This week I have been fairly obsessed with the Penn State story. I even spent some time today reading through the Grand Jury report, which is worth the read–if you can stomach it. I have been floored by the absolutely tone deaf responses from so many people. Students rioting at Penn State to support JoePa? Pundits worrying about how this will affect the football program? What about his legacy? People rushing to protect and defend those in high places, the very people who don’t need defenders. Here’s a sampling of some tweets from members of the team via deadspin:
Sick. Just sick.
I’m honestly sick to my stomach
This is almost like a modern day crucifixion
Smh all he has done for this program and then they turn on him
It’s good to see these football players have their priorities…wait what? Fuck, you mean, they’re not upset that the institution they are part of covered up for one of their own when he raped a child in the showers? or forced children to give him bj’s also in said shower? Nope, amazingly they are upset because the glorious leader JoePa was fired over the phone. A man who was praised far and wide by the sporting world for him commitment to leadership and honor turned out to be a fucking coward and fraud. In all this people keep forgetting that a child of 10 years old was raped by a man 5x his age. And that’s just one of a few that we actually know about.
The fact that people can witness or know about this or even suspect that children are being taken advantage of and not do anything is tragic beyond words. Throughout the Grand Jury report you can see time after time how people see or know something bad is going on and do nothing. They pass the buck to someone else (like that soulless ginger, shit heel McQueary, or the false idol JoePa, or any of the other assholes involved in this) and think their job is done or they do nothing. It takes a special kind of spineless, gutless, fucking coward to not stick up for a child in situations like this; sweeping it all under the rug–nothing to see here folks move along.
This is what happens when people think that the rules don’t apply to them, when they have gotten comfortable with their elevated positions and think that nothing can take them down. All too often these days we see the so called elites of our society engage in behavior that is reprehensible and all too often they end up not facing any consequences. I could give a shit about Penn State or their athletics. If I had graduated from there I would be immensely embarrassed right now. A pox on JoePa and his fucking legacy. If there is any justice his, and all those who were complicit, will have their remaining years filled with as much sadness, anguish, and regret as their prior years were filled with happiness and hero worship. They will all get their day in court to explain how and why they didn’t feel the need to do anything, but I will always condemn them as spineless cowards. You can say well you don’t know how you would act in that situation if that was you. But I can tell you absolutely that I do know. There is no way in fucking hell I would not act in a situation like that. None whatsoever.
Bystanderism infects our world. Too often people stand idly by, silent, as people around them–in their schools, workplaces, and communities–are bullied, sexually harassed, degraded, abused etc. Instances like this should be a clarion call for those of us who are willing to stand for those that are voiceless. To help remind us that remaining silent is not an option. None of us by ourselves can stop a genocide or change the world. We can, however, make lives better one by one by standing up and speaking out for those who need help or support.
One last point. For those of you praying for the victims. Stop it. They don’t need your prayers, they need people who aren’t apathetic. Besides if you believe in an all-knowing, all-seeing, omnipotent, personal loving god who will allow this like this to happen, then you’re a fool. This god who is master of the universe but somehow gets his ass handed to him daily by satan is a pretty shitty god. Quit praying and start acting. Be a better person and don’t be a bystander, that’s the one thing we can all work on and endeavor to be better at.
(photo via firstthings.com)