The Penn State Stuff

I’ve been pretty captivated by the news of ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky being arrested on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. Earlier this week, I thought I could comment on the scandal by filming my good friend Sam, also the wine the wine guy from work, who is very multidimensional and just quite a fucking guy. Complex. He’s helped me move a couple times. He makes the days a little…more…I don’t know, they go by faster, but whatever, in this capacity he’ll be portrayed as one-dimensional. Anyway, I thought I should make a video of Sam describing what could possibly happen to Sandusky once he is put in prison. I know that Sam is an avid viewer of prison documentary shows. He talks about the shows at work. He’s fascinated by them. I once walked into the wine office to see him reading about a “Supermax” federal prison in Colorado.

“Sam, will you let me film you talking about what might happen to Sandusky when he’s in the slammer?”

“They aren’t going to put him with the general population.”

“What if he slips out or bumps into someone in the hall? That’s what happened to Dahmer, right? As soon as the others had a chance, they killed him?”

“Yeah man- as sooooooon as he got out of solitary. Didn’t last one day…anyway- a toothbrush. A well behaved inmate can get a job in the kitchen and take a screw from a toaster and attach it to a toothbrush.”

We were going to film it Monday night, but he had dinner with his girlfriend.

***

When I was on my mission, I my companion and I knocked on the door of 65 year old man’s house. He wasn’t interested in the church, but he talked to us for 15 minutes or so. He said a few things I’ll never forget. One of them was that “The truth-” He paused a second then raised his palms slowly upward and finished- “comes out.”

I’m hesitant to call this time we’re living in “weird” for fear of being too parochial, but information is pretty immediate, and that’s weird, or at least new. A couple mornings ago, my coworker told me to make sure I check the internet to see Rick Perry screw up during the Republican debate. He told me that I didn’t need to look hard to find it- just go to Boston.com or type “Rick Perry screw up.” I found it right away.

In the last decade sex tapes seem to be so ubiquitous that it makes me wonder if there is a celebrity tape that won’t be disseminated. We wake up, turn on our computers, read about the next possible sex-tape release (the judge always seems to rule in favor of “release.”), stumble onto news of yet another politician who sexted someone other than his wife, and read the latest on the Sandusky scandal. Safe to say times are changing. Sure, they’re always changing, but I suppose that’s just how they’re changing right now.

I can’t be sure that the Penn State scandal would have stayed covered a couple decades ago. But we do have unprecedented access to opinions on the matter. I’ve heard many voices from sports media over the past few days. They vociferously speak about what they would have done had they witnessed Sandusky rape a ten year old boy. Many of the ex-jocks would pummel the much older man and take care of business right then and there. They’d dial 911, they wouldn’t call daddy.

I don’t know what I would have done. I would like to think that dialing 911 would be a definite. But I have no idea of knowing, and nobody else does until they’re in that position. This is what I think: I think this stuff frightens us. I’m not talking about Sandusky, I’m talking about the gross inaction by Penn state. How many people knew about Sandusky and didn’t dial 911? At least five, right? The grad assistant, Joe Paterno, the grad assistant’s dad, the athletic director and a Penn State Vice president. Most likely many more people knew and dozens and dozens must have suspected, and nobody did anything. We know that old coach Paterno did nothing, and we wonder how many fucking people did nothing?, and it scares us. Five out of five, ten out of ten, or fifty out out of fifty- and nobody called 911? What does this say about adult behavior? What is wrong with us?

So we get mad- we talk about how we would have beat Sandusky to pieces, would have called 911 RIGHT AWAY! I think we react this way because, not too much deeper down, we wonder if there is any hope, any good left in society. And I think that means we wonder if there is any good in ourselves, individually. We wonder if anyone cares about anything other than employment or reputation.

I think we care. I know I care- otherwise this site would be full of videos that explore questions like “What will happen to Sandusky when he’s in prison?”

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