Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State students protest in support of JoePa's right not to protect ten-year-old boys from being raped

Joe Paterno was fired as coach of Penn State's football team last night. MarkyMark said on a comment to another post on this blog: "It's a SHAME that Joe Pa has to go out this way." 

And I agree. It is a shame.

It's even more a shame that the most respected, the most revered, and the most powerful man at Penn State -- a legend who had built up more good will than any living figure in all of Pennsylvania -- did the bare minimum when someone who had no motive to lie reported that a ten-year-old boy had been sodomized by an ex-coach permitted to use the PSU football facility. 

Paterno admitted yesterday he could have done more: "This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

It wasn't necessary for multiple PSU officials to call the police, but somebody needed to do it, and Joe Paterno, of all people, needed to make sure it got done.  Joe Paterno could have added even more accolades to his massive reputation if he had "done more." 

But it didn't get done. No one called the police. And this morning, Joe Paterno -- not the PSU Board of Trustees -- is the author of his own discontent.  What JoePa did wasn't illegal, but he was given a chance to help a little boy, and perhaps many other little boys, and he did the bare minimum.

So what did some PSU students do last night after Joe was fired? They did what too many college students have done since time immemorial: they failed to think rationally, and they reacted out of misplaced anger by riotingSee the photo above -- that's from last night.  They were very upset that Joe had been fired. Did JoePa attempt to quell the rioting? Or was Joe flattered by it?

Let's make one thing clear: this is False Rape Society. We do not engage in rushes to judgments. Jerry Sandusky, the ex-coach accused of sexual improprieties with boys, deserves the presumption of innocence and the full panoply of due process rights granted by the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions.

But we also preach that allegations of sexual misconduct need to be taken seriously. That means reporting allegations to police and letting them investigate.

We can't plausibly insist that the purported rape epidemic is exaggerated, and then in the next breath, condone situations where a serious allegation is not reported. We can't insist that "rape culture" is a fantastic construct of the sexual grievance industry, and then condone a very high profile incident where a serious allegation of rape is tolerated and swept under the rug for years.  We can't plausibly insist that women who are raped have a duty to promptly report -- as difficult as that often is -- if we excuse powerful university officials from that obligation.

Joe Paterno was the trustee of little boys' dreams. He dishonored that trust, and now he has to pay for it.

ADDENDUM: I am adding a screen capture from the Grand Jury report to show that the police WERE NOT involved in this matter.