Tina Kyprios: The do-nothing path


The reason Joe Paterno and Mike McQuery did so little is generally the same reason our country is in a financial crisis. We tend to value privacy more than personal responsibility.

Frankly, I’m at least a little confused at the outrage — not because it’s not outrageous, but rather because it just seems this turning a blind eye is what we have come to expect of each other. From giving every kid an award — regardless of performance — so we don’t hurt anyone’s self esteem, to friends purchasing homes way out of their reasonability ballpark, to all those little choices our friends make that we think are wrong (but we simply choose to not get involved), from a young age, we are taught to turn a blind eye to failure and not to ask questions lest we invade someone’s privacy.

I know there are many who would say turning a blind eye to friends driving tipsy or drunk or to poor financial choices is very different than that of seeing a violent sex act on a truly innocent victim. And my response is: Really? I think it’s about conditioning. I know if I’m willing to lie about small things, I’ll lie about big things. If I turn my back on small things, I might more easily turn my back on the big things.

Before we judge McQuery or anyone else, I think we should take a long, hard look at ourselves and how we so easily choose to do nothing. My guess is, if we are honest, the do-nothing path in our own lives runs far wider and deeper than we ever want to admit. I know it does in mine. It’s time to change that.

Tina Kyprios

Steamboat Springs


sedgemo 4 years, 3 months ago

Tina, you are overlooking (!) the fact that this was an adult in a position of authority over a minor, no choice was involved by the victim.

Your point makes some sense if it was consenting adults, perhaps, but not this situation, not at all, which is why it IS outrageous.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 3 months ago

"...this turning a blind eye is what we have come to expect of each other."

Speak for yourself, Tina. The national outrage generated by this predator & his enablers powerfully suggests otherwise.

You liken "poor financial choices" to a 60 year old man sodomizing a 10 year old boy? Seriously?

Ye gods.


Tina Kyprios 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry if I didn't say it well. I am not equating the two, rather I am saying that doing nothing in one area is symptomatic. Of course such a heinous act is not comparable to financial irresponsibility. However, people's unwillingness to get involved - beyond what is legally required - is pervasive. The 'bystander effect' proves this point, it's not our problem, someone else will take care of it, etc. The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.


S_G30 4 years, 3 months ago

This is an odd corrilation to make, and it doesn't feel right. Comparing poor financial or social decisions to not reporting child abuse and sexual harrassment is...well I don't know what it is, wrong?? Any crime against a child should be reported immediatly and honestly I wish someone would have taken a baseball bat to Sandusky's head.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 3 months ago

I heard it reported last week that men who prey on boys average over 100 victims, if they're never caught. Sandusky is in his 60s. The face of evil. I hope he's “accidentally” released into the general population once he's imprisoned.


seeuski 4 years, 3 months ago

I think Tina was trying to compare or to show similar social deficiencies by using a faulty choice of issues. I think Tina is trying to convey the lack of individual responsibility that is pervasive in society today. It is no ones business what their neighbor spends for a house legally, it is that neighbors personal responsibility to honor their contracts and not be bailed out by an ever growing social justice minded big Government. It is wrong to teach kids that they are always just as worthy as their peers so as not to hurt their feelings. It is wrong to turn the other cheek when one is witness to a crime like that which Sandusky is charged, that child most likely incurred continuing sexual abuse for several more years because McReery(sp) chose to act sheepishly in his response to what he saw. If morals and honor along with personal responsibility had been a cornerstone of McReery's upbringing then a different result may have been achieved. We are seeing the same kind of attitude between those that felt it their duty to riot the night Joepa was fired as the Anarchists who think it is their right to occupy the Taxpayers pocket books. The, you have no rights to take what I want as mine, or the entitlement attitude of the left. Individual responsibility!


Scott Wedel 4 years, 3 months ago

I think history will be kinder to Paterno than the present. I think his telling the coach that witnessed the event to talk to other campus authorities was reasonable at the time. Paterno didn't witness anything and he did not tell the witness to cover it up. His mistake appears to be primarily in failing to follow up on the issue when others were willing to drop it.

And large campuses like that have their own campus security which works with the police on campus issues. So it is entirely reasonable that the witness did not go straight to the police.

The far bigger mistakes appear to have been made by the campus authorities that were indicted. Paterno and the witness should have wondered why they were not interviewed as part of a police investigation.


Keri Rusthoi 4 years, 3 months ago

Tina Kyprios’s Letter to the Editor today (11/15/11) resonated strongly with me. Divorced last year due to my ex-husband’s lengthy infidelity with an also-cheating spouse, I, too, have been struck by the amount of “do-nothing” attitude of so many in our circle, including close family, when presented with such breaches of integrity. There are serious consequences to our society’s “Privacy over Personal Responsibility” approach to life—those being broken families and broken lives of children, as evidenced by the Sandusky scandal. We as individuals, as parents and as members of society have choices to make each day in terms of what we expect of ourselves and others. It is no coincidence that America, while still being the most bountiful country in the world, has one of the lowest levels of happiness. I would argue that this is due our increasingly low-levels of personal integrity and accountability. These innate desires can be taught and encouraged, or undermined, most especially by parents. One can be unfaithful in many ways, but most especially to children, when friends, neighbors and passers-by Do Nothing/Say Nothing and even more egregiously, Act as if Nothing is wrong.


