No one should be threatening anyone’s life. Period. But, and not to dismiss the actions of anonymous, threatening thugs, if Mike McQueary, his father, JoePa, and others at Penn State had done the right thing years ago, whether McQueary coached this weekend or not would be a moot point.
If McQueary, who was 28 — last time I checked, 28 was an adult — when he witnessed a young boy being assaulted by a Penn State coach, had stopped the guy (he was clearly big enough to do that) or had gone to the police, so many lives would be different today. Or, if you subscribe to the theory that he was just a grad student and was put in the position of finding a mentor (and apparently at Penn State ‘mentor’ means more than it does most places) doing something horribly wrong, he did tell his dad. Dad — another supposed adult –according to what’s known now, suggested his son come on home, go to the coach in the morning. That’s where I get stuck, and frankly a bit sick. What would keep him from doing the right thing after his son gave him a detailed account of the horrible thing he witnessed? Why suggest the coach first? More importantly, I think, why wait until the next day?
I’ve had minimal contact with Penn State alumni, but after talking with one whom I respect a great deal, I’ve started to understand the culture there a bit more (I’ll never get it completely; that’s impossible unless you’ve lived it) and everyone’s attachment to Joe Paterno. So while Paterno failed the abused children miserably and is now, in my opinion, partially responsible for the fact that the abuse continued, it was a failure that in some ways was forced upon him. Forced upon him by a strange, almost cult-like insular culture on campus, by the failure of a 28-year-old McQueary to extricate himself from that culture to help that kid (and, hence, others), and by McQueary’s dad who should have been the adult and done the right thing if his kid could not.
No, no one is as responsible as Sandusky. Sandusky is responsible for his own frighteningly horrendous actions. He should, of course, face the brunt of the consequences. McQueary, his dad, Paterno and others at Penn State, however, are responsible for allowing Sandusky to continue his wicked ways. They (and who knows who else at this point?) were his enablers. They should now each deep and start talking… first and foremost for the victims and, to a small degree, for the school they claim to love.