When I read about the toddler who got run over by 2 trucks in China and all the bystanders who saw her just walked away as she lay there bleeding to death, I was shocked at the blatant apathy and wondered how something like that could happen. Every article started dissecting the Chinese psyche, researching how a group of people became so apathetic and uncaring for each other in society. How they are too concerned with moving up the economic ladder to care about a dying toddler, which didn’t make any sense to me and I doubt makes much sense to anyone else. Is that a valid reason to walk by a visibly injured toddler lying on the street alone? Do people really think about themselves so much as to forget how to do the right thing?
So all fingers started pointing to China. Chinese people don’t care about each other. In America they would never do that, turn a blind eye towards something so horrific…right? The bystander effect only happens elsewhere, but not in our country.
And sadly, it does happen in our country. When Joe Paterno, the coach from Penn State got fired for knowing a little boy was raped in a locker room and didn’t call the cops, hoards of people rallied for him, saying they loved him, called him a legend, said he shouldn’t be fired, and talked about, of all things, the future of a football team. What did football have to do with it? Why were there all these articles talking about the legacy of Penn State football? Why were they calling Joe Paterno a legend? All I could think about was what happened to the poor kid who was raped.
The 28 year old man (the news keeps calling him a student at the time) who witnessed the rape happening didn’t know what to do about it and called his dad for guidance. Why did he need to call his dad? You rip the child molester off the child and call the cops. It seems so logical that it frightens me this man thought he needed advice before acting. The father told his son to tell his boss about it. Not call the cops, but tell his boss. That was the first mistake followed by many. So he told the coach, the coach told his boss, and so on. And none of these people called the cops. They figured it was out of their hands and in someone else’s now.
The alleged rapist was only banned from bringing small boys into the locker room at the school. Translation – by all means do whatever you want outside the confines of this school, since you’re not in jail. They all knew what he was doing for years and watched him walk around free. How did these people sleep at night? Did they feel any guilt in being complicit in a crime? Did they know that they were enabling a child rapist?
And what did football have to do with it? Why did a sport blur the lines between right and wrong? Why did the coach’s status make him more innocent in the eyes of hundreds of rallying protesters against his termination? If it was a cashier at the supermarket, a garbage man, or an employee at Mcdonald’s who didn’t call the cops, are they more of a scumbag than Paterno was because they didn’t contribute to the great sport of football?
I don’t understand how hoards of Penn State students on campus are holding up signs saying ‘We love Joe Pa’ or ‘Joe Pa is a legend’. Maybe since these students weren’t parents with small children, they don’t understand that football doesn’t trump child molestation (insert sarcasm here). Maybe they are all sheep who blindly follow one another without much thought. I saw a few signs stating Joe Pa isn’t the victim, the children are. It’s nice to know there are a few sane people out there.
In the end, who cares about some guy’s career? Strip away Paterno’s status and he and all the other enablers are just like the bystanders who walked by a dying toddler in China. They are all the same to me, no matter what nationality, economic status, or social standing. They are people who don’t know the difference between right and wrong.
My question is, what if it were your son or daughter who was raped? Would you still be calling a college football coach a legend? No, because in the end your child is the main focus. And it should be the focus for all of us.