.
Perhaps the trustees thought better of him representing the school on the sidelines – or perhaps it was because he’s the target of multiple death threats.
Sandusky is having similar problems – cinder blocks were thrown through the windows of his home.
Sorry, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. He’ll be lucky if that’s all that happens.
It appears someone thinks real crimes have occurred that need to be dealt with. Vigilante justice isn’t advisable, but it’s completely understandable when the system allows such perversions to continue.
When the system doesn’t work, something else must.
I know that if something like that happened to my child and nothing was done about it, murder would be first on my mind. Nobody messes with my children.
This time, the Board of Trustees took some definitive action. Paterno was fired, effective immediately, even though he’d announced he would retire when the season ended.
Sorry Joe, you’re not getting off that easy. Then again, if the only thing that happens to you is firing, you are getting off easy.
University President Graham Spanier was also fired. School Vice President Gary Schultz has retired, and athletic director Tim Curley is on administrative leave; both have been charged with perjury.
The hammer came down, finally, on Jerry Sandusky. The grand jury report was released last week, indicting him on 40 counts of sex abuse, molesting eight little boys over 15 years.
That’s bad enough. Worse is that ostensibly responsible adults in positions of authority never once thought of contacting the police to report these heinous crimes. Apparently their greatest concern was protecting the football money machine that paid their salaries.
As Edmund Burke reportedly said: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.