Are We Better Than This? Penn State.

*in case you don’t want to watch the video, here’s a sorta transcript:

I had planned to post a very different video blog today, but in light of all that has happened over at Penn State, I couldn’t help but change what I had to say this morning.

People are outraged that this horrific situation happened at Penn State and rightfully so.  But I’m not surprised.  I’m not surprised it happened at all.  And I’m not surprised that people didn’t do anything for so long, and when they did, they did the bare minimum.

I’m not surprised because I see it every day.  We are so self-absorbed as a society now a days, that when something bad does happen on the street or at an event or there’s a fight at a bar – people’s first reaction isn’t to get involved to stop it — No, most people’s first reaction nowadays is to break out their  iPhones and film it!

This lack of community, this apathy, this fear of getting involved is dangerous, it’s killing us — its destroying us.  And it’s a shame.

I think it’s easy to sit here and be appalled by people’s inaction after all these years — that people knew children were being raped by a 50 year old man.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s friggin’ outrageous on so many levels.  But do we honestly believe that when the big thing happens, when the big emergency happens that we’ll be able to break out our Superman cape and help someone in distress when we won’t even get involved in what we could call the “little” things in comparison?   We won’t  even help out our next door neighbor or the homeless guy on the street or assist the little old lady with her groceries.  All out of being self-absorbed or just not wanting to get involved.  Hell, who are we kidding? -most of us don’t even know our next door neighbors nowadays.

I think it’s easy to be outraged.  Hindsight is 20/20 after all.  The hard thing to do is to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “what have I done to help someone today?”

But we CAN change it.  That’s the good news.  We can always be better than we used to be.  “When we know better, we do better,” to steal a line from the great poet Maya Angelou.  And that’s my hope.

That as all of this comes to fruition, as all this unravels,  that we find a way to become a better people. We have to, we’re better than this.

On a side note, to all the Veterans out there — much love and peace to you, always.  Thank you for your service.

Till next week then.

5 thoughts on “Are We Better Than This? Penn State.

  1. Very well said Carmen, and so very true. How can you hear about something or see something like this and not do something. I mean how can you go about your everyday life and see this guy walking around and not think about who he might be molesting next, and live with yourself. And you’re right Carmen, about people more than likely recording something bad happening with their phones or video camera’s than actually trying to step in and trying to stop something from happening. I love that quote from Maya Angelou and I think it is so true.

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    • Oh, that’s a great point: how could anyone knowing this information live with themselves every day and even work with this man?

      I want to believe the very best about all of us, but the truth is, it has to be a systemic problem, an apathy that we’ve all bought into. Maybe, this is our wake up call? Maybe.

      I hope Maya Angelou is right. For all our sakes!

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  2. Hey sister!
    I’m trying to get better about blogging and visiting my favorites. This was a great post. The whole situation is so sad. My Dad thinks so highly of Joe Paterno. I would hate to think he let the opportunity to do more just pass him by. We don’t know all the details. The focus should be bringing those involved to justice and supporting those victims directly affected. And yes, this should also be a time of a critical analysis of what we are doing as humans. We are not doing enough so it’s time to step up and do more.
    Mary

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    • Girl, it is so NICE to “see” you! It’s been forever! And yes, I decided to be better about blogging again too — I also am trying to do a better job of commenting becuase the truth is, I still read people’s blog weekly, but I’ve not been commenting! So, I’ll do better too!

      I agree with you about Paterno — and where the focus should be. I like how you put it too: “…should also be a time of a critical analysis of what we are doing as humans.” — very well said!

      “See” you on your blog soon Mares. Thanks for stopping by and saying HI!

      Carmen

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  3. This post deserved more love. It is brilliant.

    I’m one of those who can be counted as “outraged.” I think situations like this are opportunities to learn and make the future. But it seems like we never do that.

    Sometimes evil is just evil. And sometimes it is the millions of little compromises that lead us to a place we would otherwise have never gone.

    My first reaction to this story was that Penn State needs to cease to exist. After reflecting a bit, though, I think the more proper course would be to terminate their football program for something like 10 years. I think that would get their attention and be enough of a deterrent to (hopefully) actually make a difference.

    If I was the guy who walked in the shower and saw what was alleged, I wouldn’t have played ball and kept my mouth shut to eventually get promoted to assistant coach. I would have flipped out. Maybe I couldn’t physically challenge Sandusky but that’s what 911 is for. Period. That moment was a missed opportunity that can never be obtained again.

    I wouldn’t have walked out and handled in in channels with the chain of command. And I wouldn’t have remained quiet about it for a decade while keeping my job and getting promoted and still seeing Sandusky remain an integral dude in the program.

    You’re also right about the everyday opportunities we all miss. That was a good kick in the pants and I’m going to try hard to listen.

    I think when the emergency is more devastation, like an earthquake or WTC attack, we do rise as a people to the challenge. And we see a mass response, great courage, and incredible acts of sacrifice. I don’t quite understand why we don’t see the same sort of thing in cases like Penn State. Why does one type of incident bring out the best in us and the other sort cause or “don’t get involved” response?

    You are a great thinker.

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