Recent events have led me to believe that the world is populated by blind people. Or at least people who are easily sold on crazy.
One of those recent developments is the unfolding drama at Penn State, where icons of college sports – both the college and the coach – have been revealed to have been, if not active perpetrators, at least willing-to-look-the-other-way co-conspirators in child sexual abuse.
I use the image on the right because (a) it’s one of my favorite ad posters ever and (b) what happened at Penn State happened in a washroom.
If you see something, SAY SOMETHING. Even if you don’t/can’t/won’t DO something, at least speak up. And don’t take “it’s just [insert utterly unacceptable excuse here], don’t worry, I’ll take care of it” as an adequate response.
SAY something to someone who can/will DO something. Not the bishop that the pedophile priest works for. Not the coach who’s the supervisor of the guy who’s raping a child in the shower.
SAY SOMETHING to the cops.
“If you see something, say something” is the tag-line for a current Dept. of Homeland Security awareness campaign, aimed at stopping terrorist activity before it becomes an actual attack.
If rape isn’t terrorism, I don’t know what is. All crimes against persons – assault, rape, mugging, et al – is terrorism on a small scale, leaving marks as deep as surviving a bus bombing. In some ways, these very personal attacks leave deeper marks, because an entire community doesn’t share the victim’s experience. The person is left to deal with the aftermath alone. Just as the Penn State victim – he’s been dealing with the aftermath since 2002, essentially alone. And now the whole world is watching.
If you see something – someone hitting a child, slapping their spouse, raping a child in a freakin’ locker room – SAY SOMETHING. If you see it in your house. If you see it on your street. If you see it in the office. If you see it at your school.
See bullying? Say something. See domestic violence? Say something. See a theft, or an assault? Say something.
Find someone with a badge and a gun – and not just a university/school cop, either – and report what you saw. Keep talking until they listen.
If you see someone with a badge or a gun perpetrating a crime, call the FBI. Use your cellphone camera, and take it to the media.
See something? SAY SOMETHING.
All that it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing. That’s always true, and never more true than in the situation where both the Catholic church and Penn State find themselves. An institution that’s trusted with the care and education of children has no excuse: if you see something, say something. Otherwise you’re approving the act.
It’s that simple.
That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it …