1999 4 years, 3 months ago

actually scott... Paterno could easily have directed the alledged cover up to keep his legacy .

I am not buying this perfect joePa media persona. he clearly allowed a pedofile access to more kids because he didn't want to tarnish his and his football organization

he could be THE most guilty of all .

(besides sandusky)


greenwash 4 years, 3 months ago

Obviously Paterno was a great football coach....so what ...I would hardly consider a career football coach smart ..If anything he probably doesnt know much about anything other than football....Who cares...Dumb Jocks if you ask me .

Dirty old Sandusky will end up killing himself .


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 3 months ago

Paterno was unlike any other American coach, college or pro. He wielded more influence on that campus than anyone else, including the AD & the college President. He was very like a CEO. In any large organization, the CEO sets the tone and the culture of the organization. His priorities are the organization's priorities. If the CEO is behind a certain iniative – a world class library, for example – so is everyone else. If he brushes something aside, so does everyone else.

Paterno is, by all accounts, a good and decent man. It is unfortunate and sad that his legacy is forever scarred by this nightmare. But it's his own fault.


1999 4 years, 3 months ago

i wouldn't say "all accounts".

my PSU friends like to use the word meglomaniac.

a good decent man would have spoken up when he heard a child being raped in the football locker rooms.

a good decent man would have NEVER allowed a pedofile near him.

a good decent man would have called the police.

a good decent man would have cared more about kids being raped than his football legacy.

a good decent man would have acted in a good and decent manner.

hes far far far from a good decent man.


cheesehead 4 years, 3 months ago

Forty years ago people were much more willing to turn a blind eye towards child abuse and driving under the influence.


ybul 4 years, 3 months ago

buying a home that one can not afford should be monitored by banks lending the individual money. However there are two problems...

the large banks are not playing with their own money any loss comes out of someone else's pocket.

The second and bigger problem is the government gave the banks a blank check via Fanny, Freddie and student loan guarantees to loan without risk of a bad loan. Maybe it is our government we have and should still be speaking out about.


MrTaiChi 4 years, 3 months ago

I understand the author's point. It was useful to provoke this discussion. Today's news indicates that McQuery now claims to have 'non-physically' stopped the incident he witnessed and to have reported it to the police, presumably the campus police. We all want to think we would have been less ambiguous in our response. I think I might have let the beast out, don't know and hope to God never to witness anything like that.

One commentator put his finger on the problem, and his analysis was narrower than the author's. He said that this outrage was very much like the scandals in the Catholic Church in that all the parties seemed to be acting as if the first priority was to protect the reputation of the institution. Add onto that the complex judgmental situation McQuery found himself in. If he beat the crap out of the pervert then and there, he could expect to be fired from an elite program in a profession with few openings at that level. The perv was above him in the corporate hierarchy. That at least had to cross his mind. He must have thought that his actions if taken and a formal report to the police would result in an expose' that would hurt Penn State. That might have slowed him down. Can we say with certitude that our modern moral climate elevating tolerance and non-judgmentalism into the highest ranks of virtues might have temporarily confused him or delayed an appropriate response? Is he more culpable than the neighbors of a generation ago who listened to the screams of Kitty Genovese as she was being stabbed to death and did nothing? Yeah, I think so. When it's one-on-one and you have the physical capability to do something, you should. He apparently weighted the choice to perpetuate his career over protecting a child.

If the author's point is that we as a society, have drifted to a point where such a calculation is arguably logical or justifiable, then I agree with her.


ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

I agree with your post entirely about protecting the institution and why it was done. I guess I was just reading my thoughts into it, pointing out to several people previously that they should not buy a house that prices were to high to later find they did and were in foreclosure.

People do not want to hear anything negative. Though in the PSU case whomever heard should have followed through and made sure that the idiot went to jail.

That is entirely different than the trophy for all, birthday endowments and parties that are/were over the top... the not anyone think they should fail mentality that is pervasive in our society. The I can't hurt anyones feelings politically correctness that is rampant everywhere. Life is tough and people need to learn that and that they have to fight to get ahead.

Calling people out for the wrongs they see going on and standing up for what is right, is what is needed. I just recovered 20 cows and 15 calves because someone spoke up (though part of the cows found were theirs also), however the employee of the employer stealing did not say anything - even though he told my help that he had been doing it for years. I understand the PSU issue very well and yes they wanted to protect the institution, just like the church.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 2 months ago

I can understand an institution circling the wagons. I can't understand how it generates a pathology that would result in the men most proximate to the crime bailing on the kid. While McQuery now claims to have halted the rape, he didn't remove the child from the scene, or make any attempt to so much as identify him, or to follow up on his status. To this day, he remains unknown to all but Sandusky. Just stunning.


ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

Yep, they should all be strung up. I can't believe McQuery is still the recruiting coordinator for Penn State. How could he walk by the showers and not think of that image and know that the man responsible was not brought to justice. Just mind boggling to think that no one followed up.


cheesehead 4 years, 2 months ago

I think we as a society are much less tolerant of child abuse than in the past. I think the problem in this situation is the old mentality was applied.


sedgemo 4 years, 2 months ago

I think we as a society are much more aware of child abuse than in the past. I think the problem in this situation is no morality was applied.


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