Yesterday I had mentioned the Joe Paterno firing and the Penn State tragedy. This is a story that has gripped the nation. It has given this generation its own equivalent of the Kitty Genovese incident.
Of course I’m referring to Assistant Coach Mike McQueary who told authorities he witnessed Jerry Sandusky inflagrante delicto with a naked 10-year old boy in the shower room. McQueary says he immediately informed Coach Paterno.
But the questions remains why didn’t he run into the shower, and pardon the phrase, cold cock the old man and rescue the kid?
What was McQueary thinking?
Well, that may be the problem. He was thinking instead of doing. Thinking how a scandal like this could affect the university, the football program, the recruitment efforts, or even his own miserable football career.
What happened to good old righteous indignation and fly-off-the-handle street vengeance?
Years ago, I was driving down Abbot Kinney on my way to work and spotted a 13-year old boy climbing out of a shattered car window with a stereo in his hands. With no time to weigh my options or the consequences of my actions, I swerved to the curb, jumped out of the car and started chasing the bastard through Oakwood.
He was fast but I was in my triathlon days and had plenty of stamina. I’m sure that caught him off guard but I was determined to snag that $99 Pioneer and return it to its rightful owner. Panting and clearly out of breath, the kid stopped just outside a ratty duplex at the corner of Brooks and Indiana. He turned to me just before opening the heavy steel door, and scowled, “You come in here and my daddy gonna shoot yo cracker ass.”
I wish the kid had informed me about his father’s shotgun before I covered a mile and half in the back alleys of Venice.
With my visions of being a superhero dashed, I returned to the scene of the crime where I met the young woman whose car had just been violated. I told her I saw the kid who stole her radio and chased him for the last 15 minutes.
“Well let’s go to his house and get my radio back,” she said.
“That’s an excellent idea, “ I said. And then having my own McQueary moment, added “but I lost him. And don’t have any idea where he lives.”