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